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2 Beaverton Literature- A to Z

What Is Left the Daughter

by

What Is Left the Daughter Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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 fathers' custody--or taken away.

And then in the space of an afternoon, life falls apart. A note is left under the mat. Someoneknows that Cyrla, sent for safekeeping with her Dutch relatives, is Jewish. She 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 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 Cradlekeens for what we lose in war and sings for the hope we sometimes find.

PRAISE FORMY ENEMY'S CRADLE
 
"Young's youthful characters--especially her heroine, Cyrla--are utterly believable, their longings, fears and hopes etched with an authenticity and sense of urgency that make this story vibrate on the page . . . Intensely romantic in a way that only wartime fiction can be. And it invokes, with a bit of an ache, Anne Frank's optimistic belief in happy endings."--USA Today
 
"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."--Jenna Blum, author ofThose Who Save Us

ONE

 

SEPTEMBER 1941

 

“Not here, too!Nee!

 

From the doorway, I saw soup splash from my aunts ladle onto the tablecloth. These days, there was no fat in the broth to set a stain; still, my heart dropped when she made no move to blot the spill. Since the Germans had come, she had retreated further into herself, fading away in front of me so that sometimes it was like losing my mother all over again.

 

“Of course here, Mies,” my uncle scoffed. His pale face pinked with the easy flush of red-haired men, and he leaned back and took off his glasses to polish them on his napkin. “Did you think the Germans would annex us as a refuge for Jews? The question is only why it took so long.”

 

I brought the bread to the table and took my seat. “Whats happened?”

 

“They posted a set of restrictions for Jews today,” my uncle said. “Theyll scarcely be able to leave their homes.” He inspected his glasses, put them back on. And then he turned to look at me directly.

 

I froze, my fingertips whitening around my spoon, suddenly reminded of something Id witnessed in childhood.

 

Walking home from school, a group of us had come upon a man beating his dog. All of us shouted at him to stop—our numbers made us brave—and some of the bigger boys even tried to pull him off the poor animal. A boy beside me caught my attention; this boy, I knew, was himself often beaten by the older boys. He was crying,“Stop! Stop it!”along with the rest of us. But something in his expression chilled me: satisfaction. When my uncle turned to look at me, I saw that boys face again.

 

“Things will be different now, Cyrla.”

 

I dropped my gaze to my plate, but I felt my heart begin to pound. Was he weighing the risk of having me in his home?

 

Hishome. I stared down at the white tablecloth. Beneath it, a table rug was edged with gold silk fringe. When I had first arrived it had seemed strange to cover a table this way, but now I knew every color and pattern of its design. I lifted my eyes to take in the room I had come to love: the tall windows painted crisp white overlooking our small courtyard; the three watercolors of the Rijksmuseum hanging in a column on their braided cord; the glimpse into the parlor beyond the burgundy velvet drapes, where the piano stood in the corner, necklaced with framed photographs of our family. My heart began to beat even faster—where did I belong if not here?

 

I glanced at my cousin—Anneke was my safe passage through the treacherous landscape of my uncles world. But she had been distracted all day, drifting away whenever Id tried to talk to her, as if she was harboring a secret. She hadnt even heard her fathers threat.

 

“What?” I kept my voice calm. “What will be different here?”

 

He was cutting the bread. He didnt stop, but I saw the warning look he gave my aunt. “Everything.” He cut three slices from the loaf and then laid the knife down carefully. “Everything will be different.”

 

I drew the loaf toward me, picked up the knife as deliberately as a chess piece, and cut a fourth slice. I laid the knife back on the board, then placed my hands on my lap so he wouldnt see them trembling. I lifted my chin and leveled my eyes at him. “You counted wrong, Uncle,” I said. He looked away, but his face was dark as a bruise.

 

At last the meal was over. My uncle returned to his shop to take care of his bookkeeping, and my aunt and Anneke and I cleared the table and went into the kitchen to wash the dishes. We worked in silence; I in my fear, my aunt in her sadness, Anneke deep in her secret.

 

Suddenly Anneke cried out. The bread knife clattered to the floor and she held up her hand; blood streamed into the basin of suds, tingeing the bubbles pink. I grabbed a dishcloth and pressed it around Annekes hand, then led her to the window seat. She sank down and stared at the blood seeping through the dishcloth as though it was a curiosity. I grew afraid, then. Anneke was vain about her hands, would go without her ration of milk sometimes to soak them in it instead, and she could still find nail polish when it seemed no one in Holland had such a luxury. If she didnt carry on about a cut deep enough to scar, then her secret was very big.

