Saturday, May 6, 2017

The Baker's Secret by Stephen P. Kiernan - A Fabulous Read! 5 Stars

Wow I loved this book. It was engrossing, well researched, hard to put down!!  I really have to say I would read anything written by this author any time.  He was a journalist for over 20 years and won numerous awards for his work in the field before he turned to writing fiction. This is his third book, I really need to find his first two.

The Baker's Secret is about Emma, a young lady who was apprenticed to the local Baker.  She watched as he was taken away by the Germans, and then she was forced to make bread for them.
She lived in a small Normandy village.  After they took all of the Jewish people away, there were still quite a few villagers living there, then the Germans took over some of the homes, some of the woman had affairs with them.  The food that they were given with their ration cards, became less and less.  The people of the village were getting sick and some were dying.  Emma was getting flour to make bread for the Germans and she decided to use the clean straw in the barn, there were no more animals to use it.  She ground it up and mixed it with the flour, eventually making 2 extra loaves, that she hid from the Germans, and she gave those to people in the village.  She actually started trading things that some had extra or no need for, in exchange for things that they needed and eventually really became to the villagers a shining beacon of hope.  She was very smart in the way she was able to steal eggs and keep them warm so that they finally hatched and then she had six chickens to lay eggs for her to share with those who were in desperate  need.  You really have to read the book to find out more, it was just a wonderful read......
I received the book, an advance readers copy, from Good Reads in exchange for an honest review.  This is one of my favorites.

The description as found on Good Reads:

From the critically acclaimed author of The Hummingbird and The Curiosity comes a dazzling novel of World War II—a shimmering tale of courage, determination, optimism, and the resilience of the human spirit, set in a small Normandy village on the eve of D-Day

On June 5, 1944, as dawn rises over a small town on the Normandy coast of France, Emmanuelle is making the bread that has sustained her fellow villagers in the dark days since the Germans invaded her country. 

Only twenty-two, Emma learned to bake at the side of a master, Ezra Kuchen, the village baker since before she was born. Apprenticed to Ezra at thirteen, Emma watched with shame and anger as her kind mentor was forced to wear the six-pointed yellow star on his clothing. She was likewise powerless to help when they pulled Ezra from his shop at gunpoint, the first of many villagers stolen away and never seen again.

But in the years that her sleepy coastal village has suffered under the enemy, Emma has silently, stealthily fought back. Each day, she receives an extra ration of flour to bake a dozen baguettes for the occupying troops. And each day, she mixes that precious flour with ground straw to create enough dough for two extra loaves—contraband bread she shares with the hungry villagers. Under the cold, watchful eyes of armed soldiers, she builds a clandestine network of barter and trade that she and the villagers use to thwart their occupiers. 

But her gift to the village is more than these few crusty loaves. Emma gives the people a taste of hope—the faith that one day the Allies will arrive to save them.