Book Review: “The German Midwife” by Mandy Robotham

Well, here we are!

This is my last book review to be included in my “20 Books In 2020” reading challenge. I saw this one day while I was scrolling through KU and something about the cover just made me click it and read the blurb, and once I did that I was instantly intrigued with the concept. What if Evan Braun had had a child? This question would play with me while I was reading and after I had finished it.

If you are interested in historical fiction, especially if it is set in the depths of World War II with all of its ugly history dealing with an evil dictator like Adolf Hitler and of course with the aftermath of the Holocaust and its survivors. There are very few times that a book itself would read like if you were sitting in a movie theater watching it on the biggest screen and the volume blasted as loud as it can to pull you into it ever more.


51X-kIIkghLAn enthralling new tale of courage, betrayal and survival in the hardest of circumstances that readers of The Tattooist of Auschwitz, The Secret Orphan and My Name is Eva will love.

Germany, 1944. A prisoner in the camps, Anke Hoff is doing what she can to keep her pregnant campmates and their newborns alive.

But when Anke’s work is noticed, she is chosen for a task more dangerous than she could ever have imagined. Eva Braun is pregnant with the Führer’s child, and Anke is assigned as her midwife.

Before long, Anke is faced with an impossible choice. Does she serve the Reich she loathes and keep the baby alive? Or does she sacrifice an innocent child for the good of a broken world?


When I first started reading it on July 20th, my only note I put on the status update on Goodreads was “On chapter 6 and it’s already a doozy!” I am familiar with the hardships that the Jews dealt with during their time either hiding from the SS soldiers and being starved and worked to death in various camps all over Europe. While I was in high school, I took a course called “Novels” and we read Elie Weisel’s Night. This was the first time I ever read a book about a survivor’s time in the concertation camps and I literally thought I would never read a book from that time period ever again.

After reading about Enjeela and Malala’s stories escaping their war-torn homelands earlier this year, I figured I couldn’t necessarily talk myself out of not reading a book set in this time frame.

Our main character Anke Hoff, is the everyday woman in the mid-1940’s, she was young but trapped in the gray area of being a German but not supporting Adolf Hitler and The Reich. She was also helping all women–including Jewish–give birth to their children. The story is given to you in two different parts, so you begin with the character about Irena, a Jewish woman giving birth in a crowded and nasty hut full of other women, including Anke and her helper Rosa. You learn about the ins and outs of bringing a baby into the world and how Jewish babies were stripped away from their mothers and put to death for all to hear in the camp.

The second part of the story are these diary-like entries, they include dates and estimated locations. These tell the story of Anke’s life before ending up in the camps. You get to see everything that happens within a hospital before the war erupted and how she is captured by the Gestapo and eventually sent to a camp. At first, this section was my least favorite because I thought it would be too much information for the reader, including myself to separate while reading about her current living situation. However, it was in this part that talked about how the Nazi doctors and officials treated babies with physical disabilities. This is the reason why in my first note I said “it was a doozy” because I wasn’t necessarily expecting it, but while I was sad to learn what would happen to this innocent babies, it really gave me a sense of who Anke was as not only a midwife but a human being at this time.

In a way to luminate that Anke is a regular woman, the author set up a love interest, and I will be honest, I wasn’t much of a fan for it in the beginning, but when we learn more about Dieter Stenz, the quicker I was willing to overlook my initial reaction to him. As the story was ending and we learn what happens to him, my emotions were all over the place! It also didn’t help that this was the final book in my Goodreads challenge for the year. If you didn’t know by now, I finished 20 books in eight months!

The final thing I enjoyed about this story was that the author Mandy Robotham, is actually a real midwife. This made me really happy to learn this in the beginning because I knew she would include anything she has learned throughout her medical schooling and career as a midwife too. It also made me realize that everything that was discussed about childbirth inside the camps and domestic life in the 1930’s and 40’s could be true in some form despite the fact that the story is fictionalized. So, if you are interested in learning about midwifery, enjoy reading historical fiction and/or a good ‘what if’ kind of story, then you will love this book; if you decide to read it, please let me know your thoughts about it.

If you have read Mandy Robotham’s first novel “The German Midwife” or “A Woman Of War” as it was titled in the United Kingdom? What were your thoughts about Anke Hoff’s story? 

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REVIEW | The Society

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Howdy!

