Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Baker's Secret by Stephen P Kieran

The Baker's Secret by Stephen P Kieran

The Baker's Secret is set in a small village in Normandy, that is suffering under Nazi occupation during World War II.  Emma, who had been apprenticed to Uncle Ezra, the village baker, at age 18, is convinced the Allies will never come to rescue them.  She takes things into her own hands in an effort help her starving neighbors when Ezra is brutally executed after being forced to wear the yellow Star of David.

Her secret is adding straw to the bread she is made to bake each morning for the Kommandant. The two extra loaves she's able to bake from the extra dough are hidden from the Germans and passed around to the villagers.  Emma is quite clever, managing to find eggs, tobacco and fuel, distributing it to those who need it most to survive.  That is all anyone in the village wants to do, survive.

The first half of this book, I found to be stiff and sluggish.  Being a historical novel, we know how it's going to end. The Allies will come and prove Emma wrong. And what this author did very well, was build of the tension on that day.  June 5, 1944, Emma sets out on her daily rounds, but some things are askew and the roar of planes overhead distract her thinking.  The reader is led through all the changes in the usual sounds and landscape of the area with increasing anxiety.  And by the time the American soldiers appeared at Emma's door, I had tears in my eyes.

All good books should make the reader feel emotion.  Although The Baker's Secret had a slow start, it ended leaving a warm spot in my heart.  May we never forget the sacrifice our countrymen made for others in the name of freedom.

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