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Garmisch Germania inverno 1944 È un anello di fidanzamento uello che un ufficiale nazista ha appena messo al dito della giovane Elsie Un anello che potrebbe cancellare l’amaro sapore della guerra regalando a lei e alla sua famiglia il sogno di una vita in cui l’aria profuma di biscotti allo zenzero e di serenità Invece d’un tratto Elsie si ritrova a guardare negli occhi la realtà un bambino ebreo si presenta alla sua porta e la implora di salvarlo di nasconderlo E lei lo aiutaEl Paso Texas oggi È un anello di fidanzamento uello che Reba non ha il coraggio d’indossare A darglielo è stato Riki un uomo che la ama senza riserve nonostante le sue asprezze Eppure Reba esita prigioniera di angosce e inuietudini radicate nel profondo sa che la sua armatura di donna realizzata potrebbe frantumarsi da un momento all’altro E ha pauraElsie e Reba non potrebbero essere più diverse ma il destino ha voluto far incrociare le loro strade come se l’una non potesse proseguire senza l’altra Per Elsie parlare con Reba significherà ripercorrere le vicende che l’hanno portata dalla Germania agli Stati Uniti ricordare tutto ciò che la guerra le ha brutalmente strappato e infine perdonare se stessa Per Reba confidarsi con Elsie significherà accendere la luce della verità ascoltare la voce del cuore e accettare che la speranza possa nascere anche dal dolore Per entrambe l’amicizia che le lega darà loro il coraggio di sconfiggere i fantasmi del passatoUn esordio letterario folgorante una storia intensa e coinvolgente che ha conuistato prima i librai indipendenti americani poi i lettori di tutto il mondo grazie alla forza del passaparola

10 thoughts on “The Baker's Daughter

  1. says:

    It seems to be a trend stories with alternating narratives of the past and present I know that for some this mechanism has gotten tiresome but I happen to really enjoy the blending of the past and present the connecting of stories and characters from different times The place and the circumstances are almost always different and if this is done well there is something that grabs me as the stories are brought together Sarah McCoy has done just that in this moving novel set in El Paso Texas in 2007 and WW II Nazi GermanyI almost always like the past story than the present and this was the case here with the moving story of Elsie and her family during WW II in Garmish Germany The perspective of how the war impacted the Germans even Nazi supporters is an interesting one as well as heart breaking as you see what happens to Elsie's sister Hazel and her family The historic part of the story unfolds in several ways letters between Elsie and her sister Hazel third person narrative and in what Elsie tells Reba The story does focus on the plight of the Jews as well as we see the courage and humanity of a teenage Elsie attempt to save a young Jewish boy bringing great risk for her familyI was also touched by Reba's story taking place in 2007 El Paso Texas She has had a less than happy family life growing up with a father who has suffered the emotional and mental conseuences of the Vietnam War and a mother and sister who seem to be in denial over the problem Reba herself seems to be in denial about her true feelings for her fiancé Riki or at least unsure of what she really wants She is a writer looking for that feel good Christmas story when she meets Elsie and her daughter Jane and the story of Elsie the baker’s daughter comes to lifeWhile there is the death sadness hunger the toll on Elsie's family the sadness in Reba's family and the timely inclusion of the illegal immigrant issue there are moments that shine reflecting family love friendship and caring people I really enjoyed this story and highly recommend it

  2. says:

    ehhhhh I thought this book was ok I think the author had a theme parallels that highlight that the moral high ground isn't always defined by a bright line whether US border patrol or a German soldier or citizen pretty ridiculousand executed against it The writing was really lacking for me The parallels felt forced the characters fell flat and the book overall came across as a little contrived and even trite The characters felt caricature ish southern writer with depressed dad has trouble trusting a relationship plucky German girl fights the regime without really knowing why militaristic German boy learns his lesson American doctor saves the day good hearted Hispanic Border Patrol character struggles with the job There are two plot lines in this book and neither was well developed And the connection between the two wasn't clear the modern characters never really talk about what happened in WWII there was one interview where Elsie the German and Reba the reporter start to talk about the past which seemed forced and unrealistic who would even open that can of worms with a basic stranger? Especially a reporter? but it's never really tied together I'd recommend The Lost Wife or Beasts in the Garden of Eden before this one For being a WWII book it was a light uick read however But it just wasn't for me

