Read My Enemy's Cradle by Sara Young Online


A powerful story of love and deception set against the true events of one of the most secret and terrifying of Heinrich Himmler's wartime projects - the Lebensborn Nazi breeding programme....

Title : My Enemy's Cradle
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780007268535
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 387 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

My Enemy's Cradle Reviews

  • Svetlana
    2018-11-18 06:38

    You know when you read a book and you love it so much, you’re sad that it’s over? Well.. that’s how I feel about this one. I loved it SO much!“Prisoners. From the camp there. Hundreds. They all looked the same, with their grey skin, their shaved skulls, their grey uniforms. I couldn’t tell one from the other; I didn’t even know if they were men or women. They were skeletons.”Anneke and Cyrla were cousins who looked very similar in every way except for one thing, Cyrla was half Jewish and hiding. Anneke was carrying a German soldier’s child and was expected to go to Lebensborn, but her sudden death left Cyrla with no choice but to take her place. In the enemy’s lair, how was Cyrla going to deceive the doctors and the other pregnant women? How was she going to escape before her true identity was revealed? ‘Lebensborn’ which translates to ‘wellspring of life’ or ‘foundation of life’ was one of the most horrific and unknown Nazi projects. As Germany’s birth-rate had dropped after the First World War, Heinrich Himmler founded the Lebensborn project in 1935 in order to increase the German population. SS and Wehrmacht officers were encouraged to have children with Aryan women who sometimes were as young as fifteen. They had to be ‘racially pure’ - blond hair and blue eyes - by passing a ‘racial purity’ test. Himmler believed that these Lebensborn children were going to grow up and lead a Nazi-Aryan nation. The purpose of this project was to offer Aryan women the opportunity to give birth to a child privately, in safety and comfort. However the babies and children at the Lebensborn homes were often neglected. Mothers who gave birth at these homes were unable to find their children after the war as all records were intentionally hidden or destroyed. This project affected both women and children across Europe, and yet it remains to be one of the least-known aspects of World War 2 history. When Cyrla was at Lebensborn, I felt like I was there with her, and it felt like a prison. “One day became another, indistinguishable from all the others, unmarked even by walks out-of-doors. Lunch after breakfast, night after day, sun after snow.”My Enemy’s Cradle was a poignant story about loneliness and abandonment, about the atrocities against Jews. But it was also about love and hope and endurance, at a time when the world was at war with itself. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this, and I’m very grateful to have learnt about this particular part of history.

  • Christina
    2018-11-19 04:32

    I’m quite sure that I say this entirely too much, but I could not put My Enemy’s Cradle down. I was completely riveted, enthralled with the characters, and sucked into a part of Nazi Germany I knew nothing about. It’s a strong book, all the way through. Beginning to end.My Enemy’s Cradle is love story filled with tragedy, heartbreak, and devastation. Which sounds incredibly contradictory, but it contains so much hope and love that the contrasting feelings pull the reader in one hundred directions and push the reader to the every end.A nail-biting book that had me frantically turning the pages, My Enemy’s Cradle is filled realistic characters and a solid, historical plot. Particularly, the characters of Cyrla, who feels guilty for taking her cousin’s place and torn between being half-Jewish and half-Dutch…“The world was cracking in two. One world half boy solders who missed their sisters and longed to sit in cafés with girls. The other held me who wrapped girls’ faces in latrine filth, and sliced my family from me, and who would not let me pass into a park or a train if they knew who I was. The world was cracking in two, and I was falling into the void.” {pg. 26}and Nurse Ilse, who feels guilty for even being apart of the Lebensborn program but cannot leave because of parlaying fear of what they will do to her father and because she wants to provide hope for the girls who come to the maternity home alone and afraid.“I am a coward. Yes, I look away. I don’t allow myself to think about certain things. I can’t. it would kill me. So this is how I survive. This is how everyone I know survives except we can’t even talk about it. We’re all cowards.” {pg. 243}For me, though, the most interesting part was the Lebensborn program, which including the breeding of a “superior race.” Because the male population had been decimated at the end of World War I, the birthrate plummeted and the Nazis set up Lebensborn, a maternity home stock piled with food, medicine, and other scare items so girls as young as fifteen could present their country with new citizens and future soldiers. If a child was not born as apart of the “superior race,” such as one friend of Cyrla’s whose baby was born deaf, they are disposed of. My Enemy’s Cradle is a fiction account based on a horrifying truth.Young has done a fantastic job of highlighting the horrors of Hitler’s Germany, while still maintaining a gripping love story, making this adult debut a compelling and emotional read.

  • Leanna
    2018-11-24 07:23

    I picked up Sara Young’s My Enemy’s Cradle after reading a review in USA Today a few weeks ago. The book centers around the German Lebensborn, and I was intrigued.Despite inundating myself with “Third Reich” literature over the last several years, I’d never before heard of the Lebensborn, homes for women impregnated (both willingly and unwillingly) by German soldiers.Fair-haired Cyrla, the book’s protagonist, has a Dutch mother and a Polish-Jewish father. For five years, she lives with her mother’s family in the Netherlands and hides her Jewish ancestry. When the family receives threats for harboring a Jew, Cyrla knows she must flee.Cyrla (Young doesn’t explain the name's pronunciation—Curla—until well into the novel; unpronounceable names is one of my pet peeves) assumes her cousin’s identity and takes refuge in a Lebensborn. The premise of this book is intriguing, and I have a strong desire to read more about the Lebensborn. Rather than a historical narrative, though, the book reads like a predictable romance novel. As a romance novel, I enjoyed Cradle. I was interested in Cyrla and her romantic entanglements. I wanted a happy ending and even shed a few tears.As a Holocaust narrative, though, the book leaves much to be desired. Young’s tale romanticizes the time period. Although it refers to the horrors and atrocities committed during WWII and the Holocaust, the book glosses over these passages. Instead, Cradle concentrates more on Cyrla’s love life and less on the truly perilous situation she and her family members find themselves in.

