Book Reviews of My Enemy's Cradle

My Enemy's Cradle
My Enemy's Cradle
Author: Sara Young
ISBN-13: 9780151015375
ISBN-10: 0151015376
Publication Date: 1/14/2008
Pages: 384
Rating:
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 48

4 stars, based on 48 ratings
Publisher: Harcourt
Book Type: Hardcover
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

19 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed My Enemy's Cradle on + 386 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I liked the backdrop, the main thread of the story, and the part of WWII history rarely told. I did finish the book, mostly on the strength of the side characters and wanting to know how things ended. I did NOT like the main character. She was completely unbelievable as a 19-year-old in that time and place. Her attitude through most of the book was, "I'll just sit here and do what I want, despite all logic, and somehow bad things won't happen to me, despite me being a Jewish girl surrounded by Nazis." Everyone has to force or bully her into protecting herself, all the way through the book. I had no sympathy at all for her, and nearly quit reading just because I couldn't stand her. It gets better in the middle, but toward the end she got stupid and selfish again. My other big complaint is the amount of sex all through the beginning, and then in bits at the end. The pregnancies needed to happen for the plot to unfold, but the descriptions were unnecessary.
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Helpful Score: 2
Cyrla is half-Jewish and living with Dutch relatives during World War II. Being nearly identical to her Dutch cousin, Annika, places her in a unique position to take Annika's place in a Lebensborn- a home for pregnant mothers of German babies- after Annika's unexpected death. Cyrla tries to keep her true identity a secret while living in the home but her Jewish heritage will soon put herself and those close to her in grave danger.

Historical fiction is my favorite genre and there is not much written about the Lebensborn or the despicable plans the Germans' had for their Aryan babies, so I was immediately interested in the backdrop of this novel. The book gave a fictional account of what a home for these unwed expectant mothers might have been like, and I found it absolutely fascinating.

Sara Young (who has also written under the name Sara Pennypacker) tells Cyrla's somewhat romanticized story in a way that was engaging while still being a bit over embellished. Cyrla's situation was compelling and I was anxious to discover how her story ended, but the enjoyment I derived from reading this book was mostly due to the interest I had in the subject matter, not necessarily the story line or Young's writing style.

