Cover Image: Cradles of the Reich

Cradles of the Reich

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Member Reviews

I enjoying this story focusing on three women in the Lebensborn Society, a place where Aryan women give birth to populate Nazi Germany. I was captivated by each woman's story and what would become of them as the war continued.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

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This was a great historical fiction read. I was a little hesitant to read this one because WWII novels are a bit overdone, but this angle with the Nazi homes for expectant mothers was a storyline that I have not seen as much. My only complaint would have to be the character of Hilde (not because I disagree with her views). She was just overall annoying. She is the complete embodiment of a "pick me" girl.

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4.5 out of 5 Stars

A captivating, must read novel taking readers straight into the halls of one of Germany’s secret societies during WWII.

One of the ideologies of Nazi Germany was to create a master race. A perfect specimen of a human being, blonde, hair blue eyes with proven German blood flowing through their veins. Another ideology was that women should devote themselves to motherhood and provide the Fuhrer with as many children as possible. Jennifer Coburn takes us deep into the halls of the Lebensborn Society. These maternity homes were established to give a young mother a place to spend their pregnancies, educate them on motherhood and their role in the Reich. Often these babies would be taken from these girls and adopted into an officers home. Coburn does an excellent job of bringing to life three different type of women whose paths cross in one of these homes.

First there is Gundi, who according to doctors is a perfect aryan specimen and she just happens to be pregnant with a Jewish man’s baby. She had been involved with the resistance and despite her placement, did not believe in creating a master race or the Nazi propaganda. Then there is Hilde who believes in everything the Nazi’s stand for. She is thrilled to be carrying the illegitimate child of a high ranking Nazi official. She’s arrogant and committed to the cause. Finally there’s Nurse Irma who is extremely conflicted. She wants to help these girls but isn’t quite sure that what is being done is right.

I gave this 4.5 out of 5 because I felt that Hilde’s story was kind of open ended and I wanted to know what happened to her. I didn’t get the closure I got with the other two characters. I was familiar with the Lebensborn Society thanks to a show I accidentally caught on the History Channel. It was both fascinating and cruel. I felt the author captured this quite well. Please be sure to read the authors notes and you’ll see the great amount of research that went into bringing this story to life. One thing i completely agree with Ms Coburn on is that historical fiction is so fun to read because it gives you a look at history “through the initiate lens of personal relationships”.

Thank you to NetGalley, Sourcebooks Landmark and Jennifer Coburn for granting me access to this important book on one of the hidden secrets of WWII

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Cradles of the Reich by Jennifer Coburn is an excellent WWII-era historical fiction that takes us into the dark recesses of a lesser-known program implemented by the Nazis. Just fascinating.

This takes place within Germany, and the This book sheds light on a subject that I knew minimal about: the Lebensborn Society maternity homes and program. I knew vaguely of German “breeding” programs, but I did not know about this established program. The Nazi government established multiple sites within multiple countries, and the author presents the true location of Heim Hochland in Bavaria as the backdrop for this novel.

She does an excellent job weaving a tale among three different women in different mentalities, places in life, and beliefs. It was fascinating to read this story through the alternating views of Hilde, Irma, and Gunti. It was unique, addictive, gripping, and though sad, had a positive ending for the majority of the characters themselves.

I also appreciate the Author’s note at the end which gave us her own history, research, passion, family, and what was fact vs fiction.


5/5 stars

Thank you NG and Sourcebooks Landmark for this wonderful arc and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion.

I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication on 10/11/22.

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I loved this book! I couldn’t it down. I thought it was interesting that not all of the main characters were likable. Gundi was a strong and sympathetic heroine. I enjoyed the arc of Irma’s story as she evolved to become a completely different person. I do wish that I had found out what happened to Hilde. Other than that, it was great.

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This historical fiction novel follows 3 women who become involved with the Lebensborn Society maternity homes, which are basically part of a breeding program for the aryan race. I had never heard of the Lebensborn Society and found it very interesting. I also really enjoyed all 3 of the main characters and each of their unique views; Gundi the rebel, Hilde the true believer, and Irma somewhere in between. Despite being horrified that this actually took place it was fascinating to see how far people were willing to go in the name of the “New Germany”. I really enjoyed this book, it was well written and well researched. I would definitely recommend this to historical fiction fans.

