”The German Midwife” by Mandy Rototham, Avon, 2018

Anka, a German midwife, is imprisoned for political dissidence. She was sent to a labor camp for breaking the law of the Third Reich by helping the Jewish women have their babies in spite of their situation. The first chapter is graphic, but real and beautiful, but also horrifying.

Mandy Rototham kept asking herself, what if? She wrote about Anka, a fictional character portrayed as a midwife with a huge heart beset with doubt and fears. In other words, she’s a very much normal person. There has been speculation that Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun had a child.

Anka’s reputation was well known. She seems to have a special skill in saving babies and mothers in difficult circumstances. She was handpicked to care for and deliver the child of Eva Braun. It’s a closely held secret that Adolf Hitler is the father. The reader cares for Eva whose only interest is to birth a healthy child.

Anka is sent to Berghof, the mountains of Bavaria, in the center of the war decisions. She lands in the lap of luxury while her fellow Germans are suffering such terrible conditions, but what can she do to help her countrymen? Falling in love with a man wearing the uniform of a Shultzstaffel officer compounds her guilt.

Eva Braun is written as a likable person, and we root for her to deliver a beautiful, healthy child in spite of the efforts to use the baby for propaganda purposes.

Every baby is a blessing — even Adolf Hitler’s child.

Anka thought the mother’s body would tell her the process of birth rather what the next step should be. In her opinion, the midwife’s calm demeanor would calm the mother and baby. Nazi doctors were suspicious of her, and knew her sympathies were against the Nazi regime.

Rototham has developed a totally believable story, horrifying and sad considering the outcomes of the tragic circumstances. It’s her first novel and reads like it’s true. She deftly pulls you into the story so that you feel like you’re assisting with the birth. This historical World War II novel is filled with love, trust, suffering and pain.

JoAn Watson Martin is an educator.

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