  • Jennifer
    2018-12-07 07:13

    I really wanted to like this book because I am a fan of historical fiction, particularly that dealing with Jews and WWII. Unfortunately, I found the plot predictable, the characters flat, and the tone of the book to be too light for such a serious issue as a half Jewish woman living as a fraud in a Lebensborn (home for women pregnant with children of Nazi fathering to add to the "Master Race.") Although I do not know enough about Lebensborn, I feel as though the author paints too glossy of a picture of life during war-ravaged times, especially for a Jew in a Nazi-run maternity oasis. The love story that evolved out of the plot was cliche and intensely contrived, leaving me feeling as though the book was written for someone who wants to see the world through rose-colored glasses rather than the harsh reality of what actually happened. I'm not saying that I'm looking for a pessimistic story; rather, I expect the author to deliver one that is more realistic and allows the horrors of what these women must have gone through to penetrate its readers' hearts. I was severely disappointed when I finished this book.

  • Diana
    2018-11-26 04:16

    This novel has the most irritating protagonist I’ve ever encountered in fiction. Completely self-absorbed, oblivious to what’s happening around her in Nazi-occupied Holland, utterly unconcerned with anyone’s feelings but her own…God, what a useless wench. The only reason I kept on reading was that it concerned the mysterious Lebensborn program during World War II. Little is known about it, and that little is still not talked about very much. It concerns illicit sex and unmarried motherhood, both frowned on in the 1940s, even in wartime Germany. I also hated the author's precious writing style. She kept on about the sunlight “spilling.” Sunlight does not spill: liquid spills. Neither does sunlight “pool.” By the end of the book, trees were "spilling" down the cliff. Give me a break! At least she had the grace to write in the past tense. I abhor novels written in the present tense and usually refuse to read them. I'd recommend this book only to those who have an abiding interest in the Lebensborn program and are willing to read a fictional account of it.

  • Sue
    2018-11-23 05:11

    This was an interesting book about a part of WWII that I knew little about. The story highlights the Lebensborn, a birthing center for Aryan children. The story is about Cyrla, a half-Jewish young woman who is finding that life in the home of a Dutch relative is getting increasingly more difficult as the Nazi's impose stricter and stricter laws on anyone Jewish. Cyrla is best friends with her beautiful blond cousin, Annika . Not only are they best friends but they look quite alike. Without giving the story away, Cyrla must take on Annika's identity at the Lebensborn where she has gone to 'hide in plain sight'. I very much enjoyed the beginning and middle of the novel but I have to admit to feeling cheated at the end. I felt like the end came too quickly and seemed abrupt. It is a heart wrenching emotional story - I just wish the ending had been better!

  • Leah
    2018-12-06 04:16

    The woman whose kids I babysit lent me this book. Apparently she got it as a gift and couldn't put it down. This one is definitely a page turner. It's kind of like historical chick-lit. I liked that it dealt with an aspect of Nazi Germany that isn't talked about very often, which is the Lebensborn project. This project was a breeding program designed to propagate the Aryan race. Girls who passed rigorous tests to determine their heritage and who were carrying German babies were allowed to give birth in a Lebensborn home. The babies were then given to German families to raise. In addition, married men were encouraged to participate in the program by impregnating as many girls as possible. The story centers around a girl, Cyrla, with a Polish Jewish father and a Dutch mother. She has blond hair and blue eyes - nothing about her appearance suggests her Jewish heritage. When WWII begins to heat up she is sent to live with her mother's sister's family in the Netherlands, who have a daughter Cyrla's age. I don't want to give too much away, but she ends up in one of the Lebensborn homes under a false name, trying to hide her Jewish heritage. So, interesting concept which I applaud because there is altogether too much holocaust fiction on the market today. But. I hated this main character. She was an idiot. She was immature, naive, whiny, and never thought through her actions, even when they could have seriously harmed her and her loved ones (and often did). You'd think that after a few incidents she might have wised up. She didn't. She was an idiot throughout the entire book. I HATE when that happens! I hated it even more because the book portrayed her in this antiquated, paternalistic light which basically says: "women are too emotional to make rational, smart decisions." On the other hand, the men in the story were always the sane, smart ones trying to help her... and in return she brushed them off, didn't take their advice, and continued to put them and herself in harm's way because she was stubborn, "just wanted" to do something, and never seemed to realize the danger of her situation. And this is written by a woman! Come ON! I couldn't relate to her at all. Think Bella from Twilight or Scarlett O'Hara (although Scarlett was mean AND an idiot. This girl was just dumb). So. That was my big beef with this book. Interesting and well written, but ultimately disappointing because of the spineless main character. The End.

