The Baker’s Daughter by Sarah McCoy was the April read for my NYT Bestsellers resolution (to read a new bestseller each month) and I was not disappointed. Though it started off a little slow for me, I eventually found myself connecting with the characters and excited to read what came next.
The novel follows two story lines, modern day Reba (a journalist with some serious commitment issues and a penchant to lie about meaningless things) and Elsie a German woman who lived through World War II. Reba and Elsie’s modern lives intersect through a German bakery but we also see what Elsie’s life was like during the war. While Elsie and her daughter Jane provide Reba with friendship, affection and a (much needed) wake up call in the modern world, Elsie’s life during the war is much different; ripe with war, intrigue, love, hate, and the hiding of a young Jewish boy.
I really enjoyed this novel. The Baker’s Daughter touches on the horrors suffered by both Jewish detainees and German citizens during the war, separate enough from gruesome detail to get an enlightening story but close enough to ring true. And although I was annoyed by Reba’s attitude on occasion, I loved Elsie’s story and the focus on baking and love that surrounded everything she does (bonus recipes in the back of the book). The struggles of Elsie’s family are very much relatable and I enjoyed seeing her get past the horrors of the war and live her life to the fullest in America.
If you enjoy stories of civilians during World War II you’ll love The Baker’s Daughter. You may also enjoy The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, Heidegger’s Glasses by Thaisa Frank or The Violin of Auschwitz by Maria Angels Anglada.