Saturday, June 19, 2010

My Enemy's Cradle - Sara Young


Cyrla's neighbors have begun to whisper. Her cousin, Anneke, is pregnant and has passed the rigorous exams for admission to the Lebensborn, a maternity home for girls carrying German babies. But Anneke's soldier has disappeared, and Lebensborn babies are only ever released to their father's custody -- or taken away.

A note is left under the mat. Someone knows that Cyrla, sent from Poland years before for safekeeping with her Dutch relatives, is Jewish. The Nazis are imposing more and more restrictions; she won't be safe there for long.

And then in the space of an afternoon, life falls apart. Cyrla must choose between certain discovery in her cousin's home and taking Anneke's place in the Lebensborn -- Cyrla and Anneke are nearly identical. If she takes refuge in the enemy's lair, can Cyrla fool the doctors, nurses, guards, and other mothers-to-be? Can she escape before they discover she is not who she claims?

Mining a lost piece of history, Sara Young takes us deep into the lives of women living in the worst of times. Part love story and part elegy for the terrible choices we must often make to survive, My Enemy's Cradle keens for what we lose in war and sings for the hope we sometimes find.


Cole's Review:

My mom handed me this book this morning, saying that I had to read it.  A book about Nazis in WWII Germany and Holland?!?!  Uh, no thanks mom.  But, I trust her and gave the book a shot. I really glad I did.  While this is a fiction, the issues covered in the book are very real.

Cyrla is a young woman who has lacked stability in life.  She was sent from her home in Poland to life with her aunt, uncle and cousin - Anneke in Holland when the Nazi regime starts encroaching.  Soon, Anneke announces her pregnancy with a Nazi soldier and her shamed father gets her into a German maternity home.  All hell breaks loose when a note announces that someone knows Cyrla is Jewish, Anneke dies unexpectedly, and the man Cyrla loves pushes her to flee.

Cyrla isn't pregnant.  Can she feasibly take the place of Anneke in the maternity home?  Will she ever see her family again?  Can she trust anyone with her secrets?  

I really enjoyed this book (obviously...I read it in under a day!) and think that anyone interested in historical fiction would too.

Grade: B 

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