  • Edel
    2018-12-01 10:36

    I did not enjoy this book at all, the main character, Cyrla was very immature and shallow. Besides the poor character development, the main concept of the book was interesting, because I had no idea such pregnancy homes for women existed during World War II and how the Nazis took these children from the mothers after they were born. Most of the book consisted of Cyrla wallowing around pregnant and thinking about Izaak, a man who got her pregnant so she could go take on the identity of her cousin at the "Lebensborn". Izaak, who she continuously pines after, shows her NO affection what so ever, and she doesn't even realize that Izaak is indifferent towards her. She even goes so far as to tell Izaak that she loves him and he does not respond! SHE still does not get the hint that he doesn't love her, even after that! She comes off as very weak and dependent on men to take care of her. The book becomes progressively worse, when, towards the end of the book she falls in love with her late cousin's boyfriend named Karl, who got Cyrla's cousin (Anneke) pregnant in the first place! This book was ridiculous and offered no character development and the story-line was very unrealistic. Cyrla frequently visited Izaak in the beginning of the book, even when their were Nazis all over the place. Ok, if there were SO many Nazis around, how could they not catch Cyrla and Izaak???? Overall, I was very displeased with this book, it had the potential to be good.

  • Sarah
    2018-11-19 07:23

    Anytime I can read about something new in well-written historical fiction, I'm all for it! The author of this adult novel taught me something and had me googling before I had even finished the book. It's a tale of the Lebensborn, a home for girls who were breeding good German stock to carry on the work of the Fuhrer. Wow.[return][return]Cyrla is 1/2 Jewish and her father sends her to the Netherlands before Hitler starts raising too much heck. But the war catches up with her in the Netherlands. No one knows she is 1/2 Jewish (maybe) but she can't keep up appearances with her Jewish boyfriend anymore. Her cousin and best friend wants to marry a German soldier who has gotten her pregnant, but things don't usually work out during wartime. Then enters the Lebensborn. These homes were full of girls who were raped or freely having German babies. Some were even like factories, churning out the Aryan race for Hitler. Wow. That's really about all I can say. The novel reads quickly and easily, but things were wrapped up a little cheesily for me at the end.

  • Kolleen
    2018-11-19 08:27

    I am one of those people that love books on the Holocost, true or not. (Call me morbid if you have to). This was a novel, but focused on Lebensborns, which are an aspect of the Holocost that has never been focused on before, and something that I didn't even realized existed. The characters in this book were so well-defined that I felt like I knew them and could understand all of their thoughts and feelings. I was so touched by this book. I loved the characters, I loved the ending, and I really really hope this is a movie because I would love to see this brought to life so I can share it with all of my non-reader friends. Great book. Even if you are not into the Holocost, it is a must read. You will not be disappointed.

  • Judi Anne
    2018-12-03 07:19

    Cyrla and Anneke are cousins who look enough alike to be twins. Cyrla, who is half Dutch, has been sent by her father to safely live with her mother's Dutch relations in Holland as Hitler's army occupies Poland. Being half Jewish from her father's side life is any thing but safe for Cyrla as the neighbors are afraid to associate with her when it is apparent that Holland is about to be occupied by Hitler's army. In the meantime, Anneke falls in love with a Karl, a German soldier. He shortly abandons her after she finds out she is pregnant. Her father is outraged and decides to send her to Lebensborn, a secret maternity home created by the Nazis, where Aryan girls can have their babies, in comfort, which are fathered by German soldiers. The babies were then adopted out to German families with the intention that they grow up to purify the German race. A tragic chain of events cause Cyrla to assume Anneke's identity and go in her place With twists and turns suspense, there is still hope for the future portrayed in this novel. I thoroughly enjoyed this romantic novel set against the tragedies of wartime. I am amazed that I had never heard of the Lebensborn program until this novel. I did some research of this sinister project because it was unbelievable to me and found out it was horrifyingly real!

  • Judy
    2018-12-02 07:23

    I absolutely LOVED this book. I found it very interesting, a page turner, and I didn't want to put it down. My only complaint was the ending. All of a sudden the book ended very abruptly. It definitely could have gone on at least another chapter or two. It also could have had a sequel written but this book was originally published in 2008 so I don't see that being very likely. I thought about taking a star away because of the ending, but decided against it because the book gave me so many hours of reading entertainment. With that, I still highly recommend this book.

  • Andrea
    2018-12-10 08:11

    This is an amazing story about a little known Nazi plan to create babies for the Third Reich. A great read!