This month was a good month to catch up on TV shows that I’ve been meaning to watch for a while, like The Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina, Supergirl and finally The Society. I know this one came out in May, but I kind of kept dodging it because I really didn’t think I would enjoy it, but then I caved and realized I was wrong with my initial impression of it.

Backstory

The Society is a story of 200+ teens who think they are about to go off on a camping trip as part of their final field trip together before graduating from high school an making their way to various colleges. They are dropped off at main square of their hometown of West Ham, to find themselves not with their families anymore. So, what’s their first reaction to this news? Well, to have a big party of course! Afterwards they find out the hard truth of how to be an adult and survive on their own without anyone helping them.

It is up to them to either work together or create chaos. When someone ens up killed, they have to figure out how to achieve justice an protect everyone when they no longer have a police force in their wing. Everything normal teenagers take for granted on a daily basis, is being thrown in their faces to the harshest reality that they will have to rebuild what they love an move on from their childish games.

What I Really Thought

Okay, so I will try my harest to not reveal everything, but I do have a lot of thoughts so if you want to, you can just skip this section!

There were a good balance of what I like and what I didn’t like about it. I guess in a way, I half expected it to have some supernatural effect to it, which in a way it does, but I mean like a mythology beast that haunts the town or something like that. When that never happened I was kicking myself a bit because I was so iffy about the show itself. It wasn’t until the last episode that I actually started to like it more.

The things that I did like about it were things about the characters, such as their personalities and the fact that we get elements of everyday life. I think adding both the deaf and LBGTQ+ communities were great! They never shied away from the possibility of gun violence, domestic violence, mental illness, pregnancy and inexperienced childbirth being parts of the story. It is modern story of survival and it was nice to see 17-19 year old kids telling the story for once.

It was also like a test to see how much they remembered their studies too. After everything that happened with the trail of you-know-who, I immediately went into the bowels of my brain to see if there was a way that they could serve justice is by a firing squad, which is what they demonstrated on the show and I have to say, that is a very brave thing to do for many reasons. If you don’t have a way to secure your prisoners besides locking them up in wine cellars, the death penalty could be an option. A lot of people may not agree to it, but in order to show others that if you’re stupid enough to make a choice like this, this is what happens as a consequence. I hate that fact a single person had to make that type of result, but I fully agreed with that person.

Now there were some things that I didn’t like, kind of goes with the previous paragraph as the leader demands that all guns are to be taken away. I know they needed to be tested to see if they matched the bullet that killed “C” but keeping them for safe keeping really strike a nerve with me as I think this is wrong. I don’t think anybody else what do anything like that again–then maybe besides Campbell! That’s one of our biggest arguments now, whether or not to remove all firearms, but it’s like demonizing the pit bull breeds, it’s not their fault, it is the one that yields the power and in both cases people are the heart of the issue.

Lastly, I wasn’t thrilled when it was announced that instead of continuing the role of being the leader of their establishment, they held elections. I know this is another part of being an American, but considering how the season ended, I really hated the idea. The thing about having chores or living together to save resources were smart! When “H” vowed that things should be different, people should be thinking of themselves and not of the others living next door really made me angry because that’s just somebody’s ego talking and not giving a damn about what happens in the future. By the time the new season returns, we’ll see that these new rulers of West Ham were just in over their heads and chaos will really take place.

Have you watched Netflix’s “The Society” yet? What were some of your thoughts about the plot and overall story? did you enjoy it or hate it?

 

 

Royal Baby | Classic & Popular English Names!

Howdy!

I have been wanting to publish this post for MONTHS! Back in November, I decided to talk to you about all of my thoughts about The Duke and Duchess of Sussex expecting their first child! However, I wanted to have time to really think about the names that this child would be called, and I am finally ready to tell you, plus give you a few other cute English names that could help give you a royal edge as well!

Since it was confirmed that Meghan would either give birth sometime in April or early May, I knew the middle of March would be the perfect time to release this post to the world as part of the last minute pickings before the newest Windsor baby would arrive and we figure out how wrong (or right) we were with our choices! I still believe what I said in my previous post about their child being referred to as “Lord” or “Lady” instead of having a princely title. However, I realized I forgot something important to keep in mind if they do indeed have a boy, and that is the first son is usually given the title “Viscount” and the second son is the one to be called “Lord” or “Honourable”instead! That’s all I wanted to say before we go any further into the post.

One of the differences between The Duke and Duchess of Sussex and The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge is that since Prince William is the first son to the throne after his father Charles, Prince Of Wales, is that he and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge needed to use respectful and royalty-type names for their children. Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis are all very well-loved among the public and the royal family. However, I never got that feeling with Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess Of Sussex. They are really a royal couple of the modern age. So, I added a section in the picture above of both sexes of names that are usually popular with regular couples in both America and Great Britain. I also needed to keep in mind that instead of using his real name: Henry, he goes by his nickname “Harry” and the same goes with The Duchess as her first name is Rachel when she uses her middle name “Meghan” so when I began to look for possible names for their little one, I had pick out names that could work out for these situations too!

I’m going to begin with talking about the possible girl names. I have four that jumped out at me the most and could be good first names and they were…

HENRIETTA LOUISE: The origins for this name is of course, the female variation of Henry. Although it is an older name, I still think it would be cute to see again. It already has royal quality as it was used with King Charles I’s wife Henrietta Maria. Nicknames include: Hattie, Etta, and Ree.

MATILDA JANE: This name comes from Germany, and means “mighty”. It has shown up throughout the English and Scottish royals. There’s another version that has been pretty popular throughout the many generations of the royal family, and that is “Maud” but I feel this has some promise because it’s sweet and sort of a formal name to use the name “Tillie” as this has grown in popularity recently. Nicknames include: Mattie, and Tilda.

NORA ELIZABETH: I picked this because it could play out as both a first name or a nickname for the name “Eleanor” instead. Nora is adorable and little that I feel like it has a big following, especially over the last couple of years. The name Eleanor, has been used a lot throughout British history, the first one to come to mind is Eleanor of Aquitaine, the Queen Consort of Henry II of England.

SOPHIA DIANA: This has been my #1 pick for the past four months! It was really popular here in the US for a few years, and I feel it is still is well-used but I think it could gain the top spot back on the various yearly name lists if they use it too. Unfortunately, the name “Sophia” hasn’t been used among the royals as much. The last one was King George III’s wife and Queen Consort, Sophia Charlotte, and their daughter Princess Sophia, she never married and has no descendants. Nicknames include: Sophie and Fia.

Now it is time for the boy names and I don’t know why, but I always have difficulty coming up with clever boy names. Trust me, I didn’t feel like I was much help to my sister when she found out that she was having a boy instead of a girl. However, there are a few names on this list that are a better chance of appearing with The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, so I hope you like this mini stack of names too!

CHARLES HENRY: I think after Prince Louis’s birth and name reveal, everybody started to realize that the royal family really like to repeat names, especially if they have a strong meaning for the couple! That’s why I picked Charles, because let’s face it, there is a greater chance of this name showing up than Meghan’s own father! The name Charles though has had a bad rap throughout British royal history, such as the beheading of King Charles I, but since times have changed and evolved, I think the name can take a whole new life in the modern world! Nicknames include: Charlie and Hank.

NICHOLAS GEORGE: The name Nicholas isn’t common among the British royal family, as much as other monarchies around the world. The reason why I put it on the traditional side is because, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia was first cousins to George V. I think the name is very strong and kind of spunky, I’ve always loved it and it would be nice to see it here! Nicknames include: Nick, Nicky, and Nico.

OLIVER WILLIAM: Now when I was thinking of the lesser classical names, I was pretty stumped for a good few months. So, I had to look online at various baby name websites to see what was popular in the last year and Oliver jumped out at me and I thought, this is really cute! It has the sophistication to be a possible royal name, but it has also has its modern flare as well. And I can definitely see the nickname “Ollie” being used for him too!

SPENCER JOSEPH: This is the name that everybody is hoping and praying for, since Prince Harry is seen to be more attached to Princess Diana’s family legacy and her siblings. Since my last post, I discussed that there could be a small possibility that if the first born son, could be awarded with the title of Earl of Spencer down the line, but after finding out that the current heir, Charles, has two sons, it kind of made me rethink my original notion. I think the name itself is very regal, and cute for a baby boy of the 21st Century! Nicknames include: Spence, Joe, and Joey.

Before I go, I wanted to let you all know that I will be starting a “little” tag on my blog’s Facebook page starting in April! It’s called the ABC Baby Names Tag and instead of doing it all at once, I’ve separated it out into six months. So, every Wednesday from April to the end of September, there will be TWO names for every letter of the alphabet. I would love for you to list your favorites in the comments each week too!

So, now I am officially finished with the post! I’m comfortable with my last minute choices and I believe any one of them have a strong case against them! My mom was very surprised with them as well! And now we wait…

Are you curious as to what the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will name their child? Do you have any guesses as to what he or she could be named too? Let me know!

Becoming An Auntie

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Howdy!

What is it about babies that’s so intoxicating? I know they smell amazing and I’m still shocked that Glade or Yankee Candle hasn’t figured out a way to bottle that stuff up by now, but seriously, why do they have the power to take control of a person so fast?

Whenever my mom takes away Nolan from my bed, after having a time of snuggles, I am so sad, having a little human just laying out on a white fleece blanket is so cute and addicting! He looks so conformable and warm, but he has so much innocence upon his wrinkled face. His strawberry blond hair sticks up on the top of his head, and as he stretches out his arms and legs. At this point in his life, he doesn’t know about my disability. He just knows she likes to do goofy faces and sing to him. You feel mesmerized, and so out of touch with your surroundings because you don’t want to miss out on anything.

On June 12th, my sister went to her last check up to see if she was dilated any more than the day before. This pregnancy wasn’t a walk in the park for her. She was pretty miserable throughout the whole thing, and constantly asked my mom and some of her friends, who recently had babies, if they ever experienced this or that. Little man has been wanting to come out of the “bat cave” since April! So when she found that it was time to go to the hospital to get this show on the road, she was nervous but I’m sure kind of excited to finally met him after all this time.

My day started normally, well, actually I didn’t sleep very well the night before so I was actually looking forward to sleeping in that morning. That plan shattered when my Aunt Laurie texted me that Blondie was on her way to the hospital, within five seconds after reading that, my mom called my dad to get dressed. At 10am, we got there to their fairly large room and we sat in our uncomfortable chairs–including my push wheelchair! We sat in there and talked, but the majority of the time everybody was on their phones. I was happy that I decided to bring along a book, because I read the crap out of it in those fourteen hours!

My parents and I went outside a couple times, just to get out of that room for a bit. They went out a lot more than I did though. My dad and I ate down in the cafeteria for lunch, we had to eat a salad because that was the only thing that looked good. Surprisingly, we both enjoyed it, even though we both kept farting through the rest of the day! After we went down to the gift shop and looked around, we got around the little onesies with funny sayings but what got my attention were these booties, we could find IU and Purdue pretty easily, but in the corner of my eye I spotted a navy blue and hoped that they were Butler booties and they were! So, of course, we had to get them for him because he already has a Butler onesie, he needs something to keep his little toes warm too!

She had to have her doctor break her water, she was really afraid of it and at this time, dad had to leave the room (but he left like three separate times because he doesn’t like to his girls cry) and I sat in my chair facing the inside of the bathroom, with tears rolling down my face. I don’t like to hear/see her cry either! Blondie went through nine hours before caving in to get the epidural done and which case, we all had to leave the room. Afterwards, she started to become very relaxed, they gave her a “peanut” which is this inflatable, peanut shaped ball to put in between her legs to help him come down. The epidural worked so well, that her legs were so numb that she had a hard time moving them on her own, and for some odd reason I thought about the time when we went into a hot tub for the first time and how it took three people to get me out because my lower half was asleep!

When she finally reached ten centimeters, my dad and I were forced to leave the room and go wait in their waiting room. My parents are not patient by any means, but I am. I was very proud of myself and how I did sitting in the chair, keeping to my book. As we sat in the waiting room, watching Impractical Jokers on the television. My mom finally texted him that he was here after what felt like an hour. He got stuck coming out and they had some issues, but they were both fine. Once he got that message, we waited outside the door, which was a bad idea for dad because he was already having trouble with his knees.

Little Nolan Wayne was born on June 13th, and weighed 7 pounds, 8 ounces and was 21 inches long! I found out that they did name him after Christopher Nolan, who directed The Dark Knight series, but Brandon also said he was named for Nolan Range, I guess he voiced or came up with the character Deadpool. Wayne is actually Brandon’s middle name, but since he’s a big Batman/Bruce Wayne fan, it kind of fits there too!

