TITLE: Simple Acts of Grace
GENRE: Adult Historical Fiction
When a nurse uncovers horrific abuse at a Nazi baby factory, she saves the children by joining forces with an unlikely ally — an SS officer working covertly for the resistance.
~ Katherine ~
I’ve always lived in the shadow of my mother’s secrets.
Those secrets brought me here, to her bedroom closet. They’re why I’m standing, alone and shaking, with an old wood box pressed to my chest.
The call from Englewood Hospital came yesterday afternoon. We think your mother’s had a heart attack. She’s stable now. We’re running tests. The nurse’s voice — its calm, measured cadence — was more terrifying than her words. I made the fifty-minute drive to the hospital in a reckless thirty and spent last night in the ICU, grappling with my greatest fear: I’m neither old nor wise enough to make peace with the idea of losing my mother. She’s the only person in the world who knows all of me, who remembers me from my beginning.
When Mother woke at dawn and ordered the nurse to fetch her a decent cup of coffee, my shoulders shook with laughter and sweet relief. “I’m not at death’s door quite yet, Katchen,” she scolded in her commanding German accent, using a pet name I haven’t heard since I was twelve. My eyes filled, and she took my hand, clutching it with a bony strength that belied the dark smudges under her eyes. “Ach, you’re always so emotional.”
Struggling to sit up in her hospital bed, Mother gave me a thin smile. “No one lives forever.” She rooted around in her purse, found the gold locket that usually dangles from her neck. “Go to the house, to my bedroom closet, and find my keepsake chest,” she said, pressing the key she extracted from the locket into my hand. “It’s time to remember who we are, ja?”