Cover Image: Cradles of the Reich

Cradles of the Reich

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Member Reviews

Powerful read. Told from differing viewpoints you get to know what life in the Nazi breeding program was like for them. Through their choices and loyalties you see how this program affected the lives of many. I hadn’t heard of the program before but found this book to be a great read.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. Thank you NetGalley, Jennifer Coburn and Sourcebooks Landmark for hearing my honest review. Looking forward to reading more with you
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The first 65% of this book, I highly enjoyed, but for some reason, it just got to the point to where I felt that nothing was really happening in the story. It got somewhat repetitive for me. I did not know the Nazis’ Lebensborn program/home existed. I really enjoyed learning and reading about this. I connected most to Gunde’s character. Hilde's storyline got very sill at one point for lack of a better word, talking about writing a play and being an actress. Although the last half of this novel dragged a bit for me, I still would recommend it for any historical fiction reader. It just wasn't my top historical read by any means. I would definitely read more by this author in the future. 3 stars.

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I appreciate historical fiction set in WWII that involves little known events that occurred during the War. I had no knowledge of the existence of the Lebensborn Society prior to reading this book, and I'm so glad I read this book. The Author's Note reflected just how much research was put into this book, and it refreshingly read like a 'real life story' rather than a loosely based or far-fetched historical tale. I really enjoyed reading this book! 3.5 stars!

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Cradles of the Reich might be Jennifer Coburn’s first foray into the historical fiction genre but I promise that I couldn't tell. This novel is incredibly well-researched and eye-opening, and it makes me shudder to know Lebensborn Society maternity homes were a thing during WWII. As if what the Nazis did to the Jews wasn't bad enough, they had to have breeding homes too? The novel follows 3 different women, Gundi, Hilde, and Irma who is a nurse at one of the homes. I liked the way their stories ended up overlapping, but Hilde's was by far the hardest for me to read. The mentality she had toward Jews made it a struggle to read from her viewpoint, but I think it was a very important POV to showcase in the story. These women (Hilde barely one at all being just 18) brought this time in history to life for me and I thought Coburn really captured the essence of what it would be like to be in each of their situations.

For some reason, I am always a big fan of historical fiction on audio, and I happened to really enjoy Cradles of the Reich that way as well. Even though there are 3 viewpoints, the sole narrator is Natasha Soudek and while I would have loved 2 more people, I thought Soudek did an excellent job bringing all 3 women to life. The author's note is an important thing to check out, and I was really glad the audiobook included it. I’ve noticed that authors don’t always add these, and I feel like they are super important when you are dealing with history, so I was happy Coburn made the choice to write one. This does end up being a rather emotional read and in my opinion, the end was a bit of a cliffhanger. I completely understand and appreciate why it was left like this, but man I just wanted more. I really hope Coburn will write more HF in the future, but I loved her writing so much that I will definitely check out whatever she ends up getting published next.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Wonderful, yet disturbing, story of the Lebensborn program that played a part in Hitler's intention to create the perfect German race. Through the various female characters, we learn how young female specimens of the Aryan race were impregnaged by Nazi soldiers to bear Germany's next ideal generation.. Infants and toddlers - orphans of the Polish invasions - were also part of the adoption program. Families, loyal to the Reich, were incentivized to adopt and raise these children in the name of the future of Germany.

Well worth the read for an education but also a well written and documented story..

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This was a slow read but such a good and interesting story. The subject matter heavy but it is done in a way where you learn about the plights of each girl throughout the story as it unfolds. Gundi was by far my favorite character and I found myself wanting more from her perspective as well as everything to turn out well enough for her. Irma generally just wanted to do the best for people despite everything and I love how her story ended. Hilda was an interesting perspective to have in the story and it was also a sad to watch her story unfold and unravel. While this book did take me a minute to get through it was interesting to read about the homes.

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This was a very difficult topic to read about, and yet an important one. This less covered part of WWII is portrayed with such depth and sensitivity that I could not tear myself away from this book!

