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Like a River from Its Course

By Kelli Stuart


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 attack 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.

Book Takeaway:

This quote from one of the characters sums it up best: "You would be surprised at the power of believing in something outside of yourself. When you acknowledge that the pain of this world is unbearable, you’re able to finally surrender to the One who alone is worthy of carrying the weight."

Why the author wrote this book:

In 1995, I was a high school student on a mission trip to Ukraine where I met a woman named Maria who changed the way I saw the world. She told her her story of survival in a German slave labor camp, and I knew I wanted to know more about this country.

I went on to minor in the Russian language, and study in Ukraine where I met many more survivors of "The Great Patriotic War." This story is my chance to honor the brave men and women whose stories haven't yet been told.


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