  • Nhi Nguyễn
    2018-11-18 03:26

    Viết về đề tài Thế chiến thứ II, nhưng tiểu thuyết không hề đi vào lối mòn của sự đàn áp, giết hại người Do Thái như những tác phẩm viết về đề tài này trước đây. Dĩ nhiên là nó vẫn được xây dựng trên cái nền muôn thuở là sự khốn đốn của người Do Thái trước sự nhẫn tâm của phát xít Đức, thế nhưng, "Trong vòng nôi kẻ thù" lại đề cập đến một vấn đề khác, riêng tư hơn, ít được nhắc đến hơn: cuộc sống và số phận của những người phụ nữ mang thai con của lính Đức ở nhà hộ sinh Lebensborn. Đây là những người mà giây phút họ vượt mọi đớn đau và nguy hiểm, đem sinh linh bé bỏng mình đã cưu mang suốt chín tháng trong người đến với thế giới này, thì cũng là lúc vai trò và thiên chức làm mẹ của họ bị tước đoạt một cách phũ phàng và đau đớn.Vấn đề ấy được khắc họa thông qua câu chuyện của nhân vật Cyrla, một cô gái người gốc Ba Lan lai Do Thái, vì trốn chạy sự đàn áp người Do Thái ở quê nhà mà phải khăn gói sang Hà Lan tá túc tại nhà dì ruột. Giữa bối cảnh đó, cô em họ Anneke của Cyrla bất ngờ có thai với bạn trai là một người lính Đức tên Karl, sau đó bị cha mình - trong cơn nóng giận - bắt phải vào nhà hộ sinh Lebensborn để sinh con rồi đem con cho người Đức. Quyết tâm không muốn bán con mình cho kẻ thù, Anneke tự mình phá thai, để rồi vì mất máu quá nhiều mà cô đã qua đời. Trong cơn buồn đau mà vẫn nghĩ đến sư an nguy của đứa cháu ruột giữa lúc mà sự đàn áp người Do Thái ở Hà Lan đang dâng đến đỉnh điểm, mẹ của Anneke bắt Cyrla phải lấy giấy tờ và nhân dạng của con gái mình đến trại Lebensborn tá túc như là một cách che giấu thân phận thật của cô.Nhưng đó mới chỉ là sự bắt đầu của tất cả mọi thứ... Để an toàn thực hiện được kế hoạch trốn chạy một cách trót lọt, Cyrla đã nhờ đến sự chung đụng miễn cưỡng và xa cách của Isaak - người đàn ông Do Thái mà cô yêu thầm biết bao năm qua, người mà cô luôn khát khao được ở gần bên, được đáp lại tình cảm - để cô có thai và vào nhà hộ sinh mà không ai nghi ngờ. Đến được Lebensborn, nguy hiểm cũng chưa buông thôi Cyrla, khi đây chính là thế giới của kẻ thù, là vòng nôi của những cô gái Đức bị chủ nghĩa phát xít tẩy não triệt để, của những "Ả Áo Nâu" là y tá chăm sóc cho các cô gái đang có thai, của những tên lính Đức canh gác khu trại 24/7, ai ra vào đều phải trình báo hẳn hòi. Đó còn là thế giới, là vòng nôi của những người phụ nữ bị xem như những cỗ máy đẻ, đơn thuần chỉ là công cụ gieo giống cho những bữa tiệc truy hoan đáng ghê tởm đội lốt tiệc mừng sinh nhật người đứng đầu. Và những đứa trẻ họ sinh ra, nếu là bé trai thì cũng chỉ như những cỗ máy chiến đấu, những tên lính Đức quốc xã tương lai, còn bé gái thì cuối cùng cũng sẽ như mẹ của chúng, những cổ tử cung biết đi, những cái máy để tiếp tục làm công việc ăn nằm với lính Đức để sản sinh ra thế hệ những tên phát xít tiếp theo. Đó còn là thế giới mà đau thương của sự chia cắt tình mẫu tử đâu chỉ để lại ảnh hưởng lên những người mẹ phút trước còn muốn tống khứ của nợ trong bụng mình một cách nhanh chóng, phút sau đã muốn níu giữ máu thịt ở lại bên mình. Sự chia cắt ấy còn hằn sau vết thương đau của nó lên người những đứa bé mới sinh, những sinh linh bé bỏng bị đem đến những nhà trẻ mồ côi, suốt ngày nằm khóc ngằn ngặt trong những cái nôi thiếu tình thương, thiếu sự quan tâm, dỗ dành âu yếm và hơi ấm tình mẹ... Đó còn là thế giới của nỗi ám ảnh khôn nguôi về cái ác đang diễn ra trước mặt, và cảm giác tội lỗi luôn hiện về trong tâm khảm những người căm ghét chế độ phát xít nhưng không thể làm gì để thay đổi, thể hiện qua nhân vật Sơ Ilse.Giữa cảnh sống tưởng chừng đầy đủ, sung túc nhưng thực chất lại lắm đau thương trong nhà hộ sinh ấy là diễn biến phức tạp trong suy nghĩ và nội tâm của nhân vật Cyrla, mà chủ yếu là cảm giác tội lỗi như thể cô đang chiếm lấy cuộc đời đáng lẽ cô em họ đáng thương của cô phải được hưởng, chiếm lấy phần tính cách sôi nổi, hoạt bát, hướng ngoại của Anneke - trái ngược hoàn toàn với con người thật của cô. Và đặc biệt là chiếm lấy tình cảm của Karl, khi cô nhận ra cô đã yêu người đàn ông này, bạn trai cũ của em họ cô, người mà sau bao nhiêu sự quan tâm ân cần, hết lòng giúp đỡ cho cô có cơ hội gặp lại Isaak, cô mới chợt nhận ra anh tốt bụng, chân thật và yêu cô sâu sắc, thủy chung đến như thế nào... Đó là người đã đem đến cho Cyrla sự kết hợp thể xác mà cô luôn khát khao nhưng không bao giờ cảm nhận được ở Isaak, những cái đụng chạm đáng giá hơn cả ngàn lời nói yêu đương cô đã từng mơ Isaak sẽ nói với mình...Câu chuyện được trần thuật ở ngôi thứ nhất, và trong một chừng mực nào đó, có vẻ tác giả có đôi chỗ quá cường điệu và phi lý khi khắc họa một số suy nghĩ, lời nói và hành vi của nhân vật Cyrla. Thêm vào đó, bản dịch của NXB Phụ Nữ có quá nhiều lỗi sai trong cách hành văn và chính tả, dẫn đến cái hay của tác phẩm, tinh hoa của câu chuyện không được thể hiện một cách trọn vẹn và đủ đầy. Tuy nhiên, đây vẫn là một tác phẩm hay, không phải hay kiểu ám ảnh, lúc nào cũng khiến độc giả nghĩ về nó dù đã buông sách xuống, nhưng vẫn đủ để lôi cuốn người đọc mỗi lần cầm sách lên, như thể độc giả đang thực sự ở trong câu chuyện, thực sự nhìn thấy diễu ra trước mắt những thước phim về cuộc đời của nhân vật Cyrla.Đoạn kết quả là gây xúc động mạnh, và là một trong những trường đoạn hay nhất của tác phẩm. Nó gói gọn lại nhiều thứ và làm trọn vẹn nhiều thứ. Nó làm tan biến nỗi khắc khoải về một mái ấm gia đình đích thực mà Cyrla đã từng mong mỏi xuyên suốt những phần trước; nó cho cô biết đâu là nhà, là tổ ấm thực sư của cô; nó tôn vinh tình yêu mãnh liệt và son sắt, vẫn còn lại sau cuộc chiến tranh; nó sưởi ấm lòng người đọc bằng chất men tình ấm áp, và bằng cả cảm giác nhẹ nhõm, bình yên khi tất cả mảnh ghép đã về đúng vị trí của mình... Đơn giản là một cuốn sách nên đọc, nếu bạn đang tìm kiếm một tác phẩm viết về đề tài Thế chiến thứ II không theo bất kỳ lối mòn, khuôn mẫu và motif nào trước đây; về nửa kia của thế giới giữa vòng vây của chiến tranh và niềm đau khi bị tước đi thiên chức làm mẹ.