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I enjoy reading stories about various aspects of WWII and definitely have learned so much about things I would have never even imagined. Such is the case with this story I was not aware that part of the Reich was assigned to seeking out and increasing the number of blonde haired, blue eyed children to make a new Arian race to carry on a new "Germany" Unbelievable! I found the book a bit slow moving and it took me some motivation to keep reading. By the last page, I was glad that I did.

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When you read this informative, horrific, excellent historical fiction story, make sure to read the acknowledgments at the end of the book. This was yet another piece of history that I knew nothing about, another piece that was kept out of history books, another piece that is tragic yet should not be forgotten. The author did an excellent job of researching and weaving this story about three women who find themselves at one of the Lebensborn Society maternity homes in Germany.
My only complaint is I was so invested in Gundi, Irma, and even Hilde, that I wanted the story to continue so I could find out exactly how things were going to work out for them!
If you enjoy historical fiction, this is a must-read. Even if you aren't a big HF fan, this is an important piece of history that made a page-turning story, thanks to the author.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book!

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This book is set in Heim Hochland, a Lebensborn home during WWII in Germany. I had never heard of the Lebensborn program before this book, which surprised me because I have read a lot about Nazi Germany and WWII.

The main characters are Gundi, Irma and Hilde. Gundi is involved with the resistance, Hilde is convinced the Reich is perfect and Irma is kind of in the middle. I liked that each character had a different perspective, but I did feel they were a bit one dimensional. I was really bothered by Hilde and how utterly clueless she was. Not just about the Reich, as many people were, but also about men and relationships and that sort of thing.

I definitely learned a lot from this book and the research that went into it but have been very thorough. Even the tiniest period details were there. But overall, the story wasn't quite as exciting as I was hoping. The ending felt a little rushed, but I didn't mind the fact that not all the loose ends were tied up. I will definitely recommend this for readers that don't mind if there's not so much action. Thanks @netgalley for the ARC!

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Thanks to Netgalley for an ARC of this book, in return for a fair and honest review.

I found this book compelling. I would say I "enjoyed" it, but it's hard to enjoy a book about Naxis, especially about their breeding programs. Basically, the idea was to increase births among "perfect" Aryan women, however they got pregnant. Our main character, Gundi, is a student, who got pregnant by her Jewish lover. However, her family doctor didn't know who the father was, and informed the Nazis in charge of this program that he had a lovely Aryan unwed mother. Everyone assumed that her childhood friend was the father, so they swooped her off to Heim Hochland, their breeding farm.

There were also a whole group of non-pregnant, "perfect Aryan" girls, who were kept there to provide sex to Nazi officers, in the hope that they, too, would become pregnant.

A second main character was Irma, a nurse who came to work there to try to start a new life for herself. The third woman we focus on was Hilde, a devoted Nazi, who became pregnant by a Nazi officer and was brought there. After she had a miscarriage, she started doing everything possible to try to get pregnant again, seeing this as her ticket to achieving a high position in the Nazi hierarchy.

Focusing on three such different women made the book particularly interesting, seeing Gundi's strength, Irma's growing awareness, and Hilde's desperation. It was, I think, a tricky job for the author to try to give us insight into each of the women - it was easy to like and admire Gundi and Irma, and it would have been quite easy to despise Hilde. Ms. Coburn was able to provide enough insight into Hilde's past to at least generate some understanding. I think the book was stronger since we could see what was going on through multiple perspectives.

A fascinating book, with a different plot than most of the WWII books I've seen.

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Hands down the best book I’ve read this year, and definitely one of the best I’ve ever read that is set in this time period. I’m such a fan of historical fiction, and I was not disappointed with this. It covered an area of the war that I knew nothing about so that was really interesting, and it was so incredibly well written. 100% a book I’d recommend.

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Growing up, my mother, who was a WAAF in London during WW2, told stories of the atrocities of Hitler. She was as a plotter in an area that rumours weren't gossip, but truth. This book is about the Lebensohn. Women and girls were taken by the Nazi's, impregnated by "superior specimens" of German soldiers to create the Third Reich's future perfect Aryan society. This book is captivating and well written. So accurate to stories my mother told me.
Thank you NetGalley for providing this copy, the opinion expressed in this review is solely my own.