 

My aunt knelt to examine the wound, chiding her for her carelessness. Anneke closed her eyes and tipped her head back; with her free hand she stroked the hollow at the base of her throat with a contented smile. It was the look she wore when she crept back into our room in the middle of the night . . . flushed and deepened, rearranged.

 

I did not like Karl.

 

And then I knew.

 

“What have you done?” I whispered to her when my aunt left to fetch the disinfectant and muslin.

 

“Later,” she whispered back. “When everyone is asleep.”

 

There was ironing and darning to do, and that night it seemed to take forever. We listened to Hugo Wolf s music on the phonograph while we did these chores, and I wished for silence again because for the first time I could hear how the tragedy of Wolf s life flowed through his music. The beauty itself was doomed. When my aunt said good night, Anneke and I exchanged looks and went upstairs as well.

 

We washed quickly and put on our nightclothes. I couldnt wait another moment. “Tell me now.”

 

My cousin turned to me, and Id never seen her smile so beautifully.

 

“A wonderful thing, Cyrla,” she said, reaching down to stroke her belly.

 

The cut on her finger had begun to bleed again; the bandage was soaked through. As she stood in front of me smiling and caressing her belly, a smear of blood bloomed across the pale blue cotton of her nightgown.

 

 

TWO

 

“Im leaving. Im leaving here!” Now Anneke could hardly stop talking. “Well get married here, at the town hall I suppose. Karls family lives outside Hamburg—maybe well get a place there when the war is over, with a garden for children, near a park, maybe. . . .Hamburg, Cyrla!”

 

“Shhhhhh!” I quieted her. “Shell hear.” It wasnt my aunt we were careful of, but Mrs. Bakker in the next house, which shared a wall with ours. She was old and had nothing better to do with her days than spy on people and gossip about what shed learned. She sat in her front parlor all morning long and watched the goings-on of Tielman Oemstraat through the two mirrors attached to her windows. We knew from her coughing that her bedroom was next to ours, and we didnt think it would be beneath her to hold a glass to the wall. But I didnt really care about Mrs. Bakker at all. I wanted to stop Annekes words.

 

I unwrapped her finger and cleaned it with water from the wash pitcher. “Change your nightgown. Ill go downstairs for more bandages.” Out in the hall, I made myself breathe calmly again. I gathered the muslin strips, and also a cup of milk and a plate ofspekulaas—Anneke had hardly eaten at supper, but she loved the little spice cookies she smuggled home from the bakery. If I distracted her, I wouldnt have to hear her plans. And if she saw how much she needed me, she might understand that it was a mistake to leave. It was always a mistake to leave.

 

We sat on her bed and I dressed her finger; I couldnt look into her face although I felt her studying mine. “Are you sure? And how did this even . . . werent you careful . . . ?”

 

Anneke looked away. “These things happen.” Then she broke into her brilliant smile, the one that always disarmed me. “A baby . . . think of it!”

 

I wrapped my arms around her and laid my head on her chest, breathing in the scent she brought home to us from the bakery each day—baked sugar, sweet and warm, so perfectly suited to her. What scent clung to me, I wondered. Vinegar from the pickling Id been doing all week? Lye from the upholstery shop?

 

Anneke stroked the tears from my cheeks. “Im sorry, Cyrla,” she said. “Ill miss you so much. More than anyone else.”

 

That was my cousins way. Sometimes she was careless with my feelings—not in cruelty, but in the innocent way that beautiful girls sometimes have, as if being thoughtful were a skill they had never needed to learn. But when she did think of me, her sweetness, completely unmeasured, would fill me with shame.

 

“But Im so happy!” she cried, as if her face werent already telling me this. “And hes so handsome!” She fell back onto the bed, clutching her heart. “He looks just like Rhett Butler, dont you think?”

 

I sighed in mock exasperation. “He looks nothing like Rhett Butler, for heavens sakes. For one thing, hes blond.”

 

Anneke waved this detail away with her bandaged hand.

