Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Like a River From Its Course

GIVEAWAY

STUART, KELLI
LIKE A RIVER FROM ITS COURSE

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.

My Review:

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 read, but it worked really well in this instance. Rushed me right into scenes that felt so urgent I was left holding my breath and gritting my teeth for most of the read.

The author has done extensive research and these four lives are inspired by true stories of real survivors. That's what makes this book so startling, I think -- the fact that events like these actually happened. That real people survived and lived to bear witness to what happened to them and those they loved.

Yes, Like a River from its Course is a sombre read. My heart was heavy when I finally closed the book. I couldn't help but make parallels to the modern world we live in and am still wondering if we have actually learned anything from that horrid war and the actions of the maniac who started it all. That's why books like this one -- the kind that reach into a reader's heart to testify of both pain and hope -- are so important.

At the time of the German occupation, Ukraine had already born the ravages of a revolution that destroyed their churches. Priests were killed or sent to work camps in Siberia, churches turned into public buildings so the spiritual landscape is bleak at the start of this novel. But the author still manages to incorporate a soul-stirring faith thread in the midst of turbulence and heartache.

"We are openly discussing God in a place that not so long ago killed many of my friends for similar conversations. God cannot be suppressed under the evil of man. The world is harsh and cruel and full of pain. But God is real. The Holy Spirit and Mary and the saints -- they're real. To believe is to trust, and when you trust, your life has meaning and purpose outside of the mere endurance of hardship."
(p. 263)

And perhaps my most favourite quote from a longsuffering, all-believing priest: "You would be surprised, my friend, at the power in 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." (p. 263)

Startling truths and riveting fiction. A definite must read.

My thanks to Kregel Publications and Litfuse Publicity Group for providing me with a copy of this book.


GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY:

If you would like an opportunity to win a copy of  Like a River From Its Course please leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you post a comment and add your email address, please use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in the address to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email please remember to put the title in the subject line so that it's easy for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday July 3 2016. Offer open to international readers. Good luck!

In addition to my giveaway (which you enter here as per instructions above), the author is doing a giveaway as well. See info below:

like a river - 400

One grand prize winner will receive:
A copy of Like a River from Its Course
A Kindle Fire
Kindle Fire case (winner's choice)
A $30 Amazon gift card

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on July 18th. The winner will be announced July 19th on Kelli's blog.
like a river - enterbanner

25 comments:

  1. Sounds like a book I would enjoy. I'd love to be entered in the drawing.
    Amber Schamel
    visionwriter2 at gmail dot com

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    1. I found it to be really impactful. Good luck, Amber.

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  2. What a book! I would like to read this one. Thank you for the opportunity!

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

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    1. You're welcome, Melanie. Good luck.

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  3. I am Ukrainian, the storyline would be sad to read. I would like to read this novel very much.

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    1. Yes -- difficult to read this part of your heritage but important as well. Good luck, Marjorie.

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  4. Kav, I love a read that really has some depth and meat. Would love to win this one!

    ckbarker at gmail dot com

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    1. You're entered, Cheryl. Good luck.

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  5. I never liked history in school but I love reading books based on a true story or simply historical fiction.
    betherin02 at gmail dot com

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    1. Fiction is the best way to learn history, I think. Good luck, Beth Erin.

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  6. Kav, this books sounds incredible! Thank you for the chance!
    psalm103and138 at gmail dot com

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  7. I always like to read books about World War II but I don't think I have ever read one about the Ukraine. This sounds like will bring the tears.
    pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

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    1. I know -- I don't think I have either. It's a unique angle and important for us to know about. Good luck, rubynreba.

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  8. I just spent time reading more about Kelli's book and her 15 year journey to tell this story that we all need to witness so we never forget what history has taught us. I know I will cry when I read it. Thanks Kav, for the chance to win it.
    Dblaser(at)windstream(dot)net

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    1. It's a powerful story and I'm so grateful she wrote it. Good luck, Diane.

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  9. Sounds like a great book!

    samanthabis23 at gmail dot com

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  10. I've long been interested in this period of history since I did a High School research paper on the prison camps in Germany. The horrors of war, the senseless killing of innocent people and the unintelligible questions of why has haunted my mind for a long time. Yes, these type of stories are heart-wrenching to read, but stories of survival are sometimes necessary to tell so we can sympathize and connect in some small way to the victims. Thanks for your tender heart Kav & wanting to share this book with others. Giving voice to people who otherwise would have none :-)

    teamob4 (at) gmail (dot) com

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    1. I'm always struck by the heroism and humanity found in ordinary people in midst of all that inhumanity. It gives me hope that we might just figure out a way to all get along someday. Good luck, Trixi.

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  11. Sounds like a great book! Thanks!!

    rosebudsinjune at gmail dot com

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  12. Ah, Ukraine. The world needs to know more about this.

    Count me in, please.

    janka(dot)halcinova(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Yes, it does. Good luck, Janka.

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  13. Kav, I saved your review so I could come back to it when I started reading. It's kind of funny ... I have a hard time with Holocaust themes, so I passed on reviewing this book - until Christen contacted me, that is. So I reluctantly agreed when she said if it was too difficult, I could post a spotlight or something like that. Then I read your review when you first posted it and dreaded this book even more.

    Now I've started it and am only a few chapters in, but it is incredible. I think it will still be difficult, but well worth the effort. In fact, I just wrote in my notes, "If ever a book cried out to be read, it's this one." Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Kav.

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