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Hitler didn’t miss a trick when it came to brainwashing his pure race Aryans. In Cradles of the Reich, we get to see how his goal was to create perfect Aryan babies, even to the point of recruiting very young women to prostitute themselves, having sex with senior Nazi officers. They also provided the best of care for women already pregnant, but only if the father was also of the purest blood. And they had no qualms of taking the baby from the mother and offering it for adoption, even if the mother wanted to keep the child. This book follows two young women and an older nurse during their time in a home for expectant mothers.

The characters are interesting, with different opinions on the state of Germany in the mid-1930s. All three women have secrets that they wish to keep hidden from all around them. But sometimes, that isn’t possible, and you need to reach out for help. This is a story of friendship and family, of bigotry and acceptance, of desperate measures to protect those you love.

At times, I found it hard to follow what was going on. The writing at times seemed choppy and appeared to jump around a bit. Also, attempting to follow which character was speaking proved difficult at times. I received an advanced reader copy of this book, so it’s likely these problems were fixed before publication.

The story is interesting and intriguing, and focused on a part of the Nazi system that I had not heard of before. It’s well worth the time to read this book. It is well thought out and the writing, overall, is easy to read.

I received an advanced reader copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley. I thank all involved for their generosity, but it had no effect on this review. All opinions expressed in this review reflect my true and honest reactions to reading this book.

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Requested for background reading for a discussion of Cradles of the Reich; and we later also reviewed the book:
https://www.bookbrowse.com/booktalk/threads.cfm?forumid=E3A26DD5-F89B-4D86-3BF3F01A508F5EC9

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I was given an ARC of this novel by NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. I love reading historical fiction because I always discover events I know nothing about. I end up going down a rabbit hole to find out more. Thank you Jennifer for opening my eyes. The book is worth the read. The details of the story reflect the time and research that went into this novel. I recommend giving it a read.

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This is a novel about three women just before and during WWII, a novel about three different women facing the new bewildering political and social situation, three women in the Lebensborn program, one indifferent, one resistant and one indocrinated.
It is an interesting novel dealing with the Lebensborn program which is curious and baffling in itself, but I hoped for some more depth or detail on it.
The novel and the characters are well written, but there is nothing new to be read here, there is no new understanding of the matter, no new ideas, in general there are no concluisons, no insights, no deep emotions, just scattered stories about a vile period in history.

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3.5 stars rounded up, just because it really made me think about it for long after finishing.

Heim Hochland is a home for mothers who are having children for the Reich. But it’s not just a women’s home. It is more like a breeding ground for the advancement of the Aryan Race. Young girls are recruited to come and most of their babies were adopted out to suitable German families. Gundi is pregnant and recruited for her beauty as well as her pedigree. Hilde is fully invested in the propaganda of the Reich and is excited to further their causes. Irma has lost so much, and is hoping Heim Hochland will be a good place for her to find peace as a nurse. So many characters and so many tragic stories. This Lebensborn Society was responsible for furthering the “master race”, but so many lives were hurt in the process. I mostly enjoyed this story, as I felt a learned a lot, but the ending was rather abrupt! There was so much more to be told. I did appreciate the author notes at the end as well.

Thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks for an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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Cradles of the Reich by Jennifer Coburn ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Wow, what a wonderful, well written and heart wrenching book, based off of historical events. The characters are all incredible, real, unique, and struggling with their own issues. The relationships that they form, despite all of their differences, during a dark time in history is encouraging. The light that they find in the darkness is awe inspiring. My only complaint of the book, is that is switched perspective of the three very different women - which at times I found took away from the beauty of the book. Although I don’t know which character I would remove, since they were all amazing, having only two perspectives would have probably made the story even more powerful and seamless.

During Nazi occupation, three women find themselves at Heim Hochland, a Nazi breeding home in Bavaria. Despite their differences, Gundi a pregnant aryan beauty who is part of the resistance, Hilde a Nazi supporter pregnant with an officers baby and Irma a nurse all form a close bond during a time of difficulty.

Thank you Netgalley for my advanced reader copy.

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The story of young women living in the the Nazi Lebensborn maternity homes, many not really realizing what this meant to them and their unborn babies. A well written historical fiction novel, with well developed characters and sensitive writing.

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