  • thewanderingjew
    2018-11-13 09:16

    This is a very compelling book about World War II, told from an entirely different perspective. It is told not from the point of view of the war and the soldiers or the camps, but rather the innocent citizens caught up in the turmoil and terror. The main character, Cyrla, is a mischling, which is what Germans called a person of mixed heritage, one not totally Aryan. She is young, barely 19, and often because of her pride she is careless and foolish. Her mistakes endanger others. She might even be considered promiscuous but the circumstances of the times called for extreme behavior in order to survive. Told from a point of view of the Holocaust which encompasses the German perspective, it casts a different light on the event. There were many who embraced the hate and horror of Hitler’s design for the world but there were also many who quietly tried to do everything in their limited power to prevent it. Often, they were arrested and discarded in the same way as the Jews, criminals and others they thought defective. They too, were murdered and tortured.Cyrla enters a Lebensborn, a place for unwed mothers who, in exchange for food and care, produce future Aryan soldiers for the Reich. Some women enter the program and are impregnated by German soldiers deliberately. When too few babies are born, they expand the program to include other women from other countries deemed worthy. The children who are products of rape, by German soldiers, are adopted unless the soldier decides to enter the picture and take the child or marry the woman. As there proved to be a shortage of future soldiers, non Aryan babies from other countries were kidnapped and given to "good" Germans to adopt and raise.Cyrla enters in the identity of her cousin whom she resembles and who had been carefully screened, as an Aryan, for the program. The women in these homes are bearing children who will become Germany's future, soldiers for the Reich. Of course, Cyrla is not an Aryan, and the book is about her effort to survive and also those who help her. It is also about those who are evil and do their best not to help but to hinder her and further the cause of the Reich. It is presented fairly and honestly, not overdone.How she endures the trials life hands her make for a very interesting tale which opened my eyes to a different side of some Germans. Not all were Nazis, but all were hiding that fact for fear of their own lives. Those that risked their lives in an effort to defeat or confront the Nazis, often died or were tortured and punished. The effects of Hitler's madness were often subtle and insidious, discovered too late to stop him from his heinous plans.Although the pages almost turn themselves, the plot seems unrealistic, yet we know it happened in some form. The book opens a window onto a program in Germany, for German girls, that few know about and it does explore it well. I think many of the characters are very well developed so that you do get a real sense of who they are and how they suffer with the burden of the war, regardless of background or heritage.

  • Gail Amendt
    2018-11-24 10:19

    This one is a really hard one to rate. It was quite gripping, and I read it in a couple of days as I had to keep going to find out what happened next. It was, however, somewhat disappointing from a historical fiction perspective. Judging by the author's note and acknowledgements at the end of the book, the author was trying to write a historical novel about the Lebensborns, maternity homes set up by the Nazis for suitably Aryan women pregnant with the children of Nazi officers. This could have made for a fascinating historical novel, as this is an almost unknown part of WWII history. The story of a Jewish woman hiding in one these homes under an assumed identity should have been especially fascinating. This book, however, was more of a romance novel in a historical setting as it tended to gloss over the horrors of the war and really did not go into much depth on the hardships, brutality and tragedies of that time. It was short on history and realism and long on sex scenes. The writing style was rather simple, and at times I found myself feeling like I was reading a young adult novel. Perhaps this is because the author does write children's books under another name, and had difficulty writing in a more mature tone. The sex scenes, however, make it clear that this book is intended for adults. This book could have been so much more. It is not a bad book. I did enjoy it, it was a compelling story, and I did learn about the Lebensborns, but I would have preferred less sex and more historical content.

  • Lisa
    2018-11-30 06:14

    A very memorable story of young ladies and how they suffered during WWII. They weren't put in concentration camps, but they were victims of cruelty just the same. The author uses the backdrop of Hitler's maternity homes as she paints the story of one girl's search for safety during the war. I enjoyed this book because it's a very interesting plot line that keeps you constantly on your toes as you read it. And the author does a wonderful job developing the characters, peeling away layer after layer as you get to know them better. The heartbreak they face is so easy to feel, and it's a good reminder of how human cruelty has such a profound impact on so many lives.Get ready to be surprised as you read the book. And get ready to have it touch your heart. How can you not be disturbed as you learn the truth about how the Nazi's stole children from their mothers? And during a time of war and hunger, it is sad to think that women found a safe haven by producing babies that would be taken away from them. It's another very dark side of the Nazi regime.And as an adoptive mom of a child who lived in an orphanage as an infant, it was extremely sad to read about how the Germans placed these children in orphanages for the first few months of their lives before placing them with "adoptive" families. They didn't realize (or didn't care) about the emotional damage they did to the kids by not placing them right away with families.Thanks go to my friend Debbie for loaning me this book! (And finally finding a book we both like!)

