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Like a River from Its Course

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4.47  ·  Rating details ·  468 ratings  ·  148 reviews
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 ...more
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Published June 27th 2016 by Kregel Publications
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4.47  · 
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 ·  468 ratings  ·  148 reviews


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Rachel McMillan
Feb 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A chilling and lyrical look at a snatch of history not often told in inspirational fiction.

Stuart's resplendent research seeps into every page and into the experience of three main characters who haunt you while winnowing their way into your heart.

Deftly written, beautifully provocative, this is not just a piece of historical fiction: this is a work of art.
Carrie Schmidt (Reading is My SuperPower)
Kelli Stuart’s historical fiction debut, Like a River From Its Course, is simultaneously heartbreaking and inspiring; it is also much more than a story. It honors the men and women from the Ukraine who fought to keep living amid the ravages of a war they didn’t ask for. It honors the memory of those whose lives were brutally snuffed out long before they’d dreamed all their dreams. It honors those Germans and those Red Army soldiers who didn’t let evil do their thinking for them but instead offer ...more
Toni Osborne
Jul 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Based on true stories gathered from years of research and interviews taken from survivors this epic journey told through the eyes of four unforgettable characters takes us to Ukraine at the height of the WW11. The characters are composites of hundreds of men and women that have been interviewed and their combined stories brought a heartbreaking and inspiring novel exposing the ugliness of war and the beauty of hope.

June 22, 1941 Hitler violated the Nonaggression Pact with the Soviet Union by la
...more
Jocelyn Green
I read this book in two days, which should not surprise anyone who begins reading it. Kelli Stuart draws you in from the first moment. There is a lot of World War 2 fiction out there, so it's impressive and refreshing to find in this novel a lesser-known slice of that history. The Ukrainian experience is compelling and heart-rending, and explored with such rich detail. The characters are deftly drawn and shaded, and achingly believable. Like a River From Its Course is a powerful read that I didn ...more
Staci
Oct 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017
This debut is told from the perspective of four different people. Maria is a teenager living in Kiev, Ivan is Maria's father, Frederick is a fervent Nazi Soldier and Luda is a teenager living with her drunk and unstable father in Ukraine. The author does a beautiful job of speaking in each of their voices and sharing their perspective of events that happened during WWII.

While painful scenes are expected in a book like this, it doesn't make the cruelty any easier to read. Fortunately, there are a
...more
Jane
Jul 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: wwii, reviewed
Moving, beautiful story of Ukrainians under Nazi occupation in World War II. After signing a nonaggression pact with the Soviet Union, the Nazis broke their agreement after only two years. We see the story from the viewpoints of two families; a girl with an abusive father; and several Germans, including one young soldier who proves a disappointment to his highly-placed Nazi father. The Babi Yar massacre and its aftermath hang over the whole novel. These characters were so lifelike; their emoti ...more
Alicia
This was one of the saddest and most heartbreaking books I've ever read. I didn't know much about about Babi Yar before I read this book, and the event (where thousands were lined up and shot in Ukraine) was nothing short of an atrocity. The things that happened to these people after are also too horrible to comprehend.

Most of the book is grim for those reasons. But there are moments of strong compassion, love, bravery and hope. These moments are moving and are amazing to read, because these peo
...more
Carole Jarvis
Jul 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Reviewed at The Power of Words: http://bit.ly/29QLDb5

When it comes to Like a River from Its Course, there’s no way any words of mine can do it justice, so I’ll 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, it’s this one.

What’s most amazing is that through extensive research, debut author Kelli Stuart has drawn from personal stories of survival to write this moving work
...more
Emily
Feb 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
{4.5}

Wow. This is one of- if not the most-heartbreaking books I've ever read. Compiled from true stories, Like A River From Its Course tells the story of a part of WWII and the German invasion of the Ukraine through four different characters, each effected by the war in their own personal way. The chapters are short and tell the story from the alternating viewpoints of a Ukrainian father, his fourteen-year-old daughter, a young German officer, and a sixteen-year-old orphaned Ukrainian girl. Most
...more
Victor Gentile
Jul 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Kelli Stuart in her new book, “Like a River From Its Course” published by Kregel Publications gives us A Novel of World War II.

