Cover Image: Cradles of the Reich

Cradles of the Reich

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Member Reviews

This is the story of three women with different backgrounds and mindsets. They meet at a maternity home in Bavaria with dramatic consequences that will have you at the edge of your seat!

GUNDI is pregnant. She appears to be the ideal German mother-to-be and she is a perfect candidate for one of the maternity homes. Secretly, she is part of the resistance movement.

HILDE believes wholeheartedly in the Nazi regime. She is the mistress of a top official and she is pleased to be expecting his child.

IRMA is a nurse in the maternity home. She needs to come to terms with her past and forge a new life.

I read this absorbing story in just over a day! It takes place during a traumatic time in history, where I have never been able to understand how so many people could behave the way they did. The author does a beautiful job developing each character so the reader understands the mindset that propels the character’s actions. I ended up liking Gundi and Irma. Hilde was a little more difficult to like, but she did have her vulnerabilities.

The story unfolds in alternating chapters that focus on each woman, and builds to an exciting climax. The author’s note gives information about her research and the thought processes that went into forming each character as well as the plot.

I have to say this is one of the most well-written, interesting, and unique stories I have read about this time period. Historical fiction lovers, don’t miss this one!

Thank you @jennifercoburnbooks & @suzyapprovedbooktours for my copy of the book. My thoughts are my own.

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Cradles of the Reich by Jennifer Coburn tells a story about a subject I didn't know anything about. Unwed mothers with the right "look" were sent away to have their babies and then give them up to German families to help create their perfect race. Young women, not pregnant, also lived there for the pleasure of the German soldiers who would visit. What a heartbreaking, disturbing time in history this was. I really learned a lot reading this. Highly recommend!

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For fans of WWII fiction, Cradles of the Reich is equally disturbing & unputdownable. Reminiscent of the Handmaids Tale, it will leave you thinking about it long after you finish.

When this one began floating around, I knew this would be something I would be reading as soon as I could. The cover is strikingly beautiful & I’m always fascinated & humbled by stories of WWII resilience & strength. This, however, tells a different tale. It’s incredibly unique & based off of a REAL LIFE secret Nazi breeding program called the Lebensborn Society that existed in several countries beginning in 1935.

Jennifer did her research (authors note is a must) & captivates the reader with her descriptive/beautiful writing style while navigating the journey of three different perspectives at a Nazi breeding home called Heim Hockland. Gundi, Hilde & Irma, all different in their standings with the Reich & all facing different problems, weave together a story that is unlike anything I’ve read before.

Coming out OCTOBER 11th ✨ If you’re someone who loves WWII historical fiction, I think you’d really love this one!

Thank you so much to @jennifercoburnbooks and @bookmarked for my gifted copy! Also to netgalley for my e-copy!

4.5 rounded up to 5!

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This story follows three women during WWII and how they each find themselves at Heim Hochland despite having such different backgrounds. Part of the Lebensborn Society, Heim Hochland is a maternity home for pregnant Germans to deliver and breed a "master-race." Hilde, a teenager obsessed with status, grows up supportive of the Nazi agenda and is delighted to learn she is pregnant with a high-ranking official. Gundi, an Aryan beauty and the poster-child for German mothers, is secretly pregnant with a Jew and is terrified of what may happen if the baby is born with Jewish traits. Finally, Irma, a middle-aged nurse, looked the other way to the persecution of Jews until arriving at Heim Hochland where she now finds herself complicit in the happenings of the home.

Jennifer Coburn does a fantastic job developing this story and exposing the lesser known world of the Lebensborn Society. It is heartbreaking and unimaginable to learn this was a reality. I really enjoyed the character development, even though not all characters are lovable. The peeks into their pasts give you an understanding as to why they are the way they are. Because of this investment in the characters, I wished there had been an epilogue. The end of this book seems to drop a couple of the characters when I didn't feel their story was finished. Overall, this was a fascinating read.

