A Child for the Reich
From the USA Today bestselling author comes a gripping new emotional WW2 historical novel. Inspired by a true story!
‘A moving story of a mother’s love battling against the determination of the Reich to create a pure Aryan race…A recommended read‘ Glynis Peters
‘An intensely moving, brilliantly researched novel about love, loss, and the lengths a mother will go to for her child…utterly compelling‘ Deborah Carr
Rumours of the Nazis coming for Czech children swept through the villages like a breeze through the trees, and the story was always the same…
They wanted our children to raise as their own
Since her husband, Josef, joined the Czech resistance three years ago, Anna Dankova has done everything possible to keep her daughter, Ema, safe. But when blonde haired, blue-eyed Ema is ripped from her mother’s arms in the local marketplace by the dreaded Brown Sisters, nurses who were dedicated to Hitler’s cause, Anna is forced to go to new extremes to take back what the Nazis have stolen from her.
Going undercover as a devoted German subject eager to prove her worth to the Reich, the former actress takes on a role of a lifetime to find and save her daughter. But getting close to Ema is one thing. Convincing her that the Germans are lying when they claim Anna stole her from her true parents is another…
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Andie Newton is the USA Today bestselling author of The Girls from the Beach, The Girl from Vichy, and The Girl I Left Behind.
She writes gritty and emotional war stories about strong women. Andie holds a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s in teaching. She lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her husband, her two boys, and one very lazy cat.
You can find book club discussion questions on www.andienewton.com
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Based on the real Lebensborn programme – a Nazi initiative to increase the number of children born who met the Nazi standards of “racially pure” and “healthy” Aryans – A Child for the Reich is an emotional tale that delivers on so many levels. The main protagonist, Anna Dankova, is struggling to make ends meet and is more than a little annoyed at her husband, Josef, who left to join the resistance forces some time ago. Having lived in beautiful Prague, it is something of a shock to move to the country where Josef – before leaving them along with Dasa’s husband – insists they will be safer. Now, with her daughter, Ema, her mother (Matka) and sister, Dasa and her children, they live without the use of their car (taken by the Germans), many of their livestock (also taken) and are left to support themselves on the little income they can earn at the market selling the vegetables they’ve grown.
And, as if life were not hard enough, rumours of the Brown Sisters being in their area leave them all fearful of their children being taken next. Given that their neighbours are not the kindliest of people, willing to sell gossip to the Germans in return for better treatment for themselves, who can they trust?
The greatest fear is for Dasa’s young baby, a child she will not name until the men come home, but who meets the requirements of the Lebensborn programme perfectly. Consequently, they try to keep him hidden.
None of them expected Ema, Anna’s daughter to be the target of the Brown Sisters’ next trip to the market. Devastated, Anna concocts a plan to get her daughter back, and using her acting skills (from her days in Prague) and her ability to speak German, she meets with the resistance group to a) locate her daughter, and b) to acquire papers for her to assume a new identity and infiltrate the orphanage where Ema is being kept prior to adoption with a “good German family.”
At this stage, I was reeling in shock at the extent to which the Lebensborn programme was being carried out, but at the orphanage itself, my shock levels intensified as the details of the programme became clearer. Anna is risking everything to get Ema back, and as the reality of her situation unfolds, the tension ratchets up, emotions are incredibly high, and the danger of being caught infers life-threatening consequences.
I found A Child for the Reich to be truly absorbing, a compelling read that had me racing through the chapters to the conclusion. The story does, however, tell of more than Anna’s courage and determination, it highlights the strength of family and friends (Matka is incredibly supportive and inspiring, witty and thoughtful), and the ability to conquer even the most monumental of challenges when the future of family is at stake. If you enjoy reading about strong female characters, particularly during one of the most difficult eras of modern times, then this is the book for you.
My thanks go to the author, and publisher, (Harper Collins One more Chapter) for my copy of this book which I have reviewed freely.
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