Like a River From Its Course   -     By: Kelli Stuart
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Like a River From Its Course

Kregel Publications / 2016 / Paperback

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Like a River from Its Course, by Kelli Stuart

A story of Ukraine’s tragedies through the eyes of four characters who experience the same story from different perspectives.  Maria Ivanovna a fourteen year old forced to work in a German labor camp.  Ivan Kyrilovich, survives after having been mistaken as a Jew and lined up with 34,000 others to be shot at the edge of a killing ditch.  Luda is sixteen abused by soldiers, now pregnant with the enemy’s child and then abandoned by her father.  Fredrick Hermann believes in the ideals of Nazism. 

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 352
Vendor: Kregel Publications
Publication Date: 2016
Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN-13: 9780825444142

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Product Reviews

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Meets Expectations:
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  1. Jonesboro, Georgia
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Riveting, compelling, entertaining
    August 8, 2016
    Carole Jarvis
    Jonesboro, Georgia
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 0
    Value: 0
    Meets Expectations: 0
    When it comes to Like a River from Its Course, theres no way any words of mine can do it justice, so Ill let Kelli Stuart and her characters do some of the talking. But if I had to express my thoughts in only one sentence, it would be this: If ever a book cried out to be read, its this one.

    Whats most amazing is that through extensive research, debut author Kelli Stuart has drawn from personal stories of survival to write this moving work of fiction, based on historical events that werent that familiar to me the Nazi occupation of Ukraine. The story is told from the first-person perspective of four main characters and rather than me trying to describe them, I encourage you to read about them in the books overview above if you havent already. Here are some expressions of their thoughts . . .

    Frederick: Ending one life to preserve another is not killing. It is saving.

    Ivan: Sometimes horrors are too great to be put into words.

    Luda: When you grow up without love, accepting it becomes almost burdensome.

    Masha: Im scarred and emotionally beaten. The girl who left was swept away in the flood of war, but I think that girl is still somewhere inside. If only I could get back to find her.

    Like a River from Its Course is riveting, dark, raw, yet hopeful and redeeming. It reflects the essence of humanity, from total depravity to selfless, tender kindness. Its not a light read, nor is it an easy one but it is compelling, relevant for today, and hard to put down. Truly unforgettable.

    Im amazed at the literary quality of Kellis writing, for it sparkles in its beauty. She has a gift for pulling you right into the story, compelling you to experience the people, setting, and all the horrors of war in a way that is palpable. I marked several quotes that really spoke to me; here are just a few . . .

    If love gives flight to the soul, hate kills it completely. (Ivan)

    You would be surprised, my friend, at the power in believing in something outside of yourself. When you acknowledge that the pain of this world is unbearable, youre able to finally surrender to the One who alone is worthy of carrying the weight. (Father Konstantin)

    To believe is to trust, and when you trust, your life has meaning and purpose outside of the mere endurance of hardship. (Father Konstantin)

    And finally, one that is true yesterday, today, and tomorrow . . .

    God cannot be suppressed under the evil of man. (Father Konstantin)

    For me, Like a River from Its Course is a story not to be missed. Highly recommended.

    Thank you to Litfuse Publicity and Kregel for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
  2. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    a book that everyone needs to read
    July 17, 2016
    Booklover10
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    It has been a quite a while since I've read a book that I absolutely cannot put down. I honestly did not expect to like this book as much as I did. I had not heard of Kelli Stuart so I just assumed that she was a new author that I'd check out, but probably wouldn't be impressed by it. I know that was horrid though, but that's my honesty. After reading many books and reviewing them for years, I've come across some new authors where I had to just keep pushing through the story. I was quite surprised that this book absolutely did not fall into that category. This is definitely one of my top books that I have read so far this year. Hands down one of the top books.

    Apparently Like a River from Its Course is full of real stories from the time of WWII. It focuses on the invasion of Ukraine, which is something that I had not had much knowledge about. There were so many instances where I wanted to close the book and pretend that these horrible things never happened. I cannot imagine this time period and the fear and hatred that was in these countries. I had to close my eyes several times when it talked about the children and the choices that their parents had to make.

    Like a River from Its Course is a book that I think every person needs to read. With the world in such a disarray as it is, this book is a great reminder of what happens when we follow the wrong leader and when hate overcomes people. We need to be reminded that people are people, despite their race. No race should undergo ethnic cleansing, and we need that reminder.

    These stories need to be heard, even though I think the characters themselves are fictional. The stories are real and told by characters that you instantly care for and love.

