Member Reviews

Loved this book! I am not normally a historical fiction reader so if an author can keep me engaged then I know its a good one. I love that she focused on an aspect of WWII that isnt usually talked about. I do feel like certain things weren't finished and can see this being a series.

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As a lover of historical fiction, especially this time period, I was excited to come across this story with its very different perspective. Cradles of the Reich focuses on the Lebensborn program which was a Nazi founded association devised to counteract the falling birth rates in Germany, and to promote Nazi eugenics. Lebensborn provided welfare to its mostly unmarried mothers and encouraged anonymous births by unmarried women, only to then take their babies away to be raised in proper German homes. The story is told from three different POVs, Gundi, an aryan college student and part of the resistance, who finds herself pregnant by her secret Jewish boyfriend, Hilde, an eighteen year old German girl who believes in the cause and is thrilled to be carrying the baby of a married German SS Officer, and Irma, a nurse who has suffered loss from the First World War and is devastated over her failed engagement. Three very different perspectives, Three women struggling in their own right, I enjoyed seeing the growth that occurred within each of them. The abrupt ending dropped a star from my rating. I would have liked to know more about the fate of all these women.

While I did enjoy learning more about this topic, as with many stories around this time period, it was a difficult read.

Thank you to NetGalley for the opportunity to read an advance reader copy of this story. It is my pleaser to leave an honest review. All opinions are my own.

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The thing I liked most about this book was the topic. I had never heard of the Lebensborn society before, and it was a really interesting, albeit disturbing, concept of history to learn about. The book itself was written really well - the plot flowed smoothly and at a good pace, and the syntax made it an easy and entertaining read. The characters themselves were written well, but my biggest complaint is that it didn’t need to be from three different women’s perspectives. Doing so makes you feel like everything needs to be wrapped up for all three nice and neat, and that was really only the case for 1 character (and only kind of for the other two.) If this book had been just in Gundi’s perspective with Irma and Hilde as supporting characters rather than giving them their own chapters, I think the ending would have felt much more satisfying.

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Another aspect of WWII. Babies are selected for their "purity". The effect is stunning on their families, and the world. Interesting read loosely based on fact.

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Good fast paced read. I couldn't get over this book and how it makes you think of what happened during this time.

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This book was very enjoyable and an easy read. The subject matter is one that is not heavily covered in WWII historical fiction so as an avid reader of this genre it was new and fresh. It is told from 3 story perspectives however one is covered more heavily than the other especially at the end. This made it feel somewhat unfinished to me.

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Ⓑⓞⓞⓚ Ⓡⓔⓥⓘⓔⓦ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

ℂ𝕣𝕒𝕕𝕝𝕖𝕤 𝕠𝕗 𝕥𝕙𝕖 ℝ𝕖𝕚𝕔𝕙
𝗝𝗲𝗻𝗻𝗶𝗳𝗲𝗿 𝗖𝗼𝗯𝘂𝗿𝗻
WWll Historical Fiction
320 Pages

Sʜᴏᴿᴛ Sʏɴᴏᴘsɪs

Cradles of the Reich is the story of homes set up by the Nazis for the purpose of breeding and birthing the perfect blond-haired, blue-eyed babies with an Aryan pedigree.This was called the Lebensborn Society and it was a well kept secret; a breeding ground for racially valuable babies.

Mʸ Tᴴᴼᵁᴳᴴᵀs

Yet another historical fiction book that taught me something new about WWll and the Holocaust. I am more and more appalled as I continue to learn the atrocities that happened to so many.

The author states that she didn’t think this was real when she heard about it, yet it was. So, she felt she needed to tell the story. Pregnant unmarried teenage girls were sent to these homes where they were treated like queens until the birth of their babies. After the babies were born, they could marry the father, or the baby would be adopted by top Reich officers and their wives. Heim Hockland was the name of the home in this story and the name of one of the actual homes.

Apprentice mothers also lived in these houses. They weren’t actually mothers in training; they were prostitutes for the higher up Reich officers. The sole purpose of this was to get the girls pregnant and produce babies with an Aryan pedigree for Reich officers to adopt, helping them populate the perfect citizens. The girls were agreeable to this system which boggles my mind.

Cradles of the Reich is told from three points of view. Two are pregnant girls and one is a nurse. The author purposely used these characters to represent German citizens with different beliefs.

Gundi joined the resistance, Hilde fully believed in what the Reich preached ,and Irma is a nurse who does her job without thinking about what is happening behind the scenes. Hilde really gets my goat. She is a self-centered bitch who is sneaky and thinks she is more important than the other girls. She rubbed me the wrong way from the first time she was mentioned.

