Try an extract from Mandy Robotham’s powerful debut, The German Midwife

Try an extract from Mandy Robotham’s powerful debut, The German Midwife

Germany, January 1944

For a few moments, the hut was as quiet as it ever could be in the early hours, a near silence broken only by the sound of a few feminine snores. The night monitor padded up and down the lines of bunks with her stick, on the lookout for rats preying on the women’s still limbs, ready to swipe at the voracious predators. Small clouds of human breath rose from the top bunks as it met with the icy, still air – strange not to hear the women coughing in turn, a symphony of ribs racked by the force of infection on their piteous lungs, as if just one more hack would crack their chests wide open. Every thirty seconds, the darkness was split by pinpricks of white as the searchlight did its endless sweep through the holes in the flimsy planks, in the only place we could call home.

I was dozing at the front of the hut, knowing Irena was in the early stages. A sudden cry from her bunk next to the stove broke the silence, as a fierce contraction coiled within her and split her uneasy sleep, spilling through her broken teeth.

‘Anke, Anke,’ she cried. ‘No, no, no . . . Make it stop.’

Her distress wasn’t of weakness – Irena had done this twice before in peacetime – but of the inevitable result of this process, of labour. A birth. Her baby would be born, and that to Irena was her worst nightmare. While her baby lay inside, occasionally kicking and showing signs it had not sucked away its mother’s life juices and still found wanting, there was hope. On the outside, hope diminished rapidly.

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Reviews

Mandy Robotham's The German Midwife is a Powerful and Unforgettable Debut

Review | Our Review

10 August 2020

Mandy Robotham's The German Midwife is a Powerful and Unforgettable Debut

    Mandy Robotham Shares the Inspiration Behind her Incredible Debut, The German Midwife

    Review | Author Related

    10 August 2020

    Mandy Robotham Shares the Inspiration Behind her Incredible Debut, The German Midwife

      Synopsis

      An enthralling tale from the #1 Globe and Mail and USA Today Best Selling Author.“A powerful, haunting debut”-Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Alice NetworkAn enthralling new tale of courage, betrayal and survival in the hardest of circumstances that readers of The Tattooist of Auschwitz, The Secret Orphan and The Man Who Broke into Auschwitz 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?∗Published in the UK as A Woman of War∗Mandy Robotham's highly awaited next book, The Secret Messenger, is out now.
      Mandy Robotham
      About the author

      Mandy Robotham

      Mandy Robotham has been an aspiring author since the age of nine, but was waylaid by journalism and later enticed by birth. She's now a practising midwife who writes about birth, death, love and everything else in between. She graduated with an MA in Creative Writing from Oxford Brookes University. This is her first novel.

      Books by Mandy Robotham

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