    If you read one book in the year 2016, make this book one that goes onto your list.

    __________________

    I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest opinion of this book.
  3. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    One of the Best Books I have read in a long time - A Must Read!
    July 17, 2016
    Amelia
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This book is one of the best books that I have read in a long time. A compelling, deep, and complex story that had me reading for hours. At times the story was hard to read because it was so sad, but I still could not put it down.

    The author intrigues the reader immediately by the perspectives she gives through three Ukrainian characters and one Nazi. Each of their stories are intense as they are dealing with how the tragedies around them are affecting them personally. Also, this book was a history lesson for me as I learned so much about Ukraine and their history during WWII. Beyond the moving storylines the author provides rich and informative details about what was actually happening during that time. If you haven't read it yet, please add this to your summer reading list. You won't be sorry. I find myself continuing to look for more books by Stuart but this is only her first one. I hope to read much more from this author in the future and I am already looking forward to what her next book will be.

    I was given this book from Litfuse in exchange for a review.
  4. PRYOR
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    NEVER READ A BOOK LIKE THIS!
    July 16, 2016
    Moonpie
    PRYOR
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    The first thing that comes to my mind is WOW WHAT A BOOK! The writing of this novel was a labor of love and it shows! When we read about events in history, we the read the facts and highlights of that time. We dont take into consideration the people that lived through the occurrence and even if we do it is only skimming the surface. The author did an incredible job of taking us deep into the experiences of those living during WW2 in the Ukraine. Their suffering from the war was great without being added to the fact they were suspended between fighting regimes of Hitler and Stalin. What makes it even more intriguing is that the book is inspired by the combined true accounts people that survived this dreadful time. Ms. Stuart took 15 years of research and interviews with survivors!

    I liked how her four characters showed the diversity of experiences from the varied viewpoints of people in different walks of life. This is so beautifully written that all their stories weave together. It is not disjointed or confusing.

    The author opens your eyes that war is very complicated. Every person involved is an individual with their own emotions and struggles. The problems they were dealing with before the war are still there and made even more complicated by the fighting.

    Ivan has a family he desperately wants to protect. While trying to help a neighbor, he becomes a part of the Jewish prisoners march to death. He barely escapes but the horror he witnesses thousands being killed emotionally devastates him. He returns to his family a shell of a man.

    Masha, his daughter, is only 14 years old when the war begins. The devastation of her city and starvation were overwhelming for her close knit family. Then one day the thing her parents had feared, happened. She was captured and taken to a concentration camp.

    Ludas life was a nightmare before the war with her abusive, alcoholic father. She is only 16 and manages to escape to the home of dear friends who welcome her. When it looks like her life is taking a turn for the better, she is brutally raped my Nazi soldiers and ends up pregnant.

    Frederick is the enemy, a young boy that has been raised to be part of Hitlers killing machine, a Nazi soldier. He is totally committed not only to the cause, but also to try and win the acceptance of harsh and unloving father.

    I liked that I was able to see the characters not only through the war but how they lived afterward. I have never read a book like this! If I could I would give it 6 stars!!

    I received this book free from Kregel Publications in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I have stated are my own.

  5. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    Monstrous Inhumanity
    July 13, 2016
    Mrs ARS
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Like a River From Its Course by author Kelli Stuart is a read that is not for the faint of heart. This is a story of the Nazi occupied Ukraine during World War 2, and it was a harrowing feat for me to finish. It is told from four different viewpoints: Father and Daughter, Ivan and Maria, Luda, and a Nazi soldier, Frederick Herrmann. This story starts in 1941 and ends in 1947. We have front row seats as we walk with each character and their circumstances as this reign of terror pours out in their country. At times I wanted and did put this book down, only to pick it up again because I wanted so badly to see some hope. And there is. Author Stuart did a wonderful job of presenting the gospel message, not in a preachy matter but in a real world scenario.

    I enjoyed the authors notes in the back of the book; she explains that even though these are fictional characters, the events were not. As the world today again seems to be succumbing to hatred, I found these quotes relevant and helpful:

    Ivan pg. 326, the river of our days flowing so calmly in a direction that I thought would last forever. In a flash, that river was turned, unexpected and quick, dragging us long this unforeseen path. Like a river from its course, life has swirled away from all I expected or planned.

    Enjoy the present, for life is unpredictable. And:

    Marie pg. 333, I think about the nature of this world. For all the evil, there is an awful lot of good. Im thankful for the sweetness of the good.

    I received a copy of this very relevant read through Litfuse Publicity and the opinions are my own honest ones.
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