Thursday, June 20, 2019

Blog Tour - Born Survivors: Three Young Mothers and Their Extraordinary Story of Courage, Defiance, and Hope by Wendy Holden

  • Title: Born Survivors: Three Young Mothers and Their Extraordinary Story of Courage, Defiance, and Hope
  • Author: Wendy Holden
  • Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers
  • Publication Date: May 5, 2015
  • Genre: Jewish History, Non-fiction, Memoir
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The Nazis murdered their husbands but concentration camp prisoners Priska, Rachel, and Anka would not let evil take their unborn children too—a remarkable true story that will appeal to readers of The Lost and The Nazi Officer’s Wife, Born Survivors celebrates three mothers who defied death to give their children life.

Eastern Europe, 1944: Three women believe they are pregnant, but are torn from their husbands before they can be certain. Rachel is sent to Auschwitz, unaware that her husband has been shot. Priska and her husband travel there together, but are immediately separated. Also at Auschwitz, Anka hopes in vain to be reunited with her husband. With the rest of their families gassed, these young wives are determined to hold on to all they have left—their lives, and those of their unborn babies. Having concealed their condition from infamous Nazi doctor Josef Mengele, they are forced to work and almost starved to death, living in daily fear of their pregnancies being detected by the SS.

In April 1945, as the Allies close in, Priska gives birth. She and her baby, along with Anka, Rachel, and the remaining inmates, are sent to Mauthausen concentration camp on a hellish seventeen-day train journey. Rachel gives birth on the train, and Anka at the camp gates. All believe they will die, but then a miracle occurs. The gas chamber runs out of Zyklon-B, and as the Allied troops near, the SS flee. Against all odds, the three mothers and their newborns survive their treacherous journey to freedom.

On the seventieth anniversary of Mauthausen’s liberation from the Nazis by American soldiers, renowned biographer Wendy Holden recounts this extraordinary story of three children united by their mothers’ unbelievable—yet ultimately successful—fight for survival.

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Even though it occurred more than 70 years ago, the story’s truth is so chillingly portrayed that it seems as if it could have happened recently.... An engrossing, intense, and highly descriptive narrative chronicling the ghastly conditions three pregnant women suffered through at the hands of the Nazis.” (Kirkus Reviews)

Wendy Holden (also occasionally known as Taylor Holden) is a novelist, non-fiction author, biographer, and ghostwriter, as well as a former journalist for the London Daily Telegraph.

Since leaving newspapers in 1996, she has written more than thirty books, including numerous international bestsellers and the acclaimed novel The Sense of Paper, published by Random House, New York. Her latest book Born Survivors, the story of three young mothers who hid their pregnancies from the Nazis, has been published in 21 countries and translated into 16 languages.

A reporter for eighteen years, she covered news events at home and abroad, including the Gulf War, the Iran/Iraq War, conflicts in the Middle East, Communist Europe and Northern Ireland.

Her non-fiction titles have chiefly been ghosted autobiographies of remarkable women, many with wartime experiences, such as the only woman in the French Foreign Legion during World War II; a young Jewish woman who repeatedly crossed German lines as a spy; and a British mother whose daughter was killed in the war in the Sudan. She also wrote A Lotus Grows in the Mud, the best-selling autobiography of Hollywood actress Goldie Hawn, and Memories Are Made of This, a biography of Dean Martin as seen through the eyes of his daughter Deana. 

She penned Lady Blue Eyes, the autobiography of Frank Sinatra's widow Barbara; Ten Mindful Minutes, an international bestselling book on mindfulness for parents with Goldie Hawn; and Kill Switch, which tells the remarkable story of Major Bill Shaw, MBE, who was wrongly imprisoned in Afghanistan. 

In 2012 she conceived and wrote the bestselling memoir of Uggie, the dog from the Oscar winning movie The Artist, published in 12 countries, and in 2013 she published an ebook for children and adults entitled Mr. Scraps about a dog in the London Blitz. Her book Haatchi & Little B, the remarkable story of the relationship between a disabled boy and his three legged-dog has melted hearts around the world.

Other works have included the bestselling novelisations of the films The Full Monty and Waking Ned, as well as an Antarctic travel guide with Billy Connolly. She wrote Smile Though Your Heart Is Breaking with Pauline Prescott, and Heaven and Hell with Don Felder (of The Eagles). Her book Shell Shock, a searing investigation into the trauma of conflict from the World War One to the Gulf War, was published in conjunction with a four-part television documentary.

Her various works have been serialised in national newspapers and magazines around the globe, selected for audio extracts on BBC Radio, used in schools and colleges as educational tools, and transferred to both commercial television and radio drama. She also writes screenplays, acts as her own agent and for other people's books, and is currently working on a new novel.

Wendy divides her time between the UK and the US but lives mostly in Suffolk, England, with her husband, hens and dogs. She writes a regular blog on her website and owns a company that develops and publishes e-books.

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