During the ten years there were 30 of these homes and almost twenty thousand children came from them. Even worse, German soldiers were told to snatch Aryan looking babies and toddlers from the countries they overtook. I don’t know how anyone with a conscience could live with themselves after doing things like this. It is sickening to even read about.

The author shares more tidbits from her research at the end of the book. If you can believe it, there were more terrible things that were part of all of this. If you are interested in learning more about what went on during WWll, this is a book you won’t want to put down. It is well-written and informative. Kudos to Jennifer Coburn for writng about a topic that many people have never heard of before.

Thank you to NetGalley, the author, and the publisher for providing this ebook for me to read and review.

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There are so many aspects of the Reich and the evil they pushed in this world and time. Will we repeat history? Yes, when you look at the tactics that the Reich played. First with fear, indoctrinate the youth, the arm of the media, and blaming the Jewish people for their woes. The same tactics are played in current world today. I think it is so important to read about historical fiction such as this. To have a connection, a fighting spirit, and a purpose.

This account was narrated by three very different women. Gundi a 20 year old pregnant woman who is the picture perfect German woman ready to breed for the pure race. In reality, she is in love with a young Jewish man who is the father of her baby. Gundi is being controlled by the Reich but her heart is her own. She is sent to a place for young mothers- the Lebensborn Society. A young nurse Irma who has been dealt with her own cards, loves these young mothers. Will she stand up to fear? Will she be able to do what is right? Hilde the true German woman who believes in the Reich. She finds her identity in the wrong things and pays the price.

These 3 women show a resolve, misplaced trust, and a hope. It is stories that reflect what happened in the past that give us pause. Will we face fear with truth? How do we protect those that we love. The only disappointment I had with this novel and what I would have love to seen is a 20 years late where are they now. It ended with a hope but I wanted to know for sure a happy ending.

A special thank you to Source Books and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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I enjoyed this historical fiction about yet another atrocity that occurred during the Nazi led part of WWII. The author is able to capture each naive women's perspective and make them likeable. Unfortunately the damage is done before they wake up.

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'"What you are doing, Sister Irma," Gundi said, shaking her head. "It's remarkable." "That's part of the problem, Gundi." Sister Irma wiped away a tear. "I don't want to be in a world where helping one another survive is remarkable."'

Cradles of the Reich is the story of three woman in Nazi Germany, Gundi, Hilde and Irma, set against what is perhaps one of the more unknown programs of the Reich: The Lebensborn Program. If you haven't heard about this program yet, I do recommend reading this book to get a feel for what it was supposed to do, and what it ended up being, as the setting Jennifer Coburn creates is eerily reminiscent of real historical accounts.

The book presents the stories of three woman, all with a very different perspective, that ultimately come together in one of the Lebernsborn homes. Gundi, herself the poster Aryan child, is carrying a baby from her Jewish lover. Hilde, is trying to get ahead in the world and hopes to deliver the baby of one of the high-ranking German officials. Irma, a childless nurse, cares for the women and new-born babies at the home. As per usual with multiple storylines, some are stronger than others, and while I couldn't get myself to actually like Hilde, for the longest time, her storyline seemed most intriguing to me. The others got a little better towards the end of the story, but I can't help but wonder whether three separate books with the three separate stories in much more detail wouldn't have done more justice to each of the perspectives the women represent.

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Wow this was a fascinating novel that I couldn't put down. This book is an excellently researched, and it is clear that Jennifer Coburn is a scrupulous historian alongside her authorship. Wonderful, captivating writing and original plot gives this novel the depth and ability to pull in any reader. It is an excellent addition to the growing WWII genre that deals with the lesser known Lebensborn program. I highly recommend this - it was nothing less than fantastic. I can't wait to own this novel in print. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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The author leads the reader to accompany three German women into the Lebensborn Society during 1939. The Lebensborn Society was a Nazi sanctioned program to breed a pure Aryan race. Large dormitories and maternity homes were built throughout Germany to care for unwed pregnant women and to breed "racially desirable" children.

I, like many of you, have read many WWII fiction books. This book’s premise initially grabbed me because it’s a largely untold story. I was very interested to know more about the Lebensborn program. This was such a literary opportunity! Unfortunately it fell short.

The setting is factually accurate but the storytelling was incredibly basic. The characters are mere avatars for a specific stereotype and they lack any real depth. The overly simplistic style prevented me from truly engaging with the story.