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Thank you Jennifer Coburn and Netgalley for this gifted e-ARC.
Cradles of the Reich was such an interesting, disturbing and moving read. I didn't know anything about The Lebensborn Society before reading this book, but Jennifer has highlighted an horrific programme aimed at young women initiated by the Nazi regime.
We follow 3 young women living in Germany under Nazi control, whose experiences and beliefs are all very different. Despite these different beliefs, all 3 women end up in Heim Hochland, a Nazi breeding home and we follow each of their stories alternating throughout the book.
Gundi was my favourite character and I would love to read a spin off about her life. Secretly part of the resistance, on the outside she seems like the perfect Aryan mother to be. Nurse Irma takes up the offer of a position at Heim Hochland thinking she will be helping young women during their pregnancies and during early motherhood. Finally, Hilde believes all the propaganda produced by the Nazi regime and is overwhelmed with happiness when she finds out she is pregnant with a married SS officer's baby.
I flew through this book in about 3 days and I would definitely recommend for lovers of historical fiction.

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This historical fiction book that’s based on a real program in Nazi Germany is one of my top reads so far this year.

This book tells of Heim Hochland which was one of the places that delivered babies that were perfect specimens of what Hitler wanted in the Fatherland. They completed this by hosting unwed mothers and then mostly adopting out their babies to chosen German parents. This place also had a group of young women who strictly “entertained” Nazi soldiers.

This piece of history in itself is fascinating but Jennifer provides us with three very different yet unforgettable characters that are all at Heim Hochland.

Gundi is a perfect specimen for the Reich and even though everyone assumes her baby’s father is a Nazi soldier, that is not the case.

Hilde is dedicated to the Reich and has come to Heim Hochland after getting pregnant from an affair with a high ranking member of the Nazi Party.

Irma is a widowed nurse with no children that becomes attached to many of the new mothers.

Each of these woman have the most fascinating stories that make this historical fiction book an incredible page turner.

The book also describes the depth of hatred for the Jews with atmospheric writing that creates an authentic mood for the time period.

For all those that love historical fiction, WWII fiction, strong females characters, and a book based on a real place, this will be one you won’t want to miss.

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Gundi is a normal Germany pregnant young woman. Because government saw her as perfect specimen to support Hitler's program to create superior Aryan race, they move her to special maternity homes. At there she met another women and found out this breed program.

First of all I wasn't aware about this story as part WWII history. And for that I thanked the author because she doing her research and share this dark stories with us. The writing style is gripping and switched between 3 main characters we can see this program from different perspective. The ending feel rush and too good to be true. I still found this book have solid plot and would love to recommend it to friends who love HF.

Thank you for Netgalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for let me read this copy. I am grateful and my thoughts are my own. Cradles of the Reich will publish at 11 October 2022

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My historical fiction fans...put this one on your tbr. I know it doesn't come out until October but get in line. This was a unique story based in WWII, and I've never read one around this situation. Jennifer Coburn so clearly researched this, and I feel like I learned so much! The characters are wonderful, and the story is hard to put down! This one is a must-read!

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This book offers a unique look into a little known chapter of Hitler's master plan to spread antisemitism, promote Aryan supremacy, and to create a master human race. The author leads the reader to accompany three German women into the Lebensborn Society during 1939, where special large dormitories and maternity homes have been created throughout Germany and elsewhere to care for unwed pregnant women and to breed "racially desirable" children. Hilde is a young girl who is eager to contribute and be recognized in Hitler's grand plan and Gundi is a pregnant young woman who outwardly seems to be the perfect example for Germany's future but is carrying a dangerous secret, while Irma is a nurse who is questioning her role in the Lebensborn place where she works. Each woman faces difficult choices and must make decisions that will have life altering consequences for themselves and others.

I have only seen this topic covered in one other novel and it should be well received by historical fiction fans. However, though it was very interesting, I felt that the characters lacked depth and I never became fully engaged in the storyline.

My sincere thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for giving me the opportunity to read a digital ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. Upcoming publication date: October 11, 2022.

