The Baker's Secret by Stephen P. Kiernan

The Baker's Secret

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-DayOn June 5, 1944, as dawn rises over a small town on the Normandy coast of France, Emmanuelle is making the bread tha...

Title:The Baker's Secret
Author:
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ISBN:006236958X
Number of Pages:320 pages

The Baker's Secret Reviews

  • Lindsay

    3.5 stars. This was a heartbreaking WWII story revolving around Emmanuelle “Emma”, a young baker who is forced to supply daily loaves of bread to the Nazi officers occupying her small French village.

    While I enjoyed this novel, I felt that there was nothing that made it stand out from the several other WWII novels that I have read. There seems to be an influx of WWII novels being written over the last while and it takes an extremely strong storyline along with exceptional writing to stand out fro

    3.5 stars. This was a heartbreaking WWII story revolving around Emmanuelle “Emma”, a young baker who is forced to supply daily loaves of bread to the Nazi officers occupying her small French village.

    While I enjoyed this novel, I felt that there was nothing that made it stand out from the several other WWII novels that I have read. There seems to be an influx of WWII novels being written over the last while and it takes an extremely strong storyline along with exceptional writing to stand out from the crowd.

    I liked Emma’s character, but she had such a harsh and bitter side to her personality she often came across very rough and tough. I understand that this was the intention and that her roughness was an effect of the world she was living in, but she just wasn’t a highly likeable character for me. I admire and appreciate what she did but couldn’t quite fully connect with her.

    I don’t think I will ever tire of reading wartime novels. I am drawn to them and always seem to find myself fascinated with what people endured and the strength they were able to find during these devastating times. I enjoyed this book, but wouldn’t consider it outstanding in its category.

  • Sue

    I read a lot of WWII fiction and this is one of the best that I've read that concentrates on the suffering of a small town in France during the occupation. The people in the town don't have any real idea of what is going on in the big picture of the war, they mainly know how it is affecting them to have German troops occupying their town and ruling their lives.

    The novel takes place in the village of Vergers, a small village in France about a mile from the ocean and centers around the town baker,

    I read a lot of WWII fiction and this is one of the best that I've read that concentrates on the suffering of a small town in France during the occupation. The people in the town don't have any real idea of what is going on in the big picture of the war, they mainly know how it is affecting them to have German troops occupying their town and ruling their lives.

    The novel takes place in the village of Vergers, a small village in France about a mile from the ocean and centers around the town baker, Emma. Emma had been ordered by the German command to bake 12 loaves of bread for them every day and was given enough flour to bake just 12 loaves. Instead she mixed ground up straw with her dough so that she had enough dough to make 14 loaves and could share 2 loaves with the people in town who were the hungriest. Even though her mentor had been killed by the Germans, her father had been sent away on a train and her boyfriend had been sent to join the German army, Emma still felt that it was her duty to help the people in her town as best she could. Emma is courageous and puts her life on the line to help the people in her town. She doesn't think of herself as heroic but feels that she is doing what needs to be done to help people get through each day.

    The author does a fantastic job of depicting the realities of war on the people who are not part of the fighting but are the collateral damage of the war. He gives an honest portrayal of the indignities that the Germans forced onto the citizens and depicts the lives of the people who are starving and desperate in detail. This is a novel about looking for a flicker of light in the darkness and being able to find it with the help of friends.

    Thanks to LibraryThing for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  • Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews

    THE BAKER’S SECRET takes us to a small village in Normandy during WWII. We follow Emma, her family, and the village as they live under the restraints of German occupation. The village citizens work together to stay alive and to help each other.

    Emma is a very strong female character that you can't help but sympathize with and fall in love with. She is someone you would love to have had in your village during WWII.

    Emma's strength and subtle resistance to the Germans was amazing. Emma knew how to b

    THE BAKER’S SECRET takes us to a small village in Normandy during WWII. We follow Emma, her family, and the village as they live under the restraints of German occupation. The village citizens work together to stay alive and to help each other.

