The Baker's Daughter: A Novel
by Sarah McCoy
Hardcover- N/A

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 ...

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  "WW II Historical Fiction" by Kim_K (see profile) 04/03/12

There are really two stories here; one from the war years in Germany, and the other from current day El Paso. The story begins when Reba, a reporter, interviews Elsie, the owner of a German bakery in El Paso. Elsie grew up in Germany during the war years, and as a young woman, was engaged to an SS officer. Reba is engaged to Riki, a border crossing guard and US citizen born of Mexican parents, who came to America legally.
The story raises some interesting questions about how far one goes in supporting laws and government without compromising one’s ethics.

 
  "A Different Perspective of WWII" by BookDivasReads (see profile) 05/21/12

It is perhaps human nature to believe that everyone that "supported" the Nazis were bad people. The truth is that many people were simply trapped in an environment where speaking out meant imprisonment, torture or death. Elsie's family operated a bakery in Germany during the war and they were simply trying to survive along with others in their community. Elsie is left at home and as a teenager, she only wants to enjoy her teen years. Unfortunately she grows up fast when faced with unthinkable decisions, such as hide a young Jewish boy or report him. To say that Elsie's life hasn't been easy is somewhat of an understatement, but she perseveres and ultimately winds up married to an American GI. She relocates to the US and eventually has a daughter and builds a business baking all of the foods she fondly recalls from Germany.

Reba is only looking for a story on multi-cultural holiday celebrations when she enters Elsie's bakery. Reba is happy with her relationship with Riki, a US Border Patrol agent, but she isn't sure if she wants to marry him. Reba thinks she wants more from life than to stay in Texas and get married. It isn't until she gets everything she wants that she realizes she prefers simplicity and misses the love of her life, Riki.

The Baker's Daughter is about much more than survival. It's about doing what feels right even if rules say it is wrong. Elsie faced this decision when she helped a young Jewish boy, feeding him, clothing him and ultimately helping him to escape. Riki faces a similar situation when dealing with families that are desperate to escape their lives in Mexico at any cost. Ms. McCoy has provided a stirring and heartfelt story with The Baker's Daughter. This isn't a fast read primarily because of the subject matter presented (World War II, anti-Semitism, illegal aliens, etc.), but it provides a thought-provoking albeit fiction

 
  "The Baker's Daughter" by KM (see profile) 06/11/12

This is a great novel set during WWII in Germany and present day in El Paso, Texas. It gives us a different view of this time during the war in Germany from the people's viewpoint. The main character in Germany is Elsie, who is only 16 when the story begins. The story showcases her experiences with her family, engagement to a German officer, the Jewish boy she hides during the war, her marriage to an American army doctor, and her life in present day El Paso at age 79. In El Paso in the present, Reba interviews Elsie for a story she is writing on foreign celebrations. Reba is engaged to Riki, a Border Patrol Officer that has issues with some of the policies he must enforce with illegal immigrants. The two stories alternate and take the reader to two very different locations, but with similar themes. It was enlightening to read a WWII novel from the perspective of German citizens and Elsie's story was riveting. The only reason this novel received 4 stars instead of 5 was because the story line in El Paso was weaker. But, it is a must read for those that love historical fiction.

 
  "You can overcome your past" by [email protected] (see profile) 10/13/12

A "feel good" newspaper feature is the link between the horrors of Germany during WWII and two women with secrets in present day El Paso, Texas. Both women's stories are compelling in themselves and as their lives intersect over the delicacies wrought by one and eaten with gusto by the other, the selfishness, cruelties, pettiness as well as the generosity, kindness, sacrifice they and other displayed are slowly revealed. A great book for discussion. Book groups will find a wealth of "modern" issues to discuss.

 
  "The Bakers Daughter" by Paint4me (see profile) 08/10/13

Great book club selection. It generated meaningful discussion and intense group involvement. Everyone in the club participated in the discussion of this book. That is rare.

 
  "The Bakers Daughter" by cclasse (see profile) 10/22/14

Well written, well researched and insightful are good descriptors of this novel. I received new information regarding life within WWII Germany and the present day Texas immigration situation. How do these \\\"meet?\\\" Readi it!

 
  "Another View of WWII" by retiredreaderNE (see profile) 10/29/14

Sarah brings the reader a thoughtful approach to the war from the viewpoint of ordinary Germans who are just trying to survive. My book group had a delightful Skype session with Sarah and that added to our appreciation of the book and her thorough research.

 
  "Great Story - Very Well written" by Wendy56 (see profile) 09/16/15

I loved this book. The story is totally different than what I expected. I loved the point of view the story was written from - and that it moved seamlessly back and forth from Germany in the 40\\\'s to the USA 2000. Provoked great discussions in the book club

 
  "A MOVING STORY" by nbaker (see profile) 01/28/16

I've had this book in my library for nearly two years. I don't know why I waited so long to read it. The story of The Baker's Daughter travels across time and oceans. From war-weary Germany during the height of WWII to a small town in present day El Paso, TX, both worlds hold secrets, fears and a chance for new beginnings. It reminded me of a cross between Jodi Picoult's The Storyteller and Markus Zusak's The Book Thief.

Elsie Schmidt is from a German family, a family that believes in their Fatherland and all are happy to make the sacrifices necessary to ensure the future of their country. However, Elsie's family encounters one heartbreak and disappointment after another. The author did a beautiful job painting a picture of life in Germany in the early 1940's. You could almost catch a hint of yeast and cinnamon as you turned the page as each day in the bakery unfolded. You could feel your pulse increase at the thought of the SS banging at your door. You look at every character with skepticism not knowing who can be trusted.

Fast forward to 2007 where Elsie and her daughter are continuing the family business but in the U.S. Reba, a local journalist, has come to do a story on how different ethnic groups celebrate the Christmas holidays. Despite their grave age differences, the two women share a common burden -- that of covering up the past, of unspoken events and untapped fears. Reba is running from her past and memories that only bring sorrow and the realization that everyone carries inter-demons.

Each time period has its own story but I personally longed to dwell in Elsie's stories from the past. The war years were written with such passion that you could almost feel the hunger of patrons standing in line with their ration stamps for bread. You could almost (ALMOST) find it conceivable how the nation's occupants could turn a blind eye to the human cruelty being dealt on their soil. There is much to be said of this story -- but non more important than a call to read its words and let it speak to your sense of compassion, forgiveness and gratitude to those in the past who have stood for what is right --no matter the cost. Sometimes we have to look to the past in order to move forward.

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