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Cradles of the Reich covers a dark period of history; Adolf Hitler’s scheme to generate racially pure infants. Told in alternating voices of three German women, we learn the history of the Nazi breeding program through their very different points of view. A seemingly perfect young German mother to be, except she is secretly part of the resistance; a believer of Hitler’s movement and proud to be pregnant by a married SS officer; and a nurse restarting her life. I liked that the three women had very different views and experiences during the Third Reich. Interesting read since I was not aware of this part of WWII history. A gripping storyline and impressive research. Well done!

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I really enjoyed the book but I feel like the book ended without wrapping up anyones stories. It just simply ended. The book had a really good flow. I definitely enjoyed each of the main characters stories and thought they were well put together.

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Big thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

When I first read the description of this book I knew I had to read it. I’ve read a lot of WWII historical fiction, but have never heard of the Nazi breeding program or Heim Hochland. This book was so well researched and was happy to learn at the end that most of the details of this story are completely true (besides the fictionalized characters). Thank you to author for telling this story that many of us are not aware of. I highly recommend this book.

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Cradles of the Reich is a historical fiction novel that speaks of the less known Nazi breeding program that promoted Hitler’s plan for a superior Arian Race. While Hitler was eradicating the Jewish population he was also pushing for young attractive German teens and women to become pregnant with children fathered by German officers. He also encouraged desired German mothers to have four or more children. The Lebensborn Society was the name of this secret Nazi program that is featured in this novel.
Three German women, one nurse and two pregnant young women, are the main characters in this story. Each women has a very different allegiance to the Nazi program.
Since I am a fan of WWII historical fiction, I learned quite a bit about this secret plan to “better” the German race. The story held my interest and the suspense at the end was a plus. The author did a lot of research and most events are based on true occurrences that happened during this horrific time in WWII history.

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This tale about a breeding house designed to produce "racially pure" infants for adoption, and train young German women to be perfect mothers during WWII in Hitler's Germany is basd upon fact.These houses were part of the creation of a Masterrace. They were the flip side of the extermination of the " undesirables" of Europe: Gypsies, the disabled, homosexuals, Communists, other political enemies of the Nazis as well as the Final Solution that killed six million Jews. German women with the right appearance of light eyes, skin and hair and the correct facial features were heavily encouraged to have as many children as possible. The viewpoint and experiences of three women who were present at the house for different purposes is expressed here in readable, interesting if heavy- handed terms.

This unpalatable topic is handled in a tasteful fashion that is sympathetic to the women involved but not the architects of what would have been a very different world if the Allied had lost WWII.

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Cradles of the Reich follows three women into a Lebensborn home called Heim Hochland in Nazi Germany. Like the author, I hadn’t heard much about the Lebensborn program other than a reference to it in the Netflix series “The Man in the High Castle” and an occasional allusion to it in non-fiction. The program housed unwed pregnant women whose racial profile the Nazis deemed “desirable,” placing their children with party officials after birth. Other young women also lived at the homes as “mothers-in-training,” and many claimed after the war that they were used as sexual partners by Nazi officers. The reader meets Hilde and Gundi, two young women raised under Nazi ideology who arrive as expectant mothers under very different circumstances. Irma, the third main character, is a middle-aged woman with nursing experience trying to escape the fallout of a disappointing love affair when the director of the home recruits her.
Likes: Coburn did a ton of research, and it shows the details, such as the two baths a day dictated by the Nazi program for infants and the uniforms embroidered with the SS logo worn by the young women ostensibly being "trained” as future mothers. Coburn shines detailing how life for women in Nazi Germany, even so-called Aryan women, was constrained.
Dislikes: I did not connect with the characters as much as I would have liked. In my opinion, Hilde, Irma, and Gundi remained very one-dimensional. Coburn states in her author’s note that she wanted avatars of a German resistor, a German who embraced Nazi ideology, and someone in between; the characters’ stories seemed stuck in these archetypes. I didn’t feel that two of the three characters had learned or grown much over the course of the book. The ending, which involves a “deus ex machina” style turn in the plot, also seemed a bit too fairytale for me, especially for a book about the Third Reich.
FYI: sexual assault, racism, anti-Semitism, Nazi ideology, misogyny, violence.

