Winter has arrived in El Paso and I have been wearing faux fur in an effort to remain thawed. Even so, tomorrow PC and I are going to brave the elements (mostly just a little cold) for a mountain hike. However, I plan to spend some time on our rain-forecast Saturday, curled up in my loft with several books. Just listened to the last words of The Baker’s Secret by Stephen P. Kiernan. Hoping to entice you to give this book a try with my review.
Title Talk, 01.2018
When I started my blog, I really envisioned writing regular book reviews but somehow I have moved in a different direction. In 2018, I plan to review at least 12 books, one a month, and have even penciled in my planner the dates for those reviews (a winter bucket list activity). Starting the year off with a wonderful read.
The Baker’s Secret
The Fine Print
- Format read: Audible (listened to)
- Publisher: William Morrow
- Release date: May 2, 2017
- Genre: Historical fiction, World War II
- Pages: 320 pages
- Amazon rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
- Goodreads rating:
“This many-faceted, thought-provoking story prompts soul-searching about life, war, and death.” (Booklist)
“Remarkably touching, insightful and timely… bridges several powerful stories of life and death that explore the cost of courage and the true meaning of heroism… Illuminating, uplifting and ultimately redemptive.” (RT Book Reviews (4 1/2 stars))
This novel is the story of D-Day from the French perspective: how the people lived under Nazi occupation, and how they believed the Allies would never come. Led by Emma, a 22-year-old who is determined to help her fellow villagers survive, this is not a story of armies and battles, but of people struggling to keep hope alive by caring for each other. [source]
When Emma was fifteen Uncle Ezra had taught her reduction, boiling a full pot of beef or chicken stock down to a quarter cup of spectacular concentrated flavor. Now she understood that there was another kind of reduction, and she had allowed it to happen to her: living made small, a way of life diminished and humiliated.
I was looking for something sumptuous to read when I stumbled across The Baker’s Secret by Stephen P. Kiernan. I think it was suggested for me on Amazon. So grateful that it was because 3 paragraphs into the sample, I was hungering for more. Kiernan pens this poignant story with beautiful, descriptive language.
Consider Emmanuelle: lovely, gifted in the kitchen, a fawn of twenty-two years. In any other time, the modest bakery where she was employed would serve as a center of commerce and community. In another era she would be distracted, preparing sweets for her Philippe, or taking all day to boil chicken stock down to a reduction so potent with concentrated flavor it could cast spells, all while dreaming of the drape of her someday bridal dress. [The Baker’s Secret, pg. 1]
But I purchased the Audible version in hopes that the narration would be as entertaining and the story as perfectly read as that of The Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly. Which is my new favorite book. I wasn’t disappointed and have just realized why…narrator Cassandra Campbell brings both stories to life with her skillful range of voices and accents.
Like The Lilac Girls, this book is also set during World War II. You may have noticed I gravitate toward historical fiction written about that era. And this book is about baking bread. Which also spoke to me. I have a yeast starter or mother yeast that has been in the family for over 75 years. Making homemade bread is such an act of love. And Emmanuelle’s bread baking begins as such but evolves into exercise for survival. Her own, that of her beloved Mémé, and before long, the subsistence of many living in the small village on the Normandy coast.
But Emmanuelle, the savior of Vergers, isn’t completely pure of thought or benevolent of action. She passes judgement on many of the neighbors to whom she extends assistance. At times, she grumbles with impatience at her feeble-minded grandmother. Emma isn’t an unbelievable Mother Teresa persona. But a normal young woman who gathers her wits to keep her village alive.
I invite you to consider The Baker’s Secret, in particular the Audible version, for your next ‘read’. It will be a story that will stick with you for some time to come.
What are you reading? Do you have a favorite go-to genre? I am participating in a couple of reading challenges this year in hopes of branching out beyond books set during World War II. Joining Kristen and Rachel for their Book by Book challenge.
And hoping to follow along with Daenel and Carla for Book Girl Magic Reading Challenge.
And then there’s my Goodreads challenge to read 25 books and The Modern Mrs. Darcy’s 2018 Reading Challenge.
Are you doing a reading challenge or three this year? Won’t you share in a comment below?
Thank you for stopping by. Hope there are some quiet moments this weekend where you and I can curl up with a good book.
Hugs and kisses,