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Title: Simple Acts of Grace
Age and Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction
Word Count: 80,000
When a young 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.
When Allina Strauss arrives at the notorious Nazi baby factory called Hochland Home, she has nothing left to live for. SS officers have murdered nearly everyone she loves and killed her innocence. The only thing standing between Allina and death is a set of forged papers that hide a terrifying secret: Her mother was Jewish, making her a half-bloodMischling.
Traumatized and grieving, Allina’s despair grows as she becomes both participant and witness to Heinrich Himmler’s ruthless eugenics program. Girls of pure blood mate with SS officers to breed offspring for the Führer, while nurses like Allina must follow strict protocols and treat babies like inventory, without affection. Hundreds of Hochland Home's neglected, disabled children wind up in experimental hospitals, slated for execution.
But grace often appears at the most hopeless moments. When Gruppenführer Karl von Strassberg catches Allina cuddling a baby, she’s afraid she’ll be punished for breaking house rules. Instead, Karl is intrigued by her gentle approach and seeks out her company. He even secures Himmler’s approval for a rehabilitation plan for the children.When Karl learns Allina is half Jewish, he vows to protect her and shares a secret that changes both their destinies: While outwardly loyal to the Reich, Karl works in secret to smuggle Jewish children to England. As their shared work brings them closer and friendship deepens into love, Karl and Allina are forced to live double lives amid the growing threat of war. And when Allina becomes pregnant, the couple faces a harrowing decision: Will they continue to risk their lives, and the life of their unborn child, to transport more children to safety?
First 250 words:
Evil rarely falls like a hammer, Uncle Dieter always warned, for at its core, evil is a cowardly thing. Evil lives in the shadows. It sneaks around, like a pickpocket. We must be vigilant, child. Even the smallest act of evil can destroy.
Allina accepted her uncle’s words as truth, because he was the smartest, kindest man in her world. He was the only father she’d ever known.
Three years ago, on the day the Führer became Chancellor, Allina rushed home from school to find her aunt and uncle at the kitchen table, weeping. Shocked silent, she’d hesitated in the doorway while their sobs filled the room. Her aunt and uncle had wiped their tears and beckoned her inside with smiles, but Allina wasn’t fooled. Uncle hugged her so tightly her ribs had burned, and Auntie’s hands trembled when she poured Allina a glass of milk. She’d realized the truth that day, at thirteen: Adolf Hitler was the evil Uncle warned her about.
Allina knew evil existed. But she never thought she’d recognize it in the face of a friend.
“You’d have those filthy Jews here? Why?” Fritz’s voice was high and sharp, like the crack of a horse whip. Sitting up in the grass, he made a show of brushing bits of leaves off his grey trousers and smoothing the untidy strands of his blond, razored hair.
Allina’s cheeks prickled with alarm. His obnoxious jokes usually made her sick to her stomach, but Fritz had never been so vicious.