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This book focuses on three very different women and how they came to be involved in the Lebensborn Society and their different outlooks upon it.
There is Gundi, involved in the resistance, pregnant by a Jewish man, but since Gundi is the perfect example of a pure Aryan, blond, blue eyed, she is forced against her will to Heim Hochland, a breeding home for good Aryan women. Gundi needs to find a way out before she gives birth and it is discovered her baby does not have an Aryan father.
Then there is Hilde a party fanatic who will go to any extremes to advance in the p[arty. Hilde becomes pregnant to a married high ranking Nazi and is sent tothe house to have her baby.
Last there is Irma, a world-weary WWI nurse who comes to work at the house looking for a new start in life but Irma quickly sees the dark side of the program, she finds her true calling helping the girls in the house.
This book is wonderfully researched and sheds light on another little known plan of Hitler
s regime. The amount of secret plans that the Nazis had and were kept from the general population is staggering. They had so much going on that people didn't know of but were expected to blindly follow and they did is unbelievable. This story is another heart-wrenching account as to the lengths Hitler was willing to go to obtain his master race.
iI recommend this for all historical fiction fans, the women's stories are touching and enlightening along with educating us about more cover Nazi atrocities.
Thank you to Sourcebooks Landmark and Net Galley for the free ARC, I am leaving my honest review in return.

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An interesting subject, but simply written, a little unbelievable. Too many coincedences and the characters weren't realistic.

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Lebensborn, the "fount of life"was an "SS initiated, state-supported, registered association in Nazi Germany with the goal or raising the birth rate of Aryan children of people classified as 'racially pure' and 'healthy' based on the Nazi racial hygiene and health ideology." In an attempt to cultivate and increase the master pure race, Himmler had "pure" Aryan girls become sex objects to SS officers to create more children, provided a home for Aryan unwed pregnant women, and captured German children from nearby countries for adoption purposes. If that doesn't whet your appetite for learning.....?
Based on these historical facts, Coburn has created a story that involved 3 different woman who might have succumbed to three different directions as they reacted to the increasing Nazi rhetoric and the advent of Kristallnacht. One "poster child" of Aryan features actually worked for the resistance and was pregnant with her Jewish lover's child. Another was a fierce loyalist to the cause whose goal was to get pregnant by a high ranking officer and another was a nurse whose feelings undergo a metamorphosis as she become sympathetic to the German resistance to Hitler's grand plan. Told in alternating voices, this heartbreaking and compelling story creates characters that are well defined and believable. Clearly the author has deeply researched the background information and it shows on every page. Intelligent, disconcerting, and moving, it is a book that fans of historical fiction should run to. It is a salad of all the best that historical fiction has to offer.

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This book....I'm emotionally destroyed!
If you enjoyed The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, then you will enjoy this one, as well. Coburn's research is phenomenal and her writing...I felt every single emotion while reading. I had no idea that government-sanctioned brothels were a real thing during WW2, but in the Author's Note, Coburn explains how she got the inspiration for the novel based on true events. If you're Jewish, I will say, it's a tough read. I am Jewish, and there were times when I felt physically ill thinking about this reality.
I have to applaud Coburn again on her writing. She wove the stories of three very different women together so beautifully and presented Hitler's Germany with such detail.
Hilde is a true Hitler girl, she believes in the Reich. A baby will save her or so she thinks.
Gundi is the perfect German girl, but she loves a Jew. All she can do is pray that her baby has blonde hair, pale skin, and blue eyes.
Irma feels conviction, but would rather blend in and hide. That's until she has to make a choice and pick a side.

This story is beautiful, painful, and important. Never forget. Never forget.

Cradles of the Reich releases on October 11, 2022!

Thank you Netgalley and SOURCEBOOKS Landmark for my eArc in exchange for an honest review.

will be posted on on 9/1/2022

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“Cradles of the Reich” by Jennifer Coburn is an amazing historical novel, I could not put it down! This book follows three German women in Nazi Germany who live at Lesborne home; a place where perfect German babies are bred. I loved the different perspectives that were given for each character and admire all of the research that went into writing this book. Thank you NetGalley and author for this ARC!

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