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My Enemy's Cradle
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About the Author

Under the name Sara Pennypacker, SARA YOUNG has written seven books for children, including the acclaimed Stuart series (Stuart's Cape) and Clementine. She lives on Cape Cod.

Reviews

Children's-book author Young (who, as Sara Pennypacker, penned the celebrated Stuart series) makes a stunning adult debut with this beautifully told and heart-wrenching novel set in WWII Europe. Cyrla, half-Jewish, is no longer safe hiding in the home of her Dutch relatives under the increasingly harsh Nazi occupation. When cousin Annika, whom Cyrla closely resembles, becomes pregnant by a German soldier, Annika's father enrolls her in a Lebensborn, a birthing center for Aryan children, where the slogan is "Have one baby for the Fuhrer." In a tragic turn of events, Cyrla discovers her only chance of survival is to hide in plain sight: she must assume Annika's identity and live in the German Lebensborn until rescued. Within the Lebensborn's walls, mothers-to-be receive proper nutrition and medical care until their children are taken from them for adoption into Aryan families The horrors Cyrla witnesses are softened only by her resounding optimism and strength. (Jan.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

One of the lesser-known aspects of the Nazi regime was the Lebensborn program, which promoted the expansion of the "master race" by encouraging German women and those who were racially "pure" in its occupied countries to bear as many children as possible. Young explores the experiences of these women in her fictional story of Cyrla, a young Polish/Dutch woman who enters a Lebensborn maternity home in place of her cousin Annika, who died tragically. Unbeknown to the officials, Cyrla is half Jewish and must walk a tightrope as she plots her escape. Despite a few too many far-fetched plot contrivances, the subject matter is of immediate interest and sympathy. At the book's outset, Cyrla is strident, idealistic, and foolishly outspoken, but as she matures she begins to understand the complexity of the world around her and the people she has known. An unexpected development midway through the novel helps make this a real page-turner. Recommended for most public libraries.-Christine DeZelar-Tiedman, Univ. of Minnesota Libs., Minneapolis Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

PRAISE FOR MY ENEMY'S CRADLE "Young's youthful characters--especially her heroine, Cyrla--are utterly believable, their longings, fears and hopes etched with an authenticity and sense of urgency that make this story vibrate on the page . . . Intensely romantic in a way that only wartime fiction can be. And it invokes, with a bit of an ache, Anne Frank's optimistic belief in happy endings."--USA Today "Sara Young shines a powerful flashlight on one of the lesser-known Nazi atrocities: the thievery of children from their mothers. Young's research is so scrupulous that when devouring this novel, you'll swear you're reading a genuine survivor account."--Jenna Blum, author of Those Who Save Us

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