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Historical fiction is one of my fave genre and this novel, Cradles of the Reich by Jennifer Coburn, didn’t disappoint. The author has humanized the characters’ quirky personalities and relationships; thus making the novel easy to read and follow. I know many would say this book is simply another historical fiction with similar content compared to others; however, the fact that the novel stayed within the detailed context of the characters instead of the situation which made this one different to other novels. It’s a must read!

Thank you Jennifer Coburn Netgalley SourceBooks for this gifted #ARCbook #ebook in exchange for my honest review.

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Three women become part of the real life Nazi breeding home, Heim Hochland. Gundi is the perfect Aryan mother to be, except she is secretly part of the resistance. Hilde is a true believer and proud to be carrying the child of a married SS officer. Forty-four year old nurse, Irma, takes a position to restart her life after disappointment.

A World War 2 story has to be pretty unique for me to read it these days, and this one was. I loved the three different women and their very different experiences. I didn’t find Irma’s quite as interesting but I liked her story’s ending. Speaking of endings, I liked how the ending was sad but also hopeful, for all three women. There were a few questions I wished were answered, but I think the non answers are reminiscent of the times and fit well.

“The Nazis were stealing from the Jews; they were robbing German girls of their innocence. She wasn’t even able to hide behind the word they; she was part of it.”

Cradles of the Reich comes out 10/11.

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Many thanks to the author herself for giving me access to an ARC through NetGalley!

Cradles of the Reich follow three German woman who have different views of Nazi Germany and find themselves at Lesborne home where perfect German babies are born and bred. We follow the perspectives of Gundi, Irma, and Hilde as they navigate their time at the home and try to learn how to survive in the ever changing Nazi Germany.

What I loved about this novel were the different perspectives and the journey each take. It is clear that the author has done so much research and does a good job educating the reader about something that isn’t taught but is important to know happened.

There are moments where it’s hard to like these characters and their opinions but it’s important to know that many people were brain washed to believe what was happening in Germany was the right thing. The author does a great job with that and having the reader understand the motives of these characters.

I can’t wait for this book to hit the shelves because I truly believe it will be a great addition to the historical fiction genre!

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Three women, a nation seduced by a madman, and the Nazi breeding program to create a so-called master race

At Heim Hochland, a Nazi breeding home in Bavaria, three women's fates are irrevocably intertwined. Gundi is a pregnant university student from Berlin. An Aryan beauty, she's secretly a member of a resistance group. Hilde, only eighteen, is a true believer in the cause and is thrilled to carry a Nazi official's child. And Irma, a 44-year-old nurse, is desperate to build a new life for herself after personal devastation. All three have everything to lose.

Based on untold historical events, this novel brings us intimately inside the Lebensborn Society maternity homes that actually existed in several countries during World War II, where thousands of "racially fit" babies were bred and taken from their mothers to be raised as part of the new Germany. But it proves that in a dark period of history, the connections women forge can carry us through, even driving us to heroism we didn't know we had within us.

Review to come closer to my tour stop

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Cradles Of The Reich
Today I finished the novel “Cradles Of The Reich,” by Jennifer Coburn. The novel is about a lesser known but dark topic of World War II Women in Germany would have sex with SS Officers to have children to populate Hitlers “master race” and once these babies are born they are never seen again. Lebensborn also kidnapped babies from mothers in occupied territories to be raised by German families. I recently did a Q&A with Jennifer Coburn about the novel which you can read through the link here . The novel comes out on October 11th I was lucky enough to get an early copy from Netgalley.

My favorite characters were Gundi and Irma. Gundi is secretly part of the resistance in Germany. Irma wants to keep her head down and start a new life, but suddenly starts to grow a conscience as the story goes on. Gundie’s story had me on edge. Gundi is carrying a dangerous secret; the father of her unborn baby is Jewish. Hilde was sadly an indoctrinated college student who believes in Hitlers cause. Part of me wanted to slap some sense into Hilde and the other part of me felt somewhat bad for her because you knew she was far too gone into believing the madness. I like how Jennifer wrote Hilde without excusing her actions.

There was nothing I disliked. I only wished it was longer I wanted an epilogue of what happened to the characters after the war.

Overall I enjoyed the novel very much. I hope more history and historical fiction novelists get on board and write about lesser known parts of history that need to be told. It becomes dangerous once we forget the past. When we forget the past we are doomed to repeat it.

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