In 1941, threat is everywhere. Certainly in Poland, where Cyrlaís widowed father decides to send his daughter to her motherís relatives in Holland. But even the small town of Schiedam is touched by the paranoia inherent in Hitlerís vision for Germany.
Cyrla is half-Jewish, her cousin Anneke careless of the secrets she shares with her German soldier boyfriend, Annekeís father increasingly impatient and unwilling to shelter the girl from Poland. When Anneke announces she is pregnant, Cyrla realizes her safe place has been forever altered, but she cannot imagine how much.
Cyrla doesnít like Annekeís boyfriend, so when he is no longer around, she hopes to be a comfort to the pregnant girl. Neither anticipates Annekeís fatherís rage, or that he will coldly arrange for his daughter to be delivered to a Lebensborn, a German maternity home where unmarried girls are urged to contribute to the Master Race.
In the space of one afternoon, the world shifts on its axis, Cyrla taking Annekeís place in the Lebensborn, her own baby barely showing, shrouded in its own dark beginnings. It feels like betrayal to take Annekeís place, but Cyrla is terrified, desperate to escape her circumstances.
At the Lebensborn, the formerly naÔve young woman learns the true horrors of war, the fanaticism and treachery that surround the Third Reich. Here every word, every action carries incalculable risk. Cyrla has no idea who to trust, who will betray, and how a hidden remembrance will expose her to terrible danger.
Waiting to hear from the father of her baby to be delivered from this unbearable ordeal, Cyrla waits impatiently, unsure what to think when there is no word; her baby grows larger by the month. As time runs out, Cyrla is faced with difficult decisions, revealed by one careless action.
In chilling detail, the author exposes the ugly underbelly of Hitlerís regime, Cyrla caught in a world where her identity will mean the destruction of her unborn child. That she should find love, even for a brief time, in such a place is extraordinary, for this is not a place where dreams survive.
From the paranoia of Annekeís village to the harrowing hours when Cyrla assumes Annekeís identity, the delivery rooms where the pure race is born, and the death camps where millions are annihilated, Cyrla is forced to face the unendurable: ďYou canít walk around blind, just because you donít want to see.Ē
In a deeply disturbing story, the author couches innocence and redemption in the drama of a young girl born to know both fear and courage, love and despair, played out against Hitlerís cunning experiment, the Lebensborn.