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.
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."
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.
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:
One grand prize winner will receive:
A copy of Like a River from Its Course
A Kindle Fire
A 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.