The book begins with the prologue set in Nazi Germany, October 1944, where we meet Greta Strohm. We then go back to June 1944 to the German Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, where we begin the main story.
The book is written in the first person from the viewpoint of former actress Anna Dankova, who has a daughter called Ema, who is five years old. Her husband Josef and her sister Dasa’s husband both joined the Czech resistance and are missing. Dasa has three daughters and a baby son. All the children are blonde with blue eyes.
There are rumours that the infamous Brown Sisters steal babies and young children for the Nazis to adopt, specifically blonde, blue eyed children that fit the Aryan ideal and one day, they turn up in the neighbourhood…
It’s not too much of a spoiler to tell you Ema gets taken (as it’s in the blurb), but what follows is Anna’s quest to find her daughter again… and she’s going to need all of her acting talent to attempt it.
You’re thrown right into the story straight away. Anna, Dasa and their mother (who they call Matka) are three strong Czech women, fighting to protect their family and to stay alive under German Occupation. Matka comes out with some hilarious comments, she is very quick-witted. What was a friendly neighbourhood now consists of Germans and Czechs, living together but being treated very differently. The family don’t know who they can trust anymore.
You get to see some of Anna’s previous life through flashbacks, before her life changed due to the Nazi invasion. The contrast between these two parts of her life are easy to see and you feel very sorry for her, losing her happy life through no fault of her own.
Terrifyingly, this book is based on a true story. It certainly feels very authentic and well-researched. It makes you wonder what you would do, if you were ever in such a horrifying situation like that and your children were threatened. I found it very interesting to see how Czechs coped with the German Occupation, as it’s not something I’ve read about before and I hadn’t heard about the babies being snatched either.
The novel is very well-paced, it builds up gradually, but carries you on to the next page, the next chapter, as you want to know what happens. You root for Anna 100% and feel as if you’re walking alongside her, hoping she will get her daughter back.
I hadn’t heard of this author before, but I would definitely read more of her work.
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…
HarperCollins US: https://bit.ly/3xJUXdD
HarperCollins UK: https://bit.ly/3dAADVe
Barnes and Noble: https://bit.ly/3eZZoum
Author Bio –
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 andienewton.com.
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