Tuesday, March 17, 2009

More World War II

Which seems to be a really common topic for Reader's Choice books.... hmm.

My Enemy's Cradle by Sara Young
4.5 Stars
R- 3.5

When Anneke becomes pregnant (by a German soldier), her father decides to send her to a Lebensborn (Fountain or Wellspring of Life-- a maternity home for qualifying young women pregnant with German babies). It's decided that Cyrla, her half-Jewish cousin, will take her place. This is a gripping story of love and life, betrayal and death, and doing what you can to survive.

A word about the risqueity-- when it's decided that Cyrla will take Anneke's place, she's not pregnant. Which the Germans are bound to notice, right? So she has to, um... get pregnant... Fast. Which accounts for a large portion of the risqueity.


Other than the risqueity-- some of which I found to be a bit much-- the only thing that really bothered me was the cover art. A dark-haired woman with a baby. Cyrla is blond.

Now I hear you wondering "why is that such a big deal? Cover art is inaccurate often enough, right?"

Well, yes. Yes it is. But I think it's really problematic in this case. Cyrla's life depended on the fact that she's blond. Literally. For one, Anneke's blond, and there's no way she'd be able to pass as her cousin if Cyrla had dark hair.

More importantly, though, was the Lebensborn requirements. The purpose of the Lebensborn program was to build up the Aryan race. A dark-haired mother-to-be would never have been admitted. Ever. So the cover art bugs me.

This story is at times heartbreaking, but also beautiful. It's told from Cyrla's point of view as she takes her strange journey. I wish the ending had had a bit more detail, but it was still good.

If you're a fan of WWII novels, I recommend this one.... and even if you're not.

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