Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Julie's Review: The Baker's Daughter

Summary:  In 1945, Elsie Schmidt is a naive teenager, as eager for her first sip of champagne as she is for her first kiss. She and her family have been protected from the worst of the terror and desperation overtaking her country by a high-ranking Nazi who wishes to marry her. 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 would put 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 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 fiancĂ©, Riki Chavez. Riki, an agent with the U.S. Border Patrol, finds comfort in strict rules and regulations, whereas Reba feels that lines are often 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. Reba finds herself returning to the bakery again and again, anxious to find the heart of the story. For Elsie, Reba’s questions are 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.

Review: The Baker's Daughter is a wonderful story told in two different points of view: Elsie and Reba. Instantly I felt a pull towards Elsie. I fell wholeheartedly into her story and craved the pages where she told her story. I wanted to see how she survived, how she came to America and how she remained true to herself during those years that the Nazi's were in control. She is a strong girl, who turns into a strong woman.

My favorite parts of this book were the chapters that transported me to Garmisch, Germany during World War II and the trials of the Schmidt family. I learned something during this book that I hadn't known before about the Nazi's. I never realized there was a program to make pure Aryan babies. To achieve this they essentially whored girls that the Reich thought were the perfect specimens. We learn about this program through Elsie's sister Hazel and her part in this program. To say that I was horrified would be putting it lightly.

I adored Elsie for her courage and her willingness to take a risk even with extreme danger to her and her family. What she did solidified her as a heroine in my book.

We meet Elsie and her daughter Jane through Reba Adams, a writer for a local magazine doing a story on traditions from around the world.  Reba is a lost soul. She left home to escape her family and her past but she finds out that in order to move on she has to face it head on. I have to say I didn't really connect with Reba. I don't want to sound harsh when I say I didn't care about her, but her story didn't engage me the way Elsie's did. Compared to what Elsie went through and dealt with, I wanted Reba to pick herself up by the boot straps and get on with it. To realize that while parts of her life have dealt with tragedy it is nothing in comparison with what others have gone through.

Overall, the story sucks you in and you care about the characters involved. For me it was the Schmidt family and their secrets from each other that touched my heart. Sometimes secrets are to protect the ones we love from great pain.

Ms. McCoy obviously has a great love for both Texas and Germany that she blends well in this wonderful novel. I can't wait to see what she has up next for us and I will be going and reading her first novel, The Time It Snowed in Puerto Rico.

If you wish to know more about Sarah you can find her on the web, Twitter, Facebook and follow her blog.

Final Take: 4/5

Thanks to TLC for offering me a place on the tour!

Here is the schedule for the TLC Book Tour of The Baker's Daughter by Sarah McCoy:

Monday, August 6th: Rhapsody In Books
Tuesday, August 7th: I’m Booking It
Wednesday, August 8th: Girls Just Reading
Thursday, August 9th: Colloquium
Friday, August 10th: Life In Review
Monday, August 13th: The Book Garden
Wednesday, August 15th: Literary Feline
Thursday, August 16th: Luxury Reading
Friday, August 17th: My Bookshelf
Monday, August 20th: I Read. Do You?
Tuesday, August 21st: A Novel Source
Wednesday, August 22nd: The 3 R’s: Reading, ‘Riting, and Randomness
Thursday, August 23rd: The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader
Friday, August 24th: A Chick Who Reads
Monday, August 27th: Lit and Life
Tuesday, August 28th: Peeking Between the Pages
Wednesday, August 29th: Life is Short. Read Fast.
Thursday, August 30th: Drey’s Library
Friday, August 31st: My Bookshelf
Monday, September 3rd: Twisting the Lens
Tuesday, September 4th: Walking With Nora
Wednesday, September 5th: Bookstack


1 comment:

Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours said...

I'm glad to see how much you enjoyed this one! Thanks for being on the tour.