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The Road Beyond Ruin

Length: 13 hrs and 20 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)
Non-member price: $34.82
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Publisher's Summary

For some people in post-World War II Germany, the battle is not over.

August 1945. As Stefano, an Italian POW, heads toward home across war-ravaged Germany, he encounters a young child beside his dead mother. Unable to leave him to an unknown fate, Stefano takes the boy with him, finding refuge in a seemingly abandoned house in a secluded woodland.

But the house is far from vacant. Stefano wakes at the arrival of its owner, Erich, a former German soldier, who invites the travelers to stay until they can find safe passage home. Stefano cautiously agrees, intrigued by the disarming German, his reclusive neighbor Rosalind, and her traumatized husband, Georg. Stefano is also drawn to Monique, the girl in a photograph on Rosalind’s wall, who went missing during the war.

But when he discovers letters written by Monique, a darker truth emerges. This place of refuge could be one of reckoning, and the secrets of the past might prevent the travelers from ever getting home.

©2019 Gemma Liviero. (P)2018 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Liz
  • 11-01-2019

A German, an Italian and a Russian. . .

This is not your generic World War II tale. It is a remarkable story, unfolding slowly enough so that you really know each character. There are two women who complete the five main characters involved in this mystery of war and life, love and revenge, misunderstandings and forgiveness. Also, you'll fall in love with the brave young boy, just a child, tossed around by bombs and rifles and loss of family, who first appears in the opening of the book.

I loved every word of this book. Every look back into the prior lives of these humans brings you a little better grasp of what is happening, but you never know, until the end, all the complexities that rudely grabbed their lives and carried them forward. It takes place in 1945 with flash backs to the '30s. You'll get such an understanding of what living through war is like and history will mean so much more to you.

The two narrators are fantastic! I want to listen to this book all over again!

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • RebDi
  • 10-01-2019

Glad it is finished

This is a very different book from what I anticipated from the plot summary and cover, and I am disappointed in the story that unfolded. The disjointed progression of the storyline and the instability of the four main characters tempted me many times to give it up. I endured without enjoyment the wretched accents of the narrators and the constant flipping between four different points of view and numerous settings (present day 1945 and various dates and locations in the years leading to and during WWII). After a while it just became disorienting. The story dragged on and on, and I put it down many times before pushing through. Unfortunately, the only sympathetic characters are under the age of five. And really, a four year old boy who is too traumatized to speak and is unfamiliar with the area is sent from a farmhouse into town to deliver life or death secret messages to someone he’s never met?? I am usually keen to read WWII historical fiction, but this fell short. As for the narration, we know the characters are not speaking English so why do we need to endure creepy foreign accents? And does anyone else think the male narrator sounds like Rod Serling about to send us off to the Twilight Zone?

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Vik
  • 26-01-2019

I couldn't finish it

I listened for 11 hours and still didn't understand the plot or story line. This was absolutely a waste of my credit. I thought the narrators did an amazing job of the accents and trying to make the story interesting. I don't think I could ever read anything by this author again.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • stefani
  • 21-01-2019

Loved this book

The story really catches you off guard with the way the story reveals itself. Wish the author wrote more books. I would read anything that wrote.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Mary
  • 21-01-2019

Mary P

This book was quite interesting and kept you thinking. Many twists and turns to the story line. I love historical fiction and this one didn’t disappoint me.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Roger Smith
  • 19-02-2019

use a notepad!

I really liked this book but really struggled with the characters each going back in time. pretty confusing. I feel like I should re-read the last quarter of the book to get it all straight but I probably won't. if you make some notes of the time sequences it would really help.

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  • Anna
  • 16-02-2019

Loved it

Great storytelling! It did kind of keep me guessing, though there was one aspect that I guessed right away, without giving away any spoilers. The narration was very good.

This was, for me, a story from a different aspect of World War II. It was interesting to see what the German’s life was like after the war.

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  • Tina Galli
  • 13-02-2019

Fantastic!

What a story! This is the best WWII book that I have read since The Nightingale! Definitely put it in your library!

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  • Joseph C. Roushar
  • 13-02-2019

Heartbreakingly beautiful in its primal violence

I'm not used to hearing about WWII from Axis voices, but this story made me love them and fear the social and personal evils that destroyed so much so rapidly. I'm recommending this to all my friends.

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  • Mike
  • 12-02-2019

Intrigue

Full of surprises. Interesting time and place. Well developed characters that you can relate to.

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  • Arooj
  • 18-01-2019

Brilliant narration captures you!

I’m not one for anything historical or political but this story is brilliantly written & performed even better. The characters all seem so real & the story line is absolutely fantastic. I’m going to struggle to find a follow up to this!