Like a River From Its Course: A Hauntingly Beautiful Novel of the Holocaust

Leah Courtney
I love historical fiction set in the time of the Holocaust. Yes, it's often painful to read. But often there are stories of hope and strength and human kindness in the midst of suffering. It's these stories that draw me to read more from this time period.

Holocaust fiction

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Like a Rive From Its Course is a Holocaust novel. Unlike many that I've read, the book begins in the Ukraine and opens with the horrific event of Babi Yar- the "killing ditch." All of the Jews in the city were rounded up and shot over a ditch dug in the cemetery- 34,000 men, women, and children.

The author of Like a River From Its Course found her inspiration on a mission trip to the Ukraine when she was in high school. There she fell in love with the Russian culture and language. And when she returned a second time she met Maria Ivanovna. Maria told Kelli her story of living in the Ukraine during the war and of Babi Yar and her father's survival of the infamous slaughter.

Maria's story led to Kelli's further research. Like a River From Its Course is a culmination of Maria's story along with stories from other survivors Kelli met along the way.

The story is told from the perspective of four characters. I wasn't sure how this was going to work at first, as with each character change, the characters speak in first person. I quickly realized, however, that not only could I follow just fine, but that the style allowed me to be swept up in the life of each of these four characters.

From Babi Yar to other horrific acts during German occupation to a concentration camp in Germany itself, the story sweeps readers along in the emotions and experiences of each of the characters.

There were definitely times the stories were difficult to read. And there were times I could cheer for the courage of those who tried to stand up and do what was right during this awful time.

Like a Rive From Its Course is beautiful. It's a beautiful story told in the words of those who lived it. You cannot read it and walk away unchanged.

You can learn more about the author, Kelli Stuart, from her website here. You can also find information about the real life stories that inspired Kelli and more information about the book. And if you join Kelli's mailing list, you can get a free book chapter as well as a reader's guide.

I give this book 5 strong stars. You can find the book on Kregel here and preorder the book on Amazon here.

Find Kelli Stuart on social media here:

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Leah Courtney / Author & Editor

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