  3. says:

    I fell in love with the character Elise from the very beginning From the past in her homeland of Nazi Germany to her current life in El Paso Texas the connecting thread a bakery and the baked goods that sustain her and her families souls The present story is also interesting with a woman unsure of the future and her fiance who works for the border patrol and like Elise in the past begins uestioning if what he and his country is doing is right The cruelty of Nazi Germany the saving of one little Jewish boy and modern day immigration amid the indifference of a people who can't or won't uestion whether the decisions being made are in anyway inhumane This is a novel that warms the heart and leaves one with the lingering feelings of hope

  4. says:

    This book ended up being very disappointing although I thought the plot had a lot of potential It read very much like Sarah's Key switching back and forth between a modern story and a WWII story in Germany But it had the same problem as Sarah's Key the modern line was almost completely uninteresting and I just kept waiting to get back to the WWII story I don't think this book was written very well and it relied mostly on dramatic events to be exciting I prefer books that are written in a way that makes any event interesting not just the dramatic ones I often found myself bored and skimming ahead to get to some action I also don't think the characters were very well written they all seemed to be either really flat or written as if the author hadn't decided yet whatwho she wanted them to be It might have been a stronger book if it had ended after the main action but it dragged on for 50 years which is difficult to keep interesting when the characters aren't very well constructedAnd at the risk of sounding like a monster I found the connection of Holocaust victims to illegal aliens entering the US to be ludicrous bordering on offensive I can hardly believe the author had the nerve to try and make a connection between the slaughter of millions of innocent people during WWII and the plight of families crossing the border illegally only to be caught and deported Maybe I'm reading too much into it and she didn't intend for it sound like she was linking the situations in the modern and past story lines and maybe I just don't have a very good understanding of borderimmigrations issues but the connection seemed pretty hard to miss and I found it tactless extremely hard to swallow and rather offensive

  5. says:

    I probably need to shy away from anything that is written about Nazi Germany but there is so much potential for good material there and so much excellence in some of the things already written that I find myself being pulled in again and again Can you say cliche? You cannot humanize a man who runs a concentration camp by having him kill a fellow soldier who kills a Jewish woman while arresting her husband Why can't you tell the story of a normal German family who find themselves almost automatically joining the Nazi party but aren't fanatics without having the story of a saved Jew interwoven? I doubt the American servicemen were so charming that every German girl fell hopelessly in love with one look She might have explored the Lebensborn Progam which is introduced as a side track and take a route that isn't already over trodden but she didn'tI'm sorry to say that I found her characters stilted and I never felt connected to any of them The bouncing between then and now with the parallel stories of Elsie our WWII German and Reba our modern day American distracted rather than added to the story Had she stuck to Elsie's story alone I might have remained a bit engaged but the stops and starts killed whatever chance there was of caring for the characters Then there was the attempt to draw similarities between the Nazi treatment of Jews and the mission of the border patrol in Texas She may see those as two sides of the same coin but it was ludicrous in my mind Two very different issues that should be treated as such One group is trying to destroy an entire segment of the population by murdering themthe other is trying to protect a national border from illegal entry You might find flaws in the later and you can surely find tragedy there but they are far from having anything in commonI considered DNFing at several points but stuck it out to the end It didn't really matter she had lost me far before the end

  6. says:

    I fell in love with this novel that not only told a compelling story of one of the strongest most likeable female characters I’ve read but did so with language that was delicious enough to eat the baking themes and metaphors were melt in your mouth good I seriously could not get enough McCoy is a master of weaving concurring plots – one set in ’40s Nazi Germany and a parallel plot set in 2007 08 Texas The book was part historical fiction readers are introduced to the unscrupulous Nazi Lebensborn project that aimed to increase the country’s declining German population and part contemporary women’s fiction The novel is always character driven never reading as too factually ‘dense’ and draws the reader through many nail biting scenes The main characters Elsie and Reba take unforgettable journeys that lead them to internal growth and introspection as well as self understanding Circumstances bring these two women together in near present day Texas braiding together a formidable tale of loss love sacrifice and hope and the impact of war Reba's father was a Vietnam vet as well Elsie’s experiences growing up in Nazi Germany and Reba’s life in a Texas border town lead both to a broader understanding of what humanity is and what happiness is It also raises uestions about loyalty to country and self and the sometimes gray lines between right and wrong secrets and truthThe novel was also part epistolary including letters between Elsie and her sister as well as correspondence between Reba and her sister These letters added an element to the story that was so well done – just like the brötchen in Elsie’s bakery The bakery recipes at the end are simply another treatReaders of literary fiction will not be disappointed with the exuisite language and literary techniues McCoy has so artfully mastered This is a book I will re read and one that has found a permanent home on my library shelves

  7. says:

    What to say? It really had the potential to be a great novel but the non chronological jumping around between families felt like a chore I uite literally could not have cared any less about Reba and Riki and I wish they had been left out of the book altogether After reading a bio of the author I realize that they were meant to be loosely based on her own experience but truthfully I found them to be annoying I felt that the author was trying to make a parallel between the US Border Patrol and Hitler's SS but againreally? The other complaint I have about it may be limited to the Kindle edition but I could not even read the chapter headers because they were written vertically and got completely lost in the margins the way the Kindle is set upA disappointment I would gladly have given a better review if the story had only focused on Elsie and at war and post war Germany

  8. says:

    No one is good or bad by birth or nation or religion Inside we are all masters and slaves rich and poor perfect and flawedI really enjoyed this story about Elsie living in WWII Germany The book shows that all Germans were not active in the atrocities and that many families were trying to live their normal lives Some of them were also affected by things like the Lebensborn program The aim of this program was to increase the GermanicNordic population It was basically a place where racially pure woman got to meet and have children with SS officers These children were then taken by the SS and became children of the Fatherland It must have been uite difficult believing in your country and Hitler and then with time only realizing what exactly was happening and what horrors was being committed For me this is what the author does best in this book showing that it's very easy to judge other people but that we can't judge as we were not there and have no idea how we would have acted I also liked the fact the book is not overly sentimentalAlthough I though Reba's story Texas 2007 wasn't as strong as Elsie's I was still very interested in reading about the effect of a Bipolar parent US immigration issues and Dia de los muertos day of the deadI recommend this book to anyone who liked The Storyteller or other similar WWII novelsHow new and unknowing their minds are to the world's history I wonder if it is better for them to remain that way innocent and naive Should we bury our memory barbs to keep them from piercing budding hearts? No doubt they will encounter their own tragedies in due time Or should we warn our children that the world is harsh and men can be wicked? Warn them so that they take care to guard each other and seek out compassion

  9. says:

    Can't wait to share this novel with you all

  10. says:

    Review Posted on Reading Lark 3612 Baker's Daughter by Sarah McCoy is one of those books that grabs you and refuses to let you go There are so many elements that rise to the surface with this one that I found myself having to put the novel down and walk away for a bit to digest it all I went through a wide range of emotions while reading this one The Baker's Daughter is a story that spans three generations and focuses not only on the past but is laced with implications for the presentThe format of the book was refreshing since it took so many forms There is narrative letters emails and recipes that help tell the story One main story line surrounds the life Elise Schmidt a German teen who helps run her family's bakery as the Third Reich's power holds the land in its iron grasp I thought I knew so much about the German experience during WWII but this book forced me to look at things with a different perspective I had never once stopped to consider what life was like for the German people So many times I fell into the trap of believing that they all must have accepted Hitler and his agenda and while this would hold true for some there were just as many people in Germany who disagreed with Hitler Voicing opinions in this time period could result in death so many had to hide their opposition Elsie's story gives voice to those who had to hold their tongues during this time period I also really enjoyed it because most often women during this time period were not given eual rights and their experiences were seen to have little value That becomes abundantly clear based on Elsie's older sister Hazel's experiences in the Lebensborn Program I had never heard of this program before which led me to the internet to do some searching of my own I have no idea how I missed the existence of this project I have a degree in History but my only in depth study of WWII was from the military and political standpoints Again I was exposed to the male view of these events and the female voices were left largely silent Basically The Lebensborn Program was a way to increase the ranks of the Aryan race Young German women lived in homes and were basically used for breeding purposes Once children were born mothers were no longer integral in their lives beyond feeding The children were raised and instructed by the SS Babies who did not appear strong enough were often killed The inclusion of this in the book was one of the things I found to be fascinating Watching Hazel as she deals with the effects of this system was truly heart breaking and helped me see history from a different vantage point There are so many other elements in the 1940's segments of the book that are also well written and intriguing but this was the one that stuck out the most for meThe second story line is set in 2007 2008 in El Paso Texas Elsie is now an elderly woman running a bakery in the border town and she is being interviewed for a local piece on Christmas traditions by Reba Adams Reba has her own set of issues including an engagement ring that she chooses to wear around her neck rather than on her finger Finding Elise and her daughter Jane marks the beginning of a transition for Reba that will help her find out who she really is and what makes her happy Reba's fiancee Riki is also an important fixture within the contemporary segments of the book He is a Mexican American who watched his parents struggle in Mexico while awaiting their US citizenship To prove that he is an American he joins the US Border Patrol and hopes to help others see that there is a right way and a wrong way to get to America However after many nights on the job and some heart wrenching moments he starts to realize that not everything is so black and whiteI found it so compelling that McCoy chose to tell these two types of stories along side of one another I would never have thought that German experiences during WWII would work so well alongside the current debate about immigration to the United States from Mexico It also really made me stop and think about what life is like for those who are desperately seeking admittance into the land of the free I appreciate that McCoy is shining a light on something in society that truly needs a solution I can see the reasoning behind both those that support stricter immigration laws and those who want to cross the border I don't pretend to have answers to how we can solve this conflict but I do think generating discussion and thought around the topic is crucial Discrimination and prejudice are nasty beasts that have plagued humanity since the dawn of time We can never truly uell their vicious nature until we learn to see those who are different from us as valuableIn addition I was also drawn to these characters and their struggles In particular I found myself relating to Reba She is unhappy with her life but can't uite put her finger on what's missing She thinks if she can just move to California and just snag her dream job then everything will be fine Reba even remarks that she'd always been melancholic and unsatisfied with nearly everything about herself pg 32 I often have that mentality and I'm trying to break myself out of that way of thinking I have so many wonderful things in my life but sometimes I just crave those things that are slightly beyond my grasp I think that is human nature but the problem is some of us dwell on what's lacking rather than focus on what is right in front of us Like Reba I need to calm down take a deep breath and just enjoy living There is so much heartache and hardship in the world; I need to be thankful that my life is comfortable and I am loved I am learning to be comfortable in my own skin and I always find it some comforting to find characters who are going through the same struggles Reba held up a mirror for me to explain my own flaws and think of ways to grow beyond what I see reflectedThe Baker's Daughter is a book with so many delicious layers written in compelling prose It is a critiue of love the human spirit and racism It is also a look into the hearts and minds of strong women who have made impossible choices in the midst of bleak times Ultimately The Baker's Daughter is a triumph of the human heart and the impressions we make on the lives of others I highly recommend this book to those who enjoy historical fiction women's history and those looking for critiues on families and love I don't think its possible for me to capture in this review how much I loved this book and how deeply it spoke to my heartIn closing I'd like to leave you with a uote that really spoke to me The marks on our lives are like music notes on the page they sing a song pg 123 I am inspired to go forth and make sure the marks I leave in my encounters with others will produce beautiful harmoniesOne Last Gripe I wanted to know about Josef and the ship What truly happened?My Favorite Thing About This Book Learning new things about WWII and the current immigration debateFirst Sentence Long after the downstairs oven had cooled to the touch and the upstairs had grown warm with bodies cocooned in cotton sheets she slipped her feet from beneath the thin coverlet and uietly made her way through the darkness neglecting her slippers for fear that their clip might wake her sleeping husbandFavorite Character ElsieLeast Favorite Character Major Kremer