The Sunflower House by Adriana Allegri

I love finding a new author, especially one that writes historical fiction.  I received an offer to read The Sunflower House, the debut novel from Adriana Allegri, and one glance at the description and I knew it was going to be a good one.


My Thoughts:

Growing up with her aunt and uncle, Allina has lived a good life, even within Nazi Germany. Although she is part Jewish, no one but her relatives are aware, allowing her to live peacefully. When war breaks out, Allina must flee to protect that secret, finding shelter as a nurse at a Lebensborn home, a facility for pure Aryan mothers to give birth to more babies for the Reich. What she discovers there is more than a maternity home, and a chance meeting with Karl, a high up SS officer with secrets of his own, leaves them both in a perilous situation.

I can't believe this was the author's debut novel. It is so well written and very well researched. The idea behind the Lebensborn homes is chilling to start, but reading about how the children were treated is even scarier. One would think that children born for the future would at least be properly cared for, but so much more went on behind closed doors. The reader becomes completely enmeshed in Allina's story and her desire to help the children, then add in Karl and his desire to help her and the secrets he knows, and you have an absolutely can't put it down type of book. I definitely will be reading the next books from this author!

About The Sunflower House:

In a sleepy German village, Allina Strauss’s life seems idyllic: she works at her uncle’s bookshop, makes strudel with her aunt, and spends weekends with her friends and fiancĂ©. But it's 1939, Adolf Hitler is Chancellor, and Allina’s family hides a terrifying secret—her birth mother was Jewish, making her a Mischling.

One fateful night after losing everyone she loves, Allina is forced into service as a nurse at a state-run baby factory called Hochland Home. There, she becomes both witness and participant to the horrors of Heinrich Himmler’s ruthless eugenics program.

The Sunflower House is a meticulously-researched debut historical novel from Adriana Allegri that uncovers the notorious Lebensborn Program of Nazi Germany. Women of “pure” blood stayed in Lebensborn homes for the sole purpose of perpetuating the Aryan population, giving birth to thousands of babies who were adopted out to “good” Nazi families. Allina must keep her Jewish identity a secret in order to survive, but when she discovers the neglect occurring within the home, she’s determined not only to save herself, but also the children in her care.

A tale of one woman’s determination to resist and survive, The Sunflower House is also a love story. When Allina meets Karl, a high-ranking SS officer with secrets of his own, the two must decide how much they are willing to share with each other—and how much they can stand to risk as they join forces to save as many children as they can. The threads of this poignant and heartrending novel weave a tale of loss and love, friendship and betrayal, and the secrets we bury in order to save ourselves.

Preorder The Sunflower House on Amazon.  The novel will release on November 12, 2024.