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The Road Beyond Ruin

Written by: Gemma Liviero
Length: 13 hrs and 20 mins
4 out of 5 stars (9 ratings)

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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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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

loved this book!

This was a fabulous book! I couldn't put it down. I loved the storyline and the ending was both satisfying and intriguing.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Liz
  • 2019-01-11

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!

24 of 24 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Muggle Mom
  • 2019-03-14

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.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Vah6
  • 2019-04-26

The Road Beyond Ruin

I really enjoyed the book, although some war descriptions were very difficult to hear. I was a bit confused in the middle and felt it was drawn out. However in the last 2 hours all the pieces start to make sense. It is almost 75 years since WWII is over yet the horror and tragedy
of war and it’s aftermath is still present today.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • J. Segaloff
  • 2019-04-30

a pleasant surprise!

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. I found myself wanting to get into the car to listen to it. I had expectations considering this genre often takes place in the same time period, but it was refreshing to see that though the war was the backdrop of the entire story, the story beneath was very different than any I had read before.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • RebDi
  • 2019-01-10

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?

15 of 17 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Barbara Koefod
  • 2019-03-10

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Joseph C. Roushar
  • 2019-02-13

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mary
  • 2019-01-21

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • ECL
  • 2019-05-30

interesting take on personal WW2 experiences

The story has twists and turns in it...some are predictable and some are not...but by the end I could understand the people a lot better than in the beginning.

Personally , I don't care for stories that have a lot of flashbacks, so that is why I gave it 4 stars instead of 5.

The performances are good, so many people to give a voice to and only 2 people doing it can make it a little confusing occasionally, but on the whole the "readers" did a great job, accents and all.

I even learned some history along the way, and that's always a good thing.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Tina Galli
  • 2019-02-13

Fantastic!

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

2 of 2 people found this review helpful