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The Road Beyond Ruin

Length: 13 hrs and 20 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (326 ratings)

Regular price: $24.99

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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
  • USA
  • 01-11-19

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!

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • RebDi
  • TINLEY PARK, IL, US
  • 01-10-19

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?

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

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The Meandering Road

The positive reviews of The Road Beyond Ruin have merit, as assessments of decent historical fiction.
I love well crafted historical fiction. I found Liviero's prose to be flat, almost like a news story. The characters are interesting, although I immediately figured out good guys and bad guys and took sides. No surprises there. Tragedy, romance, pathos are all covered. Was I pulled in by any of the characters or events? Not really.

The narration may have been this novel's downfall. The male narrator sounds exactly like Rod Serling. I kept expecting him to tell us, "It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity...an area which we call the Twilight Zone." This reader's intensity never wavered, even when he was describing something as mundane as sleeping. The characters' dialogue was even more laughable. The German accents kept reminding me of SNL's eccentric art dealer couple, Nuni and Nuni Shoener. Because of these accents and inflections, I had a difficult time taking the characters seriously, even as emotional events unfolded.

The story also meanders. I felt it could have used some editorial tightening. I was relieved to finish the long saga.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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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 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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Confusing!

Found the back and forth distracting - did not like the accents -character development late in the storyline

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Slow start

This story had a slow start but by the time I was middle way through, I bought in. The story seemed to really unfold. This story had surprises I didn't expect toward the end. I liked this book and the narrator did a wonderful job.

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Phew!

I was determined to finish this book. I know not what the epilogue was about.

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A Story within A Story

Excellent multi-layered story. I was sucked in and I had to sit down because I was spellbound by the dynamics of the characters and the storytelling. Whenever I thought I had the story figured out, a new twist would come along and down another rabbit hole I would go. I’m not sure if I liked the ending but I can live with it.

Will definitely check out more novels by this rising author.

5 stars for narration – both the narrators nailed their characters!

Highly recommend.

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Great read!

Very good story. Was, at times, a little difficult to follow but well worth the patience.

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  • Rooji
  • 01-18-19

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!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful