Member Reviews

Different (and disturbing) take on this time in history. Character development was great. Love some, hate some.

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I had no idea about the Lebensborn Society that Hitler created, so this novel was a page turner. I would’ve liked a little more at the end. It was a good read!

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This is a book about three women with radical different reasons to be apart of this program. The nazis are trying to create a master race and these women are needed to help the cause. Each one has their own reasons and risks but will they support cause or fight it all the way?

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I really wanted to get into this book because it is about a subject I knew nothing about. However, there were many disturbing scenes that made me uncomfortable. Therefore, it was not my cup of tea.

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Thank you NetGalley and SOURCEBOOKS Landmark, Sourcebooks Landmark for accepting my request to read and review Cradles of the Reich.

Published: 10/11/22

One word: flabbergasted. I had for all intensive purposes given up on reading World War II fiction. The line between factually-driven historical fiction and a best selling fiction book had been breached. The subject matter that dominates a reasonable person with respect to WWII is concentration camps -- animal cruelty, inhumane living and death, as well as survival of one Jewish person savagely hurting another. Anne Frank reinvented -- she lived; I'm fighting vomiting in my mouth. I had read complaints and reviews that Anne Frank's Diary was 1-2 stars? People didn't see what the big deal was. Are you kidding me? Please, I can promise, you won't understand Renia's Diary: I choke up thinking about it -- don't bother. Then there are the glorifying Tattooists, etc. I just want to scream. Some topics are sacred.

A cover -- respectful with a calming color palate: Cradles of the Reich. I battled myself finally deciding the Germans needed homes for their children blah blah blah. Then I read the synopsis. Why didn't I see this coming? The Lebensborn Society maternity homes -- breeding camps. Jennifer Coburn has reiterated to me: never say never Mary. It took me a while to be in what I hoped was the right head space to finally pick it up for the last time. I tried a couple times over several months.

Tastefully written Coburn touches on an area that is not well known. There were homes with girls picked up to satisfy German soldiers while providing perfect babies as defined by Hitler. The angles she chose to share are disheartening. I appreciate the knowledge and the manner she presented another cruel chapter of World War II.

I'm giving this five stars. The historical importance is invaluable. These girls were chosen on hair, eye and skin color. They were picked up to breed, like puppy mills. These girls were not distracted with selfies or cell phones. They were going to school, etc.,and were aware that a war was pending. Today, sex traffickers pick up not for breeding but for entertainment, ages? toddlers through adults. Coburn gently told what happened in these houses to the babies and the girls.

Will the Coburn's of the future write the major role in aiding human traffickers was the cell phone or the self-centered user?

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A great WW2 novel that covers the dark history of the Reich. Here we learn about 3 women involved in different ways with a maternity house that is set up to breed perfect Aryan babies.

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Whew!!! I learned things about Nazi history that I still can't believe are true. it's insane that this all was going on and people were ok with it! This was a very interesting and at times very hard book to read. I kind of hope there is a sequel to it because I felt like it ended rather abruptly. I wanted further information on what happened next!

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During World War II, the Lebensborn Society bred thousands of "racially fit" babies for the Nazi regime. These babies were then torn from their mothers and raised to be part of Hitler's vision of the new Germany. This story follow three women, with vastly different pasts, as they carry their infants through pregnancy knowing what the ending result will be.

One woman is part of the resistance.
One woman fully believes in the movement and cannot wait to give to the cause.
One woman is trying to build a new life for herself and forget her past.

This book can be a hard one to read for some due to the time period this historical fiction novel take place in. I enjoy novels (both nonfiction and fiction) that discuss or take place in the World War II era. With the interweaving of these three stories, there are multiple POV's to consider while reading. I found this book's pace to be inconsistent. I enjoyed the story but I found myself losing interest as I went throughout the story. This feeling is disconnection was inconsistent throughout the story. It would pick up for me then drop off. I wouldn't call this book suspenseful despite its subject matter. I feel that it did bring a part of history to light that many do not know.

Most of the time I do not read author's notes on the books I read, but I am glad that i read this one. She provided more information and insight on the subject of these maternity houses ran by the Nazi's.

Thank you to Sourcebooks Landmark and NetGalley for this ARC.

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Great storytelling involving the Nazi war. I was emotionally moved by the oppression and cunning that took place at the time. This book is very much about the plight of women in the hands of the Nazis, which is quite alarming. I am amazed by the author who dared to raise the theme of this kind of story. In this book I also gained new knowledge about what the Lebensborn Society is.

A historical fiction that stirred my emotions while adding to my insight into the description of NAZI atrocities when this political organization was in power.

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Thank you, NetGalley, for an e-ARC of Cradles of the Reich by Jennifer Coburn.
A unique historical fiction novel that takes the reader into a Nazi breeding home during WWII. Told from the perspective of three women from varying backgrounds, Cradles of the Reich sheds light on how far the Nazi's went to solidify the Arayan race. I enjoyed learning new information about Germany under the leadership of Hitler.

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A Nazi breeding program Lebensborn Society was designed to create a master race. Only certain girls were invited to receive pampering, fine dining and exercise in exclusive homes. Their babies were then adopted by dedicated German families.
This book tells the story of three women at the Heim Hochland in Bavaria. Aryan beauty Gundi secretly served in the resistance before becoming pregnant by her Jewish boyfriend and being recruited for the Reich. Hilde is a dedicated high school student willing to do whatever she can for the cause, including carrying a married officer's child. Irma, a 44-year-old nurse, has already seen war and is determined to avoid it, but she faces the truth about the Nazi's actions and must decide if she'll intervene or continue to follow party lines.
This novel is based on historical events. I appreciated the author's notes at the end and was struck by how she wrote Hilde's character, a woman who would have annihilated the author's family. And talking to men who were dedicated to Hitler's cause was also brave.
The reading group guide can also help readers identify their prejudices and decide who they want to be in our world. We will always face challenges, such as demoralizing women or navigating spaces with folks who think differently. We must decide how to live in these spaces with integrity and truth.
This book flows well. While some of the content is difficult to read, it tells an important story. I look forward to reading more stories by this author.

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Engaging. The characters voices rang so true.
Many thanks to SOURCEBOOKS Landmark and to NetGalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.

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A historical fiction story that takes place during World War Two. Maternity Wards were set up by the Nazi’s to breed “racially fit” babies. We follow the fates of three women. Each of them committed to their causes. An emotionally charged plot, amazing writing, and fantastic characters make for a great story. A must read for historical fiction fans.

Disclaimer: Thank you NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for this copy and I am leaving a review voluntarily.

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Heim Hochland is a Nazi breeding home where young women are brought to have their Aryan babies. Gundi finds herself pregnant, unable to communicate with her baby's father, and alone at a Nazi maternity home, even though she is secretly part of the resistance. Hilde wants badly to have a Nazi baby to fulfill her role for the cause. Irma is a nurse looking to start over. These three women come together at Heim Hochland and each need to find their own way to survive the war.

I have read quite a bit of historical fiction and nonfiction about WWII and I have never read about the Nazi breeding homes. This book shed new horrifying light on the Nazi regime and how far they were willing to go to create an Aryan race. As a mother to two young kids, this book was hard to read at times, but I think it's a very important read for all. I wish more books covered this topic.

Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for the ARC of this book.

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As someone who has read a ton of WWII historical fiction, it was nice to read about a part of history I had never heard of. The idea of a “Nazi breeding program” doesn’t surprise me but still… WOW. This was a super interesting read.

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Thank you to netgalley for the arc in exchange for an honest review. I had never heard about these homes for unwed mothers in nazi germany. Or the second use of the home as a brothel of aryan women for nazi officers to pregnante for the nation.

I felt for the women in the story as they didn’t have control of their circumstance and the babies born if they weren’t perfect they would disappear.

What a fantastic well researched read!

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This book opened my eyes to the history of the Nazi breeding program to create a master Aryan race. This is not history that is talked about very often. I fact, I would wager it is mostly hidden history. We get viewpoints from different women who are in the program and the women who act as nurses in the maternity homes. The young girls were basically used s breeding stock for Nazi officers. We also learn details about Nazis murdering Polish parents and taking their babies to be raised as German. Very disturbing. The end is open-ended, leaving you wanting to know more.

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After reading this well written, absorbing novel, I can see all the research the author put into the book. The story is set in Germany in the late 1930’s as Hitler’s Reich takes over and the harsh treatment of Jews begins. In order to fulfill the Aryan ideal, the Lebensborn Society is created, housing pregnant mothers and young women trained to be mothers of Nazis, to create the pure race Hitler desired. Two pregnant girls, Gundi and Hilde, end up at Heim Hochland, in very different circumstances. Hilde is brainwashed by the Nazi propaganda, while Gundi is rebelling against the treatment of Jews. Nurse Irma is the third main character, a German beginning to question what is happening at the home. I was on the edge of my seat to read how the story ends. I highly recommend this novel, telling another important detail of that most horrible time. Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC.

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Thanks to NetGalley for a free e-reader copy of Cradles of the Reich by Jennifer Coburn in exchange for an honest review.

Cradles of the Reich is a fascinating and engagingly written account of a little-known piece of Nazi-era history: the Lebensborn program, through which Aryan-looking teenagers were either impregnated by Nazi officers or already pregnant teens were housed at beautiful country homes stolen and retrofitted for the purpose and encouraged and/or forced to give up their babies for adoption to Nazi officers and their wives. Told through the eyes of three protagonists - two young women and one nurse - the story traces the program and its chilling aspects, as well as the ubiquitous antisemitism and hyper-patriotism that allowed it to exist.

The end notes are also fascinating. I hope Coburn writes more historical fiction. Five stars.

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I was about halfway through this book before my access was revoked. What I did read was really interesting, and shed some light on something I was not already familiar with (also why I love Historical Fiction!). I will definitely be picking up a copy to know how this ends!

3 stars (probably more had I been able to finish it!)

Thank you so much for this ARC

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