Title: Like a River from Its Course
Release Date: June 27, 2016
An epic novel exposing the ugliness of war and the beauty of hope.
The city of Kiev was bombed in Hitler's blitzkrieg across the Soviet Union, but the constant siege was only the beginning for her citizens. In this sweeping historical saga, Kelli Stuart takes the reader on a captivating journey into the little-known history of Ukraine's tragedies through the eyes of four compelling characters who experience the same story from different perspectives.
Maria Ivanovna is only fourteen when the bombing begins and not much older when she is forced into work at a German labor camp. She must fight to survive and to make her way back to her beloved Ukraine.
Ivan Kyrilovich is falsely mistaken for a Jew and lined up with 34,000 other men, women, and children who are to be shot at the edge of Babi Yar, the "killing ditch." He survives, but not without devastating consequences.
Luda is sixteen when German soldiers rape her. Now pregnant with the child of the enemy, she is abandoned by her father, alone, and in pain. She must learn to trust family and friends again and find her own strength in order to discover the redemption that awaits.
Frederick Hermann is sure in his knowledge that the Führer's plans for domination are right and just. He is driven to succeed by a desire to please a demanding father and by his own blind faith in the ideals of Nazism.
Based on true stories gathered from fifteen years of research and interviews with Ukrainian World War II survivors, Like a River from Its Course is a story of love, war, heartache, forgiveness, and redemption.
Every page in this book had me riveted. There was never a dull moment. Stuart has written a tour de force, easily pulling me into the world of these characters who have experienced circumstances and horrors, made more powerful by the knowledge that the author had meticulously researched them through the real-life accounts of Ukrainians who've lived them.
The story is told through the point of view of four characters, one of which is the son of one of the top Nazi leaders. I think this is what I loved the most about this novel. It showed all sides of the war, from the Ukrainians to the Germans. Truly, there is evil and goodness on both sides and what stands out is the integrity of each human, no matter their nationality. The stories are brutally honest and as a reader I was invested in all of them.
I've read many books on the Holocaust, and I like the ones that tell the unknown stories. I'm amazed that this is Stuart's first novel. Her characters are compelling, the setting vivid and the plot well executed. All the character had distinct voices and I thought it brilliant how we get to see the war through the eyes of very different individuals, from young Maria to idealistic Frederick.
Without a doubt, this book has made it on my list of Best Reads for 2016. It is powerful, riveting and compelling. It is heartrendingly beautiful in its portrayal of family and kindness. It is a book I will talk about for a long time, recommending it to my friends and book lovers. This one is definitely a must-read and I hope it gets the recognition it deserves!
Kelli Stuart is the coauthor of Dare 2B Wise and has written for several brands including Disney, American Girl, and Short Fiction Break. She has served as editor-in-chief for the St. Louis Bloggers Guild and as a board member for the St. Louis Women in Media. In addition to her writing, Kelli has spent twenty years studying Ukranian culture. Kelli lives in Florida.
Celebrate the release of Like a River from Its Course with Kelli by entering to win a Kindle Fire Prize Pack.
One grand prize winner will receive:
- A copy of Like a River from Its Course
- A Kindle Fire
- A Kindle Fire case (winner's choice)
- A $30 Amazon gift card
Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on July 18th. The winner will be announced July 19th on Kelli's blog.