  • Princess
    2018-12-03 09:36

    This book is incredibly powerful. I tend to have a difficult time reading books set during the Holocaust. Both my husband and I have German heritage and it makes the atrocities so much more real to me knowing what I do about family history and conscription. That being said, I couldn't put this book down. I was hooked from the start. The storyline is intriguing. The Lebensborn is a home for mothers pregnant with German babies. Cyrla's cousin, Anneke, is pregnant and has passed the admissions requirements. Cyrla is a half-Jewish Pole who has been hiding in her cousin's home in the Netherlands. Anneke and Cyrla are almost identical and through a cruel twist, Cyrla ends up taking Anneke's place in the Lebensborn. This is a love story with all the complications that make real life messy. This is also a war story that draws you in completely to a different time and place. It's compelling and heart wrenching and real. I wish the ending had come a little more slowly, not quite as abrupt but I feel that overall the book is completely genuine.

  • ☕Laura
    2018-12-04 06:37

    Prior to reading this book I knew nothing of the Lebensborn -- Nazi-sponsored homes for German or "suitably Aryan" women carrying babies fathered by German men -- yet another atrocity of the Nazi regime. These babies were treated as a commodity -- more future soldiers or future mothers of soldiers -- and the women were encouraged to produce as many children with German soldiers as possible. Against this backdrop we are offered the story of Cyrla, a young woman of partial Jewish parentage who enters one of the Lebensborn homes using the identity of her cousin, Anneke. There are moments of beauty, moments of sadness, moments of horror and many moments of suspense, and I found myself reluctant to put this book down.

  • Christine
    2018-12-07 03:27

    I read this book really quickly and I enjoyed it the whole time. I have read a lot of books about the holocaust (and I even took a Holocaust & Genocide Studies class) but never knew about the Lebensborn. It was really interesting. Cyrla's character is well-developed and you really feel for her. At times the plot was a bit soap opera like, but I didn't really mind it because the book held my attention really well and I was emotionally invested in the story. The love scenes were kinda intense in a romance novel type of way.

  • Renee
    2018-12-14 07:15

    What a great, quick read. I found it very interesting – I learned about something of which I had little knowledge. It felt like this was a real survivor’s account and not fiction. A worthwhile read.

  • Amber
    2018-12-12 09:24

    The Nazi Lebensborn program-that's one area I haven't found much to read outside of non-fiction. So I was intrigued, to say the least, about this book. I need to stop getting my hopes up, and just go into reading a book with zero expectations.It started out great-a Polish Jew hiding in the household of an unstable Uncle in Holland. Cousin finds herself pregnant by a Nazi Officer and quickly commits suicide. Interesting so far! And then little things here and there made me wonder if I had somehow been transported to another ridiculous teen angst love triangle YA novel. The main character, Cyrla, is a Poet, which means she feels so, so, so much more and deeply than you or I. She's also incredibly selfish and uses her powerful feelings to control other people, which is just way too much high school drama.It's the I am going to make remembering my awfully bratty cousin my sole mission in life, and I will be as annoyingly rude to anyone who cant see that I just feel deeply about this!She forces someone to get her pregnant, who has explained for years why he doesn't want any emotional attachment to anyone or thing. But hey, I feel deeply over here, so give me a baby!She gets herself pregnant with a Jewish child, takes on another identity to join the Lebensborn, and then sort of flits around, not really worrying about what will happen when a seriously dark baby is born to a hospital that only prizes blonde babies. When she is presented with 3 alternatives to help her, she refuses all but the most childish escape. These poets, they need to make a scene!!She acts like a spoiled child who needs to be angry at anyone who remotely tries to help her. Karl, her dead cousins ex boyfriend, keeps her secret when he discovers her posing as Anneke in the Lebensborn, and even tries to help her. But no, Cyrla just needs to be angry, and try to piss off the one person who can either save her or destroy her. Like wildly, ridiculously, let the girl suffer the consequences of her stupidity already! Her angry reactions really don't make since for the plot and the characters, unless the author needed to tell us she was really hurt and angry-oh, wait, that's all she's been telling us!! Or, the author thought we just really, REALLY need to wonder if the two lovers will ever reconcile their differences and find true love.As a way to prove he is sorry Anneke killed herself, Karl creates a makeshift funeral to help Cyrla get some closure and say goodbye. He goes to place roses on her grave, but she is angered that rose thorns might go in that fake grave. This is typical emotional nonsense from Cyrla: '"No". I picked them up. One by one, I plucked the petals off and dropped them over the fresh dirt. They fell like slices of my heart. This should hurt more, I thought.' Why, honestly, why? Because she feels so, so, so much! She's a poet, dontchaknow?Here's another what the what moment: When Cyrla finds out Anneke had dated her crush secretly, she feels no betrayal or anger, no Anneke-you selfish cow! just, oh, Anneke, I hope you're happy now. But Cryla needs to endlessly atone for what...finding her dead cousin's ex boyfriend attractive? Just so ridiculous and contrived. Guess I'll go back to the history books and wikipedia for more info on the Lebensborn.

