Excerpt from The Baker's Daughter by Sarah McCoy, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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The Baker's Daughter

A Novel

By Sarah McCoy

The Baker's Daughter
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  • Hardcover: Aug 2012,
    304 pages.
    Paperback: Aug 2012,
    304 pages.

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Print Excerpt

“A cake order?”

“No. I’m a writer for Sun City magazine. I wanted to interview Elsie