Based on untold historical events, this novel brings us intimately inside the Lebensborn Society maternity homes that actually existed in several countries during World War II, where thousands of “racially fit” babies were bred and taken from their mothers to be raised as part of the new Germany. But it proves that in a dark period of history, the connections women forge can carry us through, even driving us to heroism we didn’t know we had within us.
For fans of The Nightingale and The Handmaid’s Tale, Cradles of the Reich uncovers a topic rarely explored in fiction: the Lebensborn project, a Nazi breeding program to create a so-called master race. Through thorough research and with deep empathy, this chilling historical novel goes inside one of the Lebensborn Society maternity homes that existed in several countries during World War II, where thousands of “racially fit” babies were bred and taken from their mothers to be raised as part of the new Germany.
At the Heim Hochland maternity home in Bavaria, three women’s lives coverage as they find themselves there under very different circumstances. Gundi is a pregnant university student from Berlin. An Aryan beauty, she’s secretly a member of a resistance group. Hilde, only eighteen, is a true believer in the cause and is thrilled to carry a Nazi official’s child. And Irma, a 44-year-old nurse, is desperate to build a new life for herself after personal devastation. Despite their opposing beliefs, all three have everything to lose as they begin to realize they are trapped within Hitler’s terrifying scheme to build a Nazi-Aryan nation.
A cautionary tale for modern times told in stunning detail, Cradles of the Reich uncovers a little-known Nazi atrocity but also carries an uplifting reminder of the power of women to set aside differences and work together in solidarity in the face of oppression.
“Every historical fiction novel should strive to be this compelling, well-researched and just flat-out good.” — Associated Press
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jennifer Coburn is the author of Cradles of the Reich, a historical novel about three very different women living at a Nazi Lebensborn breeding home at the start of World War ll.
She has also published a mother-daughter travel memoir, We’ll Always Have Paris, as well as six contemporary women’s novels. Additionally, Jennifer has contributed to five literary anthologies, including A Paris All Your Own.
Jennifer lives in San Diego with her husband, William. Their daughter, Katie is currently in graduate school. When Jennifer is not going down historical research rabbit holes, she volunteers with So Say We All, a live storytelling organization, where she is a performer, producer, and performance coach. She is also an active volunteer with Reality Changers, a nonprofit that supports low-income high school students in becoming the first in their families to attend college. She specializes in college essay development, and interview prep.
The hopes and dreams of three women collide in this shocking story about a little-known Nazi breeding home in Bavaria. Jennifer Coburn has written a brave and highly original novel; fans of historical fiction will find it compelling―and indeed essential―reading. — Kitty Zeldis, author of Not Our Kind
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