  • Sarah
    2018-12-07 04:09

    3.5 StarsThe story for My Enemy's Cradle was very intriguing. I've never read a novel that centered on the Lebensborn program until now. And to have Jewish girl hiding in that setting?!?! Definitely a unique story. Once Cyrla got into the center, I was on pins and needles working my way through the novel. I desperately wanted to know how, or even if, she survived the ordeal and what ever happened to her baby. The actual story was the strongest part of this novel. It sucks you in, all the way through to the end.Now the characters? That's another story.... Pretty much most of them, I could live without. I thought Anneke was a flighty bit of fluff. Isaak was a cold SOB I wouldn't have put up with nearly the amount that Cyrla did. And Cyrla? Wwwweeelllll..... Her characterization pre-Lebensborn I found pretty awful. She's so hung up on her "love" for Isaak that almost nothing else registers. I found myself wishing for more depth something awful.Yet, once she got into the Lebensborn program and was really on her own, I think her characterization improved over all. Besides burning hot and cold on Karl and making me want to smack her more than once, I found her to be far more "with the program" and have more depth of character. Being isolated in such surroundings, I think, helped her to find herself. She became smarter, more focused, and more aware of her environment, with all its inherent dangers. The whole love story between Karl and Cyrla I actually found pretty sweet. It came with some heavy baggage, but in the end, they overcame it all to achieve a happy ending, post-war. I actually liked how realistically it was portrayed. The heavy guilt of their combined history, their backgrounds, and the hostile environment they were in provided obstacles they were able to overcome, strengthening their relationship in my eyes. It made the romance all the sweeter. Overall, I found this book enjoyable. It had a captivating and unique story to tell and a sweet romance to divulge. Characterization was hit or miss, but at least the main character found herself for most of the book. I'd definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Holocaust fiction or fiction set in the domestic world of WWII. I'd recommend it if only for the portrayal of the Lebensborn world; I don't know of another novel that portrays it.

  • Jill
    2018-11-13 05:09

    An enjoyable read that pulled you in and kept you reading. The lightness of the book belies the heaviness of the reality that the story was set in, the horrific Nazi regime in Germany and neighbouring, occupied countries during WWII. In this case, Holland.Cyrla, our protagonist, is young. 19 in years but possibly younger emotionally. She's an immature and naïve woman living in terrifying and dangerous times, and she's ill-equipped to both deal with the situations she finds herself in or to smarten up to see clearly the danger she's in and react accordingly. And it's this immaturity and lack of street smarts that lands her in one scrape after another, making poor choice after poor choice, compounding her situation until she is literally running for her life, 9 months pregnant, through occupied lands. What a mess! And all so avoidable if only better choices had been made along the way. We were never brought face to face with the true horror of this time in history. This is what makes this book such an easy, light read. It's set in one of the most grotesque times in history but we aren't really confronted with those horrors so eloquently and confrontingly portrayed in other stories set in this same timeframe. Which makes it an easy read, but not necessarily an accurate one. But this is fiction after all. This is more a love story and a coming of age story, which just happens to have as its setting the Lebensborn, the German "breeding program" established to repopulate the German population after their crushing loss of citizenry in WWI. I guess the Germans were either counting on a VERY long war in WWII or another war in 18 or so years, if they were breeding new soldiers in 1941. This book will not strain too much of your mind or your emotions, but it does march along at a very smart pace and keeps you interested. Even if that is just to see what other bad decisions will be made leading to even more avoidable misery.

  • Aviva
    2018-12-10 10:35

    My Enemy's Cradle chronicles the Nazi Lebensborn Project or, at least gives a fictional account of a girl who uses it for protection. Cyrla is half-Jewish and living with her Gentile relatives in Holland during the occupation. When her cousin (who could be her twin) turns up pregnant, she's referred to a facility for girls carrying German babies. Tragedy ensues and Anneke dies, leaving Cyrla with a decision. Things are getting seriously bad in Holland for Jews and it's becoming more and more dangerous for her family to hide her. So she goes in Anneke's place.What follows is a tense but strange kindof novel. Cyrla is hiding in plain site and the tension of being surrounded by the very people she should be avoiding is translated very well. When the father of Anneke's child shows up, it seems like Cyrla's life is going straight to fuck and fast.The story is quick and really compelling. There's a ton of petty drama, of the kind that you'd expect when you're surrounded by dozens of hormonal, pregnant women and a group of staffers who are all about the rules. Meanwhile, we're afforded a rare glimpse inside a part of a regime that doesn't get a lot of attention.I will say that the ending seemed a little too easy, the way the various love stories were explained away didn't sit well with me, things were a little too neatly wrapped. Also, we get the same problem here that I had with The Kommandant's Girl. Isn't it lucky that main characters in the throes of uniform!porn manage to find the one guy in the entire regime who either isn't really a bad person or is adamantly opposed to the regime? I'm being a little harsh. Thing is, it's very difficult to reconcile having your main character have serious feelings for a guy who's essentially supposed to encompass everything that's bad and evil in this world. I sorta wish somebody would try, because frankly, not every single person to ever fall in love has managed to fall for a shining pillar of virtue. I'm just sayin'.

