Psalm 27:1

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Like a River from Its Course Book Review

SUMMARY:  Enter the often-overlooked history of World War II Ukraine as told through the eyes of four unforgettable people caught up in the chaos and heartache of a country torn asunder by Nazi armed forces.
     As the characters confront the pivotal event of Babi Yar, the "killing ditch" where 34,000 men, women, and children were lined up and shot, the horrors of war are laid bare.  How can faith withstand such atrocities?
     Based on true stories gathered from fifteen years of research and interviews with survivors, Like a River from Its Course is a moving and epic story of love, war, heartache, forgiveness, and redemption.

REVIEW:  This book was different from other World War II novels I've read before. There were four main characters, each telling their story about life in Ukraine under Nazi rule and how it affected them.  Luda, about 16 years old, becomes pregnant by German soldiers.  After being abandoned by her father, she is taken in by friends who love her as one of their own.  Frederick, about 20 years old, is a Nazi soldier who is determined to advance the German ideal and tries to live up to his father's impossible demands of perfection.  Maria is about 14-15 years old who is forced to leave Ukraine and work in Germany.  Ivan, Maria's father, lives with the guilt of not being able to save his Jewish neighbors and their daughter from the Nazis and his children being forced to work for the Nazis in Germany.  As each one explains the events around them from their point of view, you see their anguish and sometimes despair but also the resilience of the human spirit to perseverance.  They are determined to survive.  Sometimes the stories were difficult to read.  You see the depth of human depravity and the lengths people will go to advance their "ideals."  Then there are stories of those who try to help those around them, even if it puts their lives in danger.  You also see how God will use difficult and hard circumstances to show He is still there and is still in control.  I like how the author wraps up the stories of these people you come to know.
     This was an excellent book!  The fifteen years of research and interviews of people who lived during this time and experienced this hardship shows in the details and the depth of the emotions that is conveyed.   This is a book that should be required reading for high school students.  It will tug on your heart strings but it's well worth it.

This book was provided by Litfuse Publicity Group and Kregel Publications 
for review without compensation.

Kelli Stuart is the coauthor of Dare 2B Wise and Life Creative, 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. Kelli lives in Florida and blogs at

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