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(Review) Like A River From Its Course by Kelli Stuart

Publication Date: June 27, 2016
Publisher: Kregel
Genre: Historical fiction
Pages: 363
Source: Free copy from Kregel in exchange for a review
Rating: 5 stars for excellent

Link for book @ Kregel. 


Kelli Stuart's blog

Kindle Fire Giveaway from June 27 through July 18.

Article from the Huffington Post: 75 Years Later: What the Past Teaches Us Today.

Kelli Stuart's Blog post: Addressing the Question of Faith.  

Like A River From Its Course begins in 1941, Ukraine. Four main characters are introduced, each sharing their story and voice. These characters are Maria (Masha) Ivanovna, Ivan Kyrilovich, Frederick Herrmann, and Ludmilla (Luda) Michaelevna. They solidly represent four types of people affected by World War II and the Holocaust. From a civilian aspect, to a Nazi officer, to a Ukraine swept up in the roundup and murder of Jews.

My Thoughts:
Like A River From It's Course is a work of historical fiction.
The author explains:
The characters in this book are composites of the hundreds of men and women I met while touring Ukraine. They don't tell one single person's story, but rather hundreds of stories combined. While the characters are fictional, the circumstances and horrors they faced were very real. Page 361. 
1. My first reason for giving Like A River From It's Course 5 stars for excellent, is the historical research and the telling of so many stories. It is a compilation, representing many individuals; in a sense all those who suffered during WWII and the Holocaust have a voice.

2. A German officer is one of the characters. He is the enemy. However, I am shown the thoughts and feelings he struggles against. I understand his background, education, and reasons for ideology. I also see his nemesis. These are not excusable for his demented murderous behavior, but it does show a strong dimensional view.

3. Like A River From It's Course is a character study and sketch of the Ukraine. The various main characters give the story a panoramic view of World War II. They are in the Ukraine, but they represent different aspects of society. Each of them have internal conflicts. The external conflicts is the war, Holocaust, and possible death. Each of them have a desire to carry out what they feel drawn to and what they must do. The characters are often polar in personality from one another. A Nazi officer who is intent on torture and murder, versus a teenage girl who is orphaned and in despair.

4. Baba Mysa is a secondary character. Her wisdom is shown in body language and on point sage words. Her wisdom transcends for all time.
Life is full of heartache and hardship. Very rarely will life make sense, and it will almost never seem fair. But if you remember that pain and heartache aren't unique to only you, that you're not the only one mired in circumstances that seem too great to bear, you'll do much better in life. Page 213.
5. While reading the story, and because I understand the ending may not be positive for all the characters, this was a strong reason to continue reading. I became apart of the story, both because of the characters, and the serious nature of the entire story.

6. Several themes are at work besides the war and Holocaust: coming of age tale, sexual abuse, family saga, romance, sibling rivalry, orphaned, and domestic abuse.