  • Stephanie Anze
    2018-12-03 09:14

    Nineteen-year-old Cyrla is half Dutch and half Jewish, sent to live with her mother´s relatives five years prior for safekeeping in Holland. When her cousin Anneke becomes pregnant by a German soldier, her father (Cyrla´s uncle) decides to send Anneke to a Lebensborn home for girls carrying German babies. However, tragedy strikes and worse, someone knows Cyrla´s secret. Now Cyrla must make a tough choice: attempt to escape or take Anneke´s place in the maternity home (Anneke and Cyrla look almost identical) and hide in plain sight.Having read a number of books that deal with WWII, it is refreshing to find one that exposes a different aspect of the war. The Nazi Lebensborn Program was established after WWI, when the population of Germany was in decline. In order to re-populate, the German government encouraged girls as young as fifteen to become pregnant by a soldier or other member of the regime. Other women, whose races were deemed fit to carry on the "aryan" race, also went to these homes, when they unexpectadly became pregnant by a German. These babies, sadly, were war commodities. Initially, the story was a bit bland, slow to catch my interest. However, the more I read, the more intrigued I became by Cyrla´s precarious situation. I love the concept behind this novel and also Cyrla as the protagonist. Though fearful at first, she receives help from the person Cyrla lest expected. The narrative had me hooked, it is an appealing story. While I agree that some parts are wrapped up a bit too neat, the story also had plenty of hope and heart amidst all the tragedy and despair. All and all, it was a memorable and good novel.

  • Alisa
    2018-11-20 03:26

    I would like to give this book 3.5 stars. I did really enjoy reading it but there were just a few thinks that seemed a little “too” out there as far as coincidences to me in the storyline. I do like historical fiction a lot, so I had no prior knowledge of the Lebensborn (the German “baby station” of women that turned their babies over to Germany to be future soldiers). Since I am not familiar with these, parts of this were hard to read in the things that the women went through or had to go through to survive being Jewish, or if they were with child. I can’t believe that Cyrla was so desperate to be safe (although, in looking back, I would probably do the same thing) that she got herself pregnant with Isaak only to be sent to a Lebensborn. I especially liked the character of Sister Ilse and found it so hard to think that she had to “turn away” at some things to survive. It made me wonder what I would ignore or turn away to survive. I thought it a little too ironic that Annika (Cyrla’s cousin that basically committed suicide with causing her own miscarriage with Karl) had been with Isaak (the man Cyrla had loved) before, and then by the end of the book, Cyrla was in love with Karl, whom Annika had been in love with. The love story aspect was just a little too much for me in some parts. But, I was touched at the end when Karl did all he could to help get Cyrla to safety when people found out she was Jewish in the Lebensborn, and near the end, I ironically would have liked the ending more had Karl died in getting Cyrla to her freedom. Overall good book though. I may look into reading more of this author.

  • Melissa Bennett
    2018-11-20 03:17

    I have read a lot of books on the Holocaust. So far I have enjoyed every one of them. Some more than others. This book is not on that list. I couldn't even finish it and I almost never leave a book unfinished! My complaint was the way it was written. I felt it was very "child-like". The main character, Cyrla, when I started reading this book seemed like she was around 12 years old. Turns out she is nineteen. Yet she had a very childish mind. To be a 19 year old whose mother had died and whose father has sent her away to live with other relatives in the midst of war makes a child grow up very quickly. This was not the sense that I received from reading this book. I wanted to like her and the other characters but there was nothing there to pull me to them. The only reason I stuck with this book as long as I did was the story behind it. The Lebonsborn Project is a horrifying account that took place between 1935-1945. It is not a subject that I have been able to find a lot of books on. So with this book (even with it being fictitious)I was so eager to read it. I tried to stick with it, even flipping near the end of the book to see if it got better but to no avail. I would have to say to pass this one up or at least glance through it at a bookstore and see if you can handle the writing style before you purchase it.

  • Kayleigh
    2018-12-05 08:32

    I just thought this was beautiful. I am utterly in love with the way Sara Young wrote this. In terms of style, this was frequently poetic and delicate and just so lovely to read. I was honestly inspired by the descriptive writing in this book and I found it very easy to really see and feel what Cyrla saw and felt due to the eloquence and clarity with which she 'spoke'. I found myself reading certain paragraphs and actually having to stop for a minute to contemplate just how gorgeous what I had just read actually was in terms of language and style. I was hooked from the very beginning. I knew nothing about the Lebensborn aspect of the period in history depicted in this novel and I love to be educated through fiction so that was also something I really enjoyed about this book. What a desperately sad reality explored here, what a tragedy that these things actually happened...that babies were taken from their mothers and never, ever reunited with them. The very idea of that is heartbreaking beyond words but Sara Young took that terrible history and told these women's stories respectfully and with great depth of emotion.I would have really enjoyed a deeper insight in to Cyrla's relationship and feelings toward her child at the end but that is really my only complaint.Just beautiful.

  • Hilary
    2018-12-14 07:24

    Beautifully written, this story of Cyrla and Anneke covers not only the choices they make but also how actions - particularly within war - are often layered with emotion, decisions, moral choices, and conflicting loyalties. Which is more important: to be half-Dutch or half-Jewish, to serve your country or to follow your dreams, to be a niece or a cousin, to be a friend or a lover, to be an advocate or a father, to be a mother or a wife? It's never clearcut, and although one character might perceive himself (or herself) as a coward, he (or she) might be regarded as courageous or even heroic by others, and still other decisions might be considered commonplace. Although Cyrla does experience the fear of the ghettos and the camps, and the sorrow and guilt associated with her freedom, this is not a story of the Holocaust, nor is it a story of military strategy. The moral quaqmire of the Lebensborn and those people who cared for the pregnant girls and the babies is something rarely touched upon elsewhere, and the Nazi plan to repopulate their empire - sadly depleted of good German men after WWI - with babies conceived or stolen in this way should not be forgotten, nor should the callous abandonment or "cleansing" of those deemed unworthy.