    Emma is a very strong female character that you can't help but sympathize with and fall in love with. She is someone you would love to have had in your village during WWII.

    Emma's strength and subtle resistance to the Germans was amazing. Emma knew how to be subversive and still stay alive.

    Emma's role in helping to save the residents of her town was to follow the Kommandant's order to bake bread for him and his men every day.

    Emma had a secret about baking this bread. She would sneak in two extra loaves to share with the townspeople by stretching the number of required loaves by two.

    THE BAKER'S SECRET shows the unity the Europeans had to have in order to survive.

    The characters were authentic, and you will become immersed in their lives and suffer with them as well as silently cheer with them when the courage they share turns in to a triumph.

    I thoroughly enjoyed THE BAKER'S SECRET. The writing is marvelous and detailed. The book is one you won't want to put down.

    If you read only one book this year, make it THE BAKER'S SECRET.

    THE BAKER'S SECRET is a wonderful testimony and tribute to the people who lived through and survived WWII. 5/5

    This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

  • Pamela

    It is amazing, just how much the human spirit can take during horrific times such as war and enemy violation/oppression, and yet, not only survive, but transform into a better person because of it. Sometimes the most unqualified souls become merciful yet tenacious, humble heroes.

    This is the story of one such young lady: a baker's apprentice; who, like bread, rises in the heat of oppression, transforming inwardly and outwardly, quietly sustaining the lives of those who partake in her offerings.

    It is amazing, just how much the human spirit can take during horrific times such as war and enemy violation/oppression, and yet, not only survive, but transform into a better person because of it. Sometimes the most unqualified souls become merciful yet tenacious, humble heroes.

    This is the story of one such young lady: a baker's apprentice; who, like bread, rises in the heat of oppression, transforming inwardly and outwardly, quietly sustaining the lives of those who partake in her offerings.

    Emma is an enigma of sorts: an introvert with extrovert tendencies. She's a dedicated daughter, but not very subservient. She's bullheaded and mouthy at times, but kindhearted and self-regulating pliable. Often judgmental. Always observant. She sees the needs of her war-oppressed neighbors, and tries her best to fill each one, whether or not she holds them in high regard or not. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. He who is most guilty, usually casts the first stone.

    War changes everything. Like a splinter of wood, festering beneath the skin, war and oppression forces to light the truth of what lies within. Not everything, or everyone is as they appear to be. And

  • Kevin

    Emma has learned how to bake bread, pastries, cakes and the most beautiful creations trained by her critical mentor, Ezra. Ezra has been the village baker since before she was born. She is forced to watch him wear the six-pointed star of David by the German occupiers of her coastal Normandy village. The Nazi kommandant notices the bakery and commands Emma to bring him 12 loaves of bread every day. His men bring her the flour and other ingredients used to make the bread. In order to help feed as

    Emma has learned how to bake bread, pastries, cakes and the most beautiful creations trained by her critical mentor, Ezra. Ezra has been the village baker since before she was born. She is forced to watch him wear the six-pointed star of David by the German occupiers of her coastal Normandy village. The Nazi kommandant notices the bakery and commands Emma to bring him 12 loaves of bread every day. His men bring her the flour and other ingredients used to make the bread. In order to help feed as many of her neighbors as possible, Emma adds ground up hay to the bread mixture to make 14 loaves instead of 12.

    This is Emma's first act of defiance to the occupiers but certainly not her last.

    An excellent story that brings the occupation of France and the D-day invasion to life. This book reminded me in part of "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society" and the darker "Skeletons at the Feast."

    I really enjoyed this one!

  • Diane S ☔

    IT IS June, 1944 and this small village in Normandy is under the occupation of German forces. Many have been shot or taken prisoner, but many are left alive, their services integral for the German forces.one such person is 22 year old Emma, once the Baker's assistant, she is now responsible for baking the baguettes a high ranking German officer finds he cannot do without.