I recommend this book to readers who enjoy historical fiction, but it is nowhere near as good as others in that genre (i.e. The Help, The Book Thief, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society). I wish more authors would try to tackle a novel about that part of World War II history.
reviewed My Enemy's Cradle on + 419 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I found this book to be riveting. There is not much known about the Lebensborn program. I asked my Dad who served in the army for 4 years in Holland and he told me there were lots of rumors about German soldiers targeting Dutch girls just so there could be more Aryan babies but that no one could ever tell them if it was true or not.
Although fiction, this read like a memoir. I was captivated by this story from the start and kept asking myself why I had left it in my TBR pile for so long.
The account of the things the Nazis sometimes did to ensure the "purity" of the race are told but not in too graphic detail.
I felt Cyrla's loneliness and despair as she realized that everyone she loved had either left or deserted her and as she struggles with the realization that she may lose her baby also to the Nazi program.
reviewed My Enemy's Cradle on + 386 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I liked the backdrop, the main thread of the story, and the part of WWII history rarely told. I did finish the book, mostly on the strength of the side characters and wanting to know how things ended. I did NOT like the main character. She was completely unbelievable as a 19-year-old in that time and place. Her attitude through most of the book was, "I'll just sit here and do what I want, despite all logic, and somehow bad things won't happen to me, despite me being a Jewish girl surrounded by Nazis." Everyone has to force or bully her into protecting herself, all the way through the book. I had no sympathy at all for her, and nearly quit reading just because I couldn't stand her. It gets better in the middle, but toward the end she got stupid and selfish again. My other big complaint is the amount of sex all through the beginning, and then in bits at the end. The pregnancies needed to happen for the plot to unfold, but the descriptions were unnecessary.
reviewed My Enemy's Cradle on + 386 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I liked the backdrop, the main thread of the story, and the part of WWII history rarely told. I did finish the book, mostly on the strength of the side characters and wanting to know how things ended. I did NOT like the main character. She was completely unbelievable as a 19-year-old in that time and place. Her attitude through most of the book was, "I'll just sit here and do what I want, despite all logic, and somehow bad things won't happen to me, despite me being a Jewish girl surrounded by Nazis." Everyone has to force or bully her into protecting herself, all the way through the book. I had no sympathy at all for her, and nearly quit reading just because I couldn't stand her. It gets better in the middle, but toward the end she got stupid and selfish again. My other big complaint is the amount of sex all through the beginning, and then in bits at the end. The pregnancies needed to happen for the plot to unfold, but the descriptions were unnecessary.
reviewed My Enemy's Cradle on + 386 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I liked the backdrop, the main thread of the story, and the part of WWII history rarely told. I did finish the book, mostly on the strength of the side characters and wanting to know how things ended. I did NOT like the main character. She was completely unbelievable as a 19-year-old in that time and place. Her attitude through most of the book was, "I'll just sit here and do what I want, despite all logic, and somehow bad things won't happen to me, despite me being a Jewish girl surrounded by Nazis." Everyone has to force or bully her into protecting herself, all the way through the book. I had no sympathy at all for her, and nearly quit reading just because I couldn't stand her. It gets better in the middle, but toward the end she got stupid and selfish again. My other big complaint is the amount of sex all through the beginning, and then in bits at the end. The pregnancies needed to happen for the plot to unfold, but the descriptions were unnecessary.
reviewed My Enemy's Cradle on + 306 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I have read a lot of books on the Holocaust. So far I have enjoyed every one of them. Some more than others. This book is not on that list. I couldn't even finish it and I almost never leave a book unfinished! My complaint was the way it was written. I felt it was very "child-like". The main character, Cyrla, when I started reading this book seemed like she was around 12 years old. Turns out she is nineteen. Yet she had a very childish mind. To be a 19 year old whose mother had died and whose father has sent her away to live with other relatives in the midst of war makes a child grow up very quickly. This was not the sense that I received from reading this book. I wanted to like her and the other characters but there was nothing there to pull me to them. The only reason I stuck with this book as long as I did was the story behind it (thus the 2 star rating). The Lebonsborn Project is a horrifying account that took place between 1935-1945. It is not a subject that I have been able to find a lot of books on. So with this book (even with it being fictitious)I was so eager to read it. I tried to stick with it, even flipping near the end of the book to see if it got better but to no avail. I would have to say to pass this one up or at least glance through it at a bookstore and see if you can handle the writing style before you purchase it
reviewed My Enemy's Cradle on + 6 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I cannot believe I let this book sit on my book shelf for months! I honestly forgot that I had it, until I hit a dry spell & needed a change of pace.
This book was amazing!
A page turner, very hard to put down!
So glad I discovered this great book & had the opportunity to read it!
reviewed My Enemy's Cradle on + 329 more book reviews
This was an excellent book about young pregnant girls gotten that way by german soldiers during World War II. The homes they were sent to and what happened to the babies. I could not put it down and read it in two days.
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A very sad time in history, but reads as a wonderful story, thats leaves you feeling light and breathless at the end! Dont miss reading this one!
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A page turner and very interesting read.
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I looked forward to reading this book, a part of WWII that I new nothing about. German women encouraged to have as many children as possible for the fatherland and women, pregnant by German soldiers who met certain criteria sent to a maternity home run by the Nazi's. It was called the "Lebensborn" program which amounted to "SS breeding nurseries." Babies were confiscated with or without the mother's permission. The author gave what felt like an authentic peek into another form of autrocity perpetuated by the Nazi's
Cyrla, a young girl, half jewish, has found this, through a series of relationships, to be the only place to hide and hopes to survive without being found out by using the identity of a deceased cousin. But there is no place that is safe for a Jew in hiding. There are many twists in this story with all the relationships, and nothing is as it seems. Therein lies the genuine fear which builds the tension for the impossible decisions to be made.
The background and premise of this book are strong, and the story itself, well done. I had a problem with the main character Cyrla, and her recklessness. Yes, she was young (18) and inexperienced in life, much less war. But the reason she had been sent to relatives in Holland three years prior was because of the building fear of what would happen to Jews. Despite the tightening restrictions, and escalating fear, she never seemed to understand how serious the situation was and many times took unnecessary, foolish, dangerous chances that could have cost others their lives had she been caught. One of these chances resulted in her own brutal rape. It was extremely frustruating to watch her make so many bad decisions, right up until the very end of the story. Often she was willful and would not listen to reason, even holding on to evidence that proved she was Jewish. I liked the story very much, and I guess we all make unfortunate decisions at times, but others lives are usually not at stake. A suspenseful story, full of intrigue, heartbreak, hope, and the uncertain knowledge of what one would do to survive, and how you live with what you have done.
reviewed My Enemy's Cradle on + 35 more book reviews
Amazing story. Could not put it down! Very sad, but true. We must write about history, lest it repeats itself.
reviewed My Enemy's Cradle on + 25 more book reviews
This was an interesting book, it was a side of WWII that I had not yet explored. Definately a good read!
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This book is about a part of WWII that I had never heard about-'maternity homes' set up so that women pregnant with German (and only German) babies could give birth. This particular story involves a young Jewish girl trying to escape the Nazis. The history and countless stories of this era never cease to amaze and sadden me. Anyone interested in this time should read this.
reviewed My Enemy's Cradle on
I really enjoyed this book. The author made this horrific time in our history come to life. It was difficult to put the book down.
reviewed My Enemy's Cradle on
An excellent read! How do you navigate a world in which heritage determines a happy ending from a tragedy? When everyone around you must make emotional and moral choices with widespread implications?

