The Baker’s Daughter by Sarah McCoy - 304 pages
In 1945, Elsie Schmidt was a naïve teenager, as eager for her first sip of champagne as she was for her first kiss. But in the waning days of the Nazi empire, with food scarce and fears of sedition mounting, even the private yearnings of teenage girls were subject to suspicion and suppression. Elsie’s courtship by Josef Hub, a rising star in the Army of the Third Reich, has insulated her and her family from the terror and desperation overtaking her country. So when an escaped Jewish boy arrives on Elsie’s doorstep in the dead of night on Christmas Eve, Elsie understands that opening the door puts all she loves in danger.
Sixty years later, in El Paso, Texas, Reba Adams is trying to file a feel-good Christmas piece for the local magazine. Reba is a rolling stone, perpetually on the run from memories of a turbulent childhood, but she’s been in El Paso long enough to get a full-time job and a full-time fiancé, Riki Chavez. Riki, an agent with the U.S. Border Patrol, finds comfort in strict rules and regulations, whereas Reba knows that in every good story, lines will be blurred.
Reba's latest assignment has brought her to the shop of an elderly baker across town. The interview should take a few hours at most, but the owner of Elsie's German Bakery is no easy subject. Elsie keeps turning the tables on Reba, and Reba finds herself returning to the bakery again and again, anxious to find the heart of the story. For Elsie, Reba's questions have been a stinging reminder of darker times: her life in Germany during that last bleak year of WWII. And as Elsie, Reba, and Riki's lives become more intertwined, all are forced to confront the uncomfortable truths of the past and seek out the courage to forgive.
My Review: 5 stars
What a recipe of words this author used to create a beautiful tale of family, loss, love, forgiveness and strength. Spinning two parallel tales at once and connecting them masterfully, The Baker’s Daughter takes on multiple meanings. From the simple truth in multiple generations to the Lebensborn Program in Germany where the protagonist's sister has a “bun in the oven.”
Learning how the past can unfold neatly or not into your present and future was demonstrated within in multiple characters. Riki and the border patrol was one such example and his story also mirrored the borders of Dachau and the borders of Tobias’ hole in the wall.
In a mere 304 pages this story covered a plethora of emotions, perfectly flawed characters and a hunger for a plate of bread and butter. Well done!
Quotes I liked:
-“The only thing Reba knew for certain was Momma loved Daddy, and love could make a person turn a blind eye to just about anything. It terrified Reba to be so handicapped.”
-“The truth is, everyone has a dark side. If you can see and forgive his dark side and he can see and forgive yours, then you have something.”
-“I guess you have to be ready even for that--for the person you love to leave you, in spirit or in body. Death comes in all kinds of disguises.”
Tags: Historical Fiction, 2012, WW2, Favorites
Labels: 2012, Favorites, Historical Fiction, WW2