From the back cover: 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 throu
...more
Kav
Jun 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The kind of story that seeps into your bones and makes your heart hurt and rejoice all that the same time. Gripping. Evocative. Raw. This isn't a novel for the faint of heart, but it is one that deserves to be read and celebrated in memory of the many victims and survivors of the atrocities inflicted on the Ukrainian people by a brutal Nazi regime.

Heartbreaking tales told from the perspective of four main characters. The first person, present tense narrative isn't my favourite point of view to
...more
The Loopy Librarian
Jul 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Like a River from its Course begins intensely with a bombing raid, so the book is immediately arresting. The tragedies and horrors that unfold as the Germans invade the Ukraine are reflected through four characters experiencing a myriad of emotions and reactions. Three of the narrators are Russian citizens and one is a young German Nazi. The author personalizes the stories in such a way as to cause the reader to experience events as the characters do. I felt the horror. I felt the fear. And late ...more
Sarah
Jul 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
First, I must applaud Kelli Stuart for doing her homework and writing a very well-written, detail oriented and true story based on extensive research. This historical fiction is one not to miss this summer and in fact is one I intend to read again because the story does not leave you. Oh, the rawness, faith and redemption in this book are beautiful. If you like historical books, especially books that have to deal with World War II, I highly recommend this novel. You will be moved with great emot ...more
Sloane Mayberry
Sep 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Excellent book which I highly recommend for those who like learning different perspectives of WW2. Though the cruelty in it is tough to get through in places, the vibrancy of the human spirit on all sides of this war really shines though. This one is similar in flow and character depth to Salt of the Sea - both are excellent!! The female characters are especially vibrant.
Joleen
Jul 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ww-2, nazis, russia, rape
Less than two years after Hitler signed the non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union, Germany broke it and invaded in Operation Barbarossa, affecting millions of Soviet lives. This story focuses on Kiev, Ukraine.

The story is told in 4 voices.

Ivan Kyrilovich: The father of one son and two daughters. Watching his best Jewish friends being marched out of town, Ivan was accidentally caught up in a march to Babi Yar, a ravine in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev where the invading soldiers marched thous
...more
Hannah
Jun 17, 2018 rated it liked it
I wanted to and expected to love this book. And most people who have read it, do love it. But, there was just something about it that didn't grab my attention like I thought it would. I will say though that it had a plot twist, that while was completely believable, left my speechless. It was a good book, and the story itself was beautiful. I think perhaps it was the writing style that I didn't really like that much. It still gives insight to a part of history I didn't know that much about. I sti ...more
Pegg
May 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
There are so many single words that can describe this book. Deep. Gripping. Raw. Powerful. It's all of those things.

This is the type of story that brings history to life in a way we comprehend it at its most basic level. We live it. We see it, feel it, taste it, hear it, and touch it. It's not pretty. It's not romantic - although there is a thread of romance weaving its way between the tragedies - and it's not sugar-coated.

This is real. And maybe that's the best single word to describe it.

Th
...more
Rosie
Jun 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
A heart-wrenching, emotional title!

Told through the perspective of four people, Ms. Stuart takes us to Ukraine during World War II. The stories that unravel are enticing. Before I knew it, I had a significant portion of the book finished and it seemed like time had stood still for me while I visited Kiev. Of course, it hadn't, but it felt like it.