For the half-Jewish heroine, Cyrla, one of the safest ways to avoid persecution by the Nazis is by masquerading as the ideal Aryan woman in a maternity home for mostly unwed girls serving as broodmares in the Nazis' effort to raise the next generation of soldier.

A lot of the tale is tough to read. Death, danger, and violence are ever present in the background. Certain sections can be tough to read though they ultimately make sense.

Some reviewers object to Cyrla's extreme naivety as unbelievable. There's no question that she is rather oblivious, more interested in her latest crush than in the upheavals all around her. Despite moments of youthful stupidity and poor choices, she's ultimately a tough and compelling heroine despite--or maybe because of--her flaws.
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Modern smut and propaganda added to what could have been a good story.
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Sarah Young makes her debut with her first adult novel, My Enemy's Cradle. Penning the celebrated children's books, the Clementine series, Young proves that she can make the transformation from light and gay to heartfelt, tragic, and solid fiction.

Set in WW II Europe, a time of horror and strength, this is a story of the Nazi Lebensborn program. For Cyrla, a young half Jewish woman, it is a painful and heart-breaking journey. Cyrla lives with her cousin's family in Rotterdam. Her father sent her there for protection when the threat of war loomed on the horizon. After five years, Cyrla and her cousin Anneke are closer than ever. In fact, many people mistake them for one another, their resemblance to one another uncanny.

Anneke is in love with a German soldier, and soon discovers she is pregnant. When he refuses to acknowledge the child, Anneke grows desperate as her intolerant father threatens to send her to the nearby Lebensborn, a maternity home run by the Nazis. At Lebensborn, the children are tested to make sure they are of true blood. Those that pass the test are given to German familes to raise as the next generation of soldiers. If they are not true blood, the child just disappears.

Cyrla is in a relationship with a prominent Jewish lawyer. Knowing the future to be uncertain, afraid she and her lover will be exposed, she and her aunt decide for Cyrla to use Anneke's identity and escape to the Lebensborn. There, Cyrla finds love in the most unexpected place, as well as the knowledge of the near impossibility of her own escape as she faces the true dangers and horrors of war.

Rich, realistic characters and a solid, historical plot make this adult debut a compelling and emotional read. Sara Young has done a masterful job bringing forth a story that lays forgotten beneath the horrors of Hitler.