    Emma no longer believes in her faith, nor does she have any belief that the allied forces will come to the rescue. With that

    IT IS June, 1944 and this small village in Normandy is under the occupation of German forces. Many have been shot or taken prisoner, but many are left alive, their services integral for the German forces.one such person is 22 year old Emma, once the Baker's assistant, she is now responsible for baking the baguettes a high ranking German officer finds he cannot do without.

    Emma no longer believes in her faith, nor does she have any belief that the allied forces will come to the rescue. With that in mind, she sets out to do her best to ensure the survival of those left in the village, many who are slowly starving to death. Although this subject has been replayed many times in novels, the characters set this one apart. The characters are varied, from different occupations. from the resistance, to farmers, fishermen, and one young woman finds her own, frowned upon way, to survive. Emma who knows the town's pathways and short cuts better than most, finds ways to get things to those most in need. She is spunky, clever, and formidable, though this will put her in harms way.

    When the invasion of Normandy finally does come, the scenes are horrific, as history dictates. A finely written novel, with some unique characters that captured my interest early on. It is often the people that risk much, that save many. The Germans are stereotypically portrayed with a few exceptions. This is a read I took to heart.

    ARC from publisher.

  • Gemma

    The Baker’s Secret is about the experiences of a Normandy village under the Nazis. It aspires to be a kind of fable and its whimsical chatty tone (not quite of the “dear reader” variety but not far off) irritated me until I got used to it. I was suspicious that the author was trying to cash in on the success of The Book Thief and All the Light We cannot See – world war two as adult fairy story. All the characters are both larger and smaller than life – ordinary people who have been given an exag

    The Baker’s Secret is about the experiences of a Normandy village under the Nazis. It aspires to be a kind of fable and its whimsical chatty tone (not quite of the “dear reader” variety but not far off) irritated me until I got used to it. I was suspicious that the author was trying to cash in on the success of The Book Thief and All the Light We cannot See – world war two as adult fairy story. All the characters are both larger and smaller than life – ordinary people who have been given an exaggerated defining trait, often of a comic nature. There’s a mad boy who climbs trees, a wastrel who sleeps with pigs, a priest who appears sympathetic to the Nazis. An odd thing about this novel is there aren’t any resolutions to the few mysteries it poses. At the end of the day there’s little at stake save the safety of the characters. No subplots of note.

    Eventually I did begin to enjoy the story but I’m not sure about this new trend of moondusting what the Nazis did. There were one or two moments when the feelgood fairy story tone of this jarred. For me an accomplished rather than an inspired novel. 3.5 stars.

  • Tim

    I’m always a bit suspicious of novels that on the one hand deal with a historic event but on the other invent a location to set the story in. You sometimes feel this is an easy way of both bypassing research and taking poetic licence to an excessive extreme. For example I’m not sure All the Light We Cannot See would have been quite so bewitching had it been set not in Mont Saint-Michel but instead in a made up town. The backdrop of Mont Saint-Michel gave Doerr’s book a solid foundation against w

    I’m always a bit suspicious of novels that on the one hand deal with a historic event but on the other invent a location to set the story in. You sometimes feel this is an easy way of both bypassing research and taking poetic licence to an excessive extreme. For example I’m not sure All the Light We Cannot See would have been quite so bewitching had it been set not in Mont Saint-Michel but instead in a made up town. The backdrop of Mont Saint-Michel gave Doerr’s book a solid foundation against which he could weave all his magic.

    The Baker’s Secret is set in a fictitious town in northern France. Its central character is Emma, the town baker. She is given the task of baking bread for local German officers. Except instead of baking the required dozen loaves she adds sawdust to the flour and bakes fourteen. It’s a nice idea and probably very accurate regarding how tiny most people’s contribution to the resistance was. However, this is a strange floating novel with no real central plot line. We’re introduced to a variety of the town’s residents, all of whom are whimsical rather than recognisably true to life. This creates the atmosphere of a fable, as does the chatty voice of the narrative, but this novel never engaged me emotionally. It was a bit like a cartoon version of life in France during WW2.

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