The House on Kronenstrasse

Her mother's last words led to a place Christiane had fled as a child—and where truth lay concealed

"Mama," I say. My heart is so full that I fear it will burst through my chest.

"Rachel," she says. "My sweet Rachel."

Rachel. My name is Rachel.

She laughs. It is the sound of sunlight, the sound of a happiness I have never consciously known.

"I see you have dirtied your dress! Never mind, little gosling. Hilde will clean it. It will be as good as new."

I turn again to see Hilde, by the steps. Our maid. Kind, devoted Hilde, who tried so hard to be a mother to me. Who, in saving my life, took away my past. Hilde, whom I had failed, and who in her dying moment believed that she had failed me.

I snuggle into the warmth of my mother's arms. I have found my home, and returned there.

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