Wife, Mummy, Nurse: Like a River from Its Course #Book #Review

18 July 2016

Like a River from Its Course #Book #Review

Ever since I was a girl, I have been fascinated with WWII. It all started when I read portions from The Diary of Anne Frank (at 8 years old) and continued when my dad let me watch The Hiding Place (at 9 years old). When I discovered that Like a river from its course, written by Kelli Stuart, was told through the eyes of four people during WWII, I wanted to get my hands on it.
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 even 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?

The book is divided up into three different parts:

Part one: The beginning
Part two: The darkness
Part three: Home

(I do not want to give away too much about the book, so I'll be as brief as possible.) The four characters are:

Maria "Masha" Ivanovna. She was 14 years old in 1941. She lived with her parents and had two siblings-Sergei and Anna. She is later separated from her family and goes to Germany to work in a concentration camp.

Ivan Kyrilovich. Masha's father. When the Germans begin occupying Ukraine, he and his family help out their Jewish neighbors. When Ivan follows his Jewish neighbors to Babi Yar, he is mistakenly identified as a Jew and "shot" at Babi Yar. He survives, but not without consequences.

Frederick Herrmann. A German soldier whose mission in life is to make his father proud, to be a part of history. Throughout this book, he tries to earn his father's approval.

Ludmilla "Luda" Michaelevna. Her mother is dead. Her father a drunk. When she is about to be raped by three German soldiers, her father abandons her, allowing it to happen. As a result of the rape, she becomes pregnant.

My thoughts: Like a river from its course is a historical fiction book. It is a well researched book, where key people and events are mentioned and woven through out the book. Throughout the book, Babi Yar is frequently mentioned. Rudolph Diels is mentioned about being the head of the Gestapo, and Joseph Goebbels succeeding Hitler. I read this book from start-to-finish in less than 48 hours.

The end of the book left me with a few questions: What happened to Frederick Hermann? The author just kind of dropped him, after he realized that his father was in fact weak and that he (Frederick) would never be able to please his father; at that point there were about 100 pages left to go. Did he end up dying? In the story line, there was another man named Hans. We at least know he lived through WWII, but are left with questions wondering what happened with him until he was reunited with Luda.

Despite being a hard (emotionally) read, I could not put it down. Reading this book makes me want to go to the library and read more books (non-fictional and fictional) about World War II.

Do you enjoy reading books about WWII? If so, do you have any recommendations?

I received a copy of this book for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated in any way?


  1. What a good review. I don't read much fiction but you've made me want to pick this one up. I, too, loved Anne Frank and the Hiding Place. Another one about WWII is "Sara's Key."

  2. I love historical fiction because you just never know how closely this may represent someone's life. I will have to check this out! thanks for the review!


  3. This sounds like a good summer read. Thanks for the review.

  4. I love reading about the personal side of WWII and the Holocaust. This sounds like it's a book to be added to my to-read pile. Thanks for posting your review! :-)

  5. I like reading books set during the World Wars. They somehow give you a glimpse of what life was like during those years.

  6. I've read a lot of WW2 books, but I don't think I've ever read any about the Ukraine. Will have to check this one out! Thanks for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday on Mommynificent.com this week!