Lastly, the ending is abrupt and terribly incomplete. I was left wanting (and not in a good way).

Unfortunately, if you’re seriously interested in the Lebensborn Society, I recommend finding another book on the subject.

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I really enjoyed this one overall. I find dual POV to be a hit or miss for me, especially with historical fiction, but the author differentiates each character’s voice well. I also really value learning something new. I’ve read a lot of historical fiction, but the subject of this one was new to me. The ending left me wanting more, but overall I enjoyed this and recommend for historical fiction fans and those wanting to read more of the genre.

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I found the idea of this book more interesting than the book itself turned out to be. I’m admittedly extremely picky about historical fiction but I thought the story of the Nazi birthing homes for “racially pure” babies would be fascinating. Unfortunately, I found the characters to be flat and uninteresting and the writing style was not to my taste (lots of telling not showing).

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Haunting and powerful first come to mind after reading this book.

Coburn takes the reader inside Hitler’s breeding program to create “perfect Aryan babies. The program was real and part of the atrocities committed in Germany during Hitler’s reign.

I became engrossed in the fictional stories of Gundi, Holden, and Irma. Though I will say I felt more sympathy really for Gundi and Irma. Hilde I pitied more as she was a fanatic for the Third Reich and was so easily fooled into believing the false propaganda. At times I wanted to smack her because she annoyed me that much.

The book’s ending left me bereft. Open ended and left to the reader’s imagination as to the fate of the characters.

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I always love me some historical fiction. Especially some WW11 era historical fiction. I found the subject of this distinctly intriguing because there isn’t a wealth of information out there about the Lebensborn Society. In fact, it seems that the author and I learned about it the same way, through Man In The High Castle. Only difference is she was able to take that information and create this story, which had to have been a challenge for the author, who has Jewish heritage. This story is brought to life through the eyes of three typical German women living through the war. Irma, an older German woman who has tried to ignore the plight of the Jews, and she ends up at a Lebensborn home after a bad breakup. Gundi, a soon to be mother, who while she is considered “racially pure”, her baby’s father is Jewish, and she ends up at the Lebensborn home through coercion more than choice. Lastly, the easy to hate Hilde, a real Hitler girl, who goes full bore on the Nazi propaganda. I really wanted to hate Hilde, because she can be quite awful, but I also felt a little sorry for her because she seems to not really like herself much and she spends her time chasing someone to love her for her, or whomever she can make herself into to fit in. This becomes a wonderful blend of fiction and real life history. A pleasure to read. If I have one gripe, it is that we never learn what happens to Leo, Gundi’s boo. I would have loved an epilogue on him. Review posted to Goodreads, Amazon, Litsy, Instagram, Facebook, and LibraryThing.

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Coburn did a lot of research into this story. This was the first time I’ve heard about Lebensborn and the Third Reich’s way of breeding and providing children to its supporters. I found the book disturbing that this happened to these girls. I enjoyed that there were 3 main characters but Hilde was my least favorite being how entitled she thought she was. A good historical novel for this time period and perhaps we will hear more about what happened next to these characters after the war was over. This will make an excellent book club selection.

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I've read a lot of things about the Third Reich in my time, thanks to my grandfather who was obsessed with it. I had never heard of the Lebensborn Society, and like the author, had to go looking it up.

This book does a good job at showing Germany - a slice of Germany, at least - in the months right before the Second War broke out. It gives you a good feeling of the atmosphere for the different parts of the society, and how everything managed to happen the way it did.

This is a fictional account, of course, but it is so well done I want to go and find out what happened to the characters, like I usually do when reading war memoirs. In that vein, I look forward to the next book.

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What I love about historical fiction is that you always learn something interesting about the past. I never knew about the Lebensborn Society. In this story three women in Nazi Germany are engaged in the workings of Lebensborn House. Each one of these ladies has her own set of conflict issues and there is a different outcome for each. Gundi is the perfect Aryan woman with a secret. Hilde’s desire to impress members of the Nazi party leads to her ultimate decision. Irma finds a place where her nursing skills and beliefs are respected and needed

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Cradles of the Reich by Jennifer Coburn is based on historical events inside the Lebensborn Society maternity homes. We are introduced to three (fictional) women-Gundi, Hilde, and Irma. These three women were part of the breeding program to bore "racially fit" babies to be raised as part of New Germany. I found this story really interesting. I had no idea about these maternity/breeding homes and it's quite appalling to be honest.

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