World War II novels are very dear to my heart, as you may have seen, and that's why I simply couldn't pass this gem up. Like a River From its Course i
...more
Maureen Timerman
Jun 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
An eye-opening story told in the first person of several different people, people from different countries, trying to survive the evil sent to persecute in the persona of Adolph Hitler.
These are individuals on both sides, Germans and Ukrainians, and we put names to these people and look into their everyday lives. The main German in this story is Frederick Herrmann, son of an Evil man who is trying to become the man his father wants by becoming even more evil. He is killing men, woman and childre
...more
Cheryl Baranski
Jun 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Like a River from Its Course by Kelli Stuart is an emotionally gripping story. This is the first book that I have read by Kelli Stuart it sure won't be my last. This story will move you to tears with its heartbreaking telling. This story was so real intense for me. If you are someone that loves a story with history in it than this book is for you. Be sure to have your tissues and your sweet tea when you sit down to read this book. You won't want to put this book down. 5 stars! I received a copy ...more
Jaime Jo Wright
Jul 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
A gripping tale, I was riveted to its pages. So much of this era on the European side is unknown to me. Even though I've spent hours and hours reading World War II volumes and biographies. I was totally unaware of how it affected the Ukraine. The author takes you into the dark, gritty shadows of the War, the Nazis, the struggle, and the quest for love and redemption amid ashes. This novel is worthy of shelf-space for any WWII history buff or fiction-reader.
Kelly Catlett
Jun 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Like A River From Its Course is a wonderful read! Even though this historical fiction is set in a time of horrific evil, you will find yourself taking each step and breath with the four main characters, rooting for them as they journey through! This novel gives such insight into the human condition of the time, set in 1941 Kiev. Amazing story of how the human spirit can remain in tact against the hatred that is endured.
Stephanie
Jun 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book broke my heart and I can't stop thinking about it. It was so all encompassing, I just couldn't put it down. Easily my favorite historical fiction novel of all time. Kelli really did her research and you can tell the book is a labor of love. I fell in love with each character for different reasons and I have thought about them every day since I finished the book. This one is a must read.
Kelli Stuart
May 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
My first novel hits bookshelves on June 27, and I would love to have you read it and let me know what you think!
Abby Breuklander
Feb 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books that I've ever read hands down. Even in the worst possible circumstances there is always hope, we may not be able to see it, but it's always there.
Perihan
Feb 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
”Without evil, how would we know good?



I think Kelli Stuart’s writing is very vivid and powerful.

I’ve read many novels set in World War II. But it is my favourite from now on.
Like a River From Its Course is simultaneously heartbreaking and inspiring.
I have learned that the book is based on many
years of research and interviews with real survivors of the war.

I think the book is well-written and well-researched.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in WWII historical fiction.
Lisa Johnson
Jun 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Title: Like a River From Its Course
Author: Kelli Stuart
Pages: 352
Year: 2016
Publisher: Kregel
My rating is 5+ stars.
When I think of WWII, it rarely enters my mind of how other lives in other nations were affected. So as I started the novel from Kelli Stuart I simply was pulled into the lives of the characters based on her visit to the Ukraine in 2003. There Kelli met a real people who lived through times of trial and heartache, learning to live again when the insanity of Hitler’s regime was finall
...more
Jalynn Patterson
Jun 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
About the Book:

An epic novel exposing the ugliness of war and the beauty of hopeThe 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
...more
Carla
Jun 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
There are few moments when you receive a book and it just captures your attention and demands to be read. This is one of those books. It is powerful, emotional and full of passion. I cried, smiled and my heart broke at various times throughout the book. I was so attached when I first opened this book, it came with me to soccer practice and I read it the whole time we were there. It was definitely a book I read in one sitting and then re-read over again to further appreciate it.

It tells the story
...more
Suzanne
Jun 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
The historical fiction lover in me is always excited to read that an author spent years gathering material and talking to people who lived through these horrific events of WWII in before crafting a novel from those stories. The time and effort spent in writing this story is immeasurable and my hat is off to Kelli Stuart for her dedication to "getting the story right" as I've heard it put. There's a quote in the acknowledgements that spoke to me before I'd even read the first word of the book its ...more
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Kelli Stuart is a writer and a storyteller at heart. A graduate of Baylor University with a degree in English Professional Writing, and a minor in the Russian language, Kelli has honed her skills in the written word through editing, ghostwriting, blogging, and traveling the world. Kelli has a gift for languages that puts her at ease in other cultures, allowing her to view this creative life from t ...more
“Life is full of heartache and hardship,” she says. “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.” 0 likes
“To believe is to trust, and when you trust, your life has meaning and purpose outside of the mere endurance of hardship.” He takes my hand and slowly lowers it back to my side.” 0 likes
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