My Enemy's Cradle
By Sara Young
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Hardcover, 9780151015375, 384pp.)
Publication Date: January 2008
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Cyrla's neighbors have begun to whisper. Her cousin, Anneke, is pregnant and has passed the rigorous exams for admission to the Lebensborn, a maternity home for girls carrying German babies. But Anneke's soldier has disappeared, and Lebensborn babies are only ever released to their father's custody-- or taken away.
A note is left under the mat. Someone knows that Cyrla, sent from Poland years before for safekeeping with her Dutch relatives, is Jewish. The Nazis are imposing more and more restrictions; she won't be safe there for long.
And then in the space of an afternoon, life falls apart. Cyrla must choose between certain discovery in her cousin's home and taking Anneke's place in the Lebensborn--Cyrla and Anneke are nearly identical. If she takes refuge in the enemy's lair, can Cyrla fool the doctors, nurses, guards, and other mothers-to-be? Can she escape before they discover she is not who she claims?
Mining a lost piece of history, Sara Young takes us deep into the lives of women living in the worst of times. Part love story and part elegy for the terrible choices we must often make to survive, MY ENEMY'S CRADLE keens for what we lose in war and sings for the hope we sometimes find.
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.
ADVANCE PRAISE FOR MY ENEMY'S CRADLE "In the tradition of Leon Uris and other writers, Sara Young has written about the bitterness, fragility, and especially the resilience of human spirit under the shadow of the beast. Her characters, living in Holland at the beginning of the Holocaust, manage to find reason where there is no reason, as well as innocence and passion, love and longing. No one who has ever felt joy against reason will fail to hear Young's song." --Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of The Deep End Of The Ocean
"Tenderly and fiercely felt, Young''s tale of a young Jewish woman trapped in the sinister web of the Nazi Lebensborn program is that true find, a story truly never before told. And yet, through emotions we know -- that a mother must cherish her child, that hope will refuse despair, that passion will deny even mortal danger -- it immediately becomes our own."
"What a story! MY ENEMY''S CRADLE offers intrigue, suspense, compassion, heartbreak and joy. Sara Young writes with the intelligence and authority of an historian, but also with the sensitivity, precision, insight and grace of a poet. I was hooked from page one, and found the ending to be one of the most satisfying I''ve read in a long time. "
"As her spirited heroine Cyrla navigates the treacherous labyrinth of the SS breeding nurseries, 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, and you''ll hold your breath as Cyrla attempts to find and found her own family."
"By populating her book with complex and vibrant characters, Sara Young succeeds in bringing this previously little known aspect of World War II history to life. Young explores with an unwavering voice the timeless, universal and yet intensely personal themes of love, loss, morality and the choices that shape our lives."
"In this compelling first novel set against the little known Nazi Lebensborn program, Sara Young creates a heroine the reader will not easily forget - Cyrla, a young woman trying to keep her infant safe while hiding a dangerous secret. MY ENEMY''S CRADLE goes to the very heart of hope and how it can survive in even the darkest and most dangerous of times."
"Secrets of betrayal, love, and honor drive the plot in this riveting historical novel about a young woman caught up in the Nazi Lebensborn program.... Cyrla''s intimate, first-person narrative reveals the horrific history through unforgettable individual experience of guilt and sacrifice. Readers will be haunted by the intricacies of friends and enemies in a story that has been seldom told."
"MY ENEMY''S CRADLE has everything: It is a page turner full of twists and turns. It is a love story. It is a war story. It reveals a dark piece of history. There is only one caveat to this novel: you will want to read it straight through. So put aside absolutely everything, and begin."
"Young''s youthful characters