 

“And he has blue eyes. And no mustache.” I rose and brought the glass of milk from the dresser over to her night table. “All right. Hes handsome. But frankly, my dear, I dont give a damn.”

 

Anneke laughed and sat up. “Youll be an aunt! And the war will be over soon, and then you can visit.”

 

 

Copyright © 2008 by Sara Young

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work should be submitted online at www.harcourt.com/contact or mailed to the following address: Permissions Department, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32887–6777.

 

"In this compelling first novel set against the little known Nazi Lebensborn program, Sara Young creates a heroine the reader will not easily forget. 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." --Anne Leclaire, ENTERING NORMAL 

 

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. Someoneknows 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.

Synopsis:

A novel about the murder of a German youth in Canada during WWII.

Synopsis:

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 fathers' custody--or taken away.

And then in the space of an afternoon, life falls apart. A note is left under the mat. Someone knows that Cyrla, sent for safekeeping with her Dutch relatives, is Jewish. She 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 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.

Synopsis:

“A novel about the illogic of love and the violent chaos it leaves in its wake.”—New York Times

Seventeen-year-old Wyatt Hillyer is suddenly orphaned when his parents, within hours of each other, jump off two different bridges—the result of their separate involvements with the same compelling woman, a Halifax switchboard operator and aspiring actress. The suicides cause Wyatt to move to small-town Middle Economy to live with his uncle, aunt, and ravishing cousin Tilda.

        Setting in motion the novels chain of life-altering passions and the wartime perfidy at its core is the arrival of the German student Hans Mohring. Actual historical incidents—including a German U-boats sinking of the Nova Scotia-Newfoundland ferry Caribou—lend intense narrative power to Normans uncannily layered story.

        Wyatts account of the astonishing events leading up to his fathering a beloved daughter spills out twenty-one years later. An utterly stirring novel, What Is Left the Daughter is Howard Norman at his celebrated best.

“Norman writes with spare elegance and dry humor, and the extraordinary emotional power of his slim new novel is earned with authentic grace.

About the Author

HOWARD NORMAN is a three-time winner of National Endowment for the Arts fellowships and a winner of the Lannan Award for fiction. His 1987 novel, The Northern Lights, was nominated for a National Book Award, as was his 1994 novel The Bird Artist. He is also author of the novels The Museum Guard, The Haunting of L, and Devotion. His books have been translated into twelve languages. Norman teaches in the MFA program at the University of Maryland. He lives in Washington, D.C., and Vermont with his wife and daughter.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780547521824
Author:
Norman, Howard
Publisher:
Mariner Books
Author:
Young, Sara
Author:
Davies, Peter Ho
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
20110531
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
A&#8221;&amp;#8212;<I>Entertainment Weekly</I></P>
Language:
English
Pages:
264
Dimensions:
8 x 5.31 in 1 lb

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Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

What Is Left the Daughter Used Trade Paper
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Product details 264 pages Mariner Books - English 9780547521824 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,

A novel about the murder of a German youth in Canada during WWII.

"Synopsis" by ,

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 fathers' custody--or taken away.

And then in the space of an afternoon, life falls apart. A note is left under the mat. Someone knows that Cyrla, sent for safekeeping with her Dutch relatives, is Jewish. She 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 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.

"Synopsis" by ,

“A novel about the illogic of love and the violent chaos it leaves in its wake.”&#8212;New York Times

Seventeen-year-old Wyatt Hillyer is suddenly orphaned when his parents, within hours of each other, jump off two different bridges&#8212;the result of their separate involvements with the same compelling woman, a Halifax switchboard operator and aspiring actress. The suicides cause Wyatt to move to small-town Middle Economy to live with his uncle, aunt, and ravishing cousin Tilda.

        Setting in motion the novels chain of life-altering passions and the wartime perfidy at its core is the arrival of the German student Hans Mohring. Actual historical incidents&#8212;including a German U-boats sinking of the Nova Scotia-Newfoundland ferry Caribou&#8212;lend intense narrative power to Normans uncannily layered story.

        Wyatts account of the astonishing events leading up to his fathering a beloved daughter spills out twenty-one years later. An utterly stirring novel, What Is Left the Daughter is Howard Norman at his celebrated best.

“Norman writes with spare elegance and dry humor, and the extraordinary emotional power of his slim new novel is earned with authentic grace.

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