Excerpt from My Enemy's Cradle by Sara Young (Pennypacker), plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

My Enemy's Cradle

by Sara Young (Pennypacker)

My Enemy's Cradle
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jan 2008, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 2008, 384 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Stacey Brownlie

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


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 couldn't wait another moment. "Tell me now."

My cousin turned to me, and I'd 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

"I'm leaving. I'm leaving here!" Now Anneke could hardly stop talking. "We'll get married here, at the town hall I suppose. Karl's family lives outside Hamburg—maybe we'll get a place there when the war is over, with a garden for children, near a park, maybe. . . .Hamburg, Cyrla!"

"Shhhhhh!" I quieted her. "She'll hear." It wasn't 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 she'd 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 didn't think it would be beneath her to hold a glass to the wall. But I didn't really care about Mrs. Bakker at all. I wanted to stop Anneke's words.

I unwrapped her finger and cleaned it with water from the wash pitcher. "Change your nightgown. I'll 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 of spekulaas—Anneke had hardly eaten at supper, but she loved the little spice cookies she smuggled home from the bakery. If I distracted her, I wouldn't 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 couldn't look into her face although I felt her studying mine. "Are you sure? And how did this even . . . weren't 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 I'd been doing all week? Lye from the upholstery shop?

Anneke stroked the tears from my cheeks. "I'm sorry, Cyrla," she said. "I'll miss you so much. More than anyone else."

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.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One-Month Free Membership

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: I Contain Multitudes
    I Contain Multitudes
    by Ed Yong
    If a stranger were to accost you on the street and tell you that, from birth, you have never been ...
  • Book Jacket: Night of the Animals
    Night of the Animals
    by Bill Broun
    Debut novelist Bill Broun is a gentle, exquisite literary surgeon. His protagonist, 90-year-old ...
  • Book Jacket: My Name Is Leon
    My Name Is Leon
    by Kit De Waal
    Kit de Waal's striking debut, My Name is Leon, has inspired this big, long, complicated question: ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Tea Planter's Wife
    by Dinah Jefferies

    An utterly engrossing, compulsive page-turner set in 1920s Ceylon.

    Read Member Reviews

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Under the Udala Trees
by Chinelo Okparanta

Raw, emotionally intelligent and unflinchingly honest--a triumph.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Blood at the Root

Blood at the Root

"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

D C Y C Before T A H

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.