Once we were finally allowed into the room, it was so surreal.

As we left the room to get ready for the birth, I thought to myself “this is when everything changes. She won’t be just your sister, she’ll be a mommy too.” So to hear this little baby crying outside the room for the first time was weird but amazing. We stayed for a little bit, but we eventually went home and ate our McDonald’s and went to bed. Later that morning, we came back and they were in their new room, and this time Blondie was doing skin to skin with him and I finally got to see his face. Before we went back home, I actually got to hold the little tyke and it was so strange to feel his weight on my belly and the movements of his fingers underneath my lifeless hands.

He just turned a month old last week, so he’s growing stronger and has the face of my dad! He smiles and tends to smirk to anybody that is speaking to him.  He’s chilled out on my bed many times and threw a punch, kicked my stomach and thighs a few times. I like to kiss the top of his head. I just enjoy watching the different facial reactions appear, like his content sigh he makes when he’s comfortable and of course the poop-y expressions. He is just a sweet thing, and I can’t believe I am this little rugrat’s auntie now!

snowflake

Nolan’s Nursery Tour!

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Howdy!

Well… he’s here!

We all thought he’d either arrive the day before but instead she went into labor at like 10am Tuesday and had him at almost one o’clock Wednesday morning! I’m hoping to actually write another blog post in a couple of days and that’ll have more of the stuff that happened during both labor and delivery, so you’l just have to be a little patient for me, because I’m both visiting and trying to find my sleep on that of it.

Today though, I am taking you through Nolan’s room! My mom and I went over to their apartment the first weekend of the month to help her organize it, because between the first baby shower, Brandon’s family also came down a few days later, the room itself looked like it exploded! Luckily, by the time we came over Blondie and Brandon had tried to clean up most of it, so not only could you see the floor but it had the makings of a really cute room.

This is how it looked before any of us went through it…

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It had been a long time since we went over to their apartment, well, I can’t say that, because before heading to the villas to start her baby shower, my mom did go inside to see if there was anything they needed help with so she got to see Chipper and the cats. She swore up and down she didn’t hold Otis, but I didn’t believe her! So when we both came through the door, Chipper was SO excited! He was jumping up and down and whining, he’s never done before, and the cats were even happy to see us. I had both Samuel and Otis sniffing and checking me out.

We “helped” clean the rest of Nolan’s clothes, I attempted to fold onesies on the foot stool of the rocking chair, and that was a disaster of itself! I can fold rags and large towels, but me and baby clothes are apparently another story! The only thing I was able to do was after they were washed, I turned them out again because I guess they have to be inside out to get them clean, which as I thought about it, I didn’t think that was so smart because how are you going to know the stain is actually gone without flipping them around again? I thought that was a stupid idea, but that’s me for you.

34208077_985313604978634_3722926065044160512_nBoth Chipper and Gru were the ones who were basically attached to Blondie’s hip as we were messing around in his room. Chipper just wanted attention and kept going in and out of the room, and since my wheelchair isn’t big enough to block the door frame, he was able to go in and out freely. Gru, however, sat on the rocking chair with Blondie for the longest time! He’s the one that likes to lick and shove people over, and there was literally no room for the two of them on that chair, so she gave up and since he wanted to lay out and sleep, she put him in the pack n play. Don’t worry, Brandon’s Saints’s blanket was underneath him the whole time!

We didn’t move a lot of stuff, they had the dressers and crib where they won’t be in the way or anything. It was mostly putting up his clothes in the already crowded closet and putting up the pack n play as he really won’t need it this early, he’ll mostly be in the swing (he doesn’t like it!), which goes faster than we all were really comfortable with! And they also have the bassinet in their bedroom, that Toni enjoys sleeping underneath I guess. The only things that mom did scoot over was the rocking chair and trash can to the other side of the changing table!

The bed situation was pretty hilarious though. As you will see in a bit, Nolan won’t need anymore stuffed animals as the whole thing was covered with different ones when we got there! You had Blondie’s love of both rottweilers and sloths on full display along with Brandon’s childhood Pokemon characters too! The crib, stroller, bassinet, and car seat were the first things they were given back in December through February I think! Everything else has been from either Aunt Cindy or Brandon’s family.

So I think that’s it, that’s all we really did there. Who know little over a week later, he’d actually be here already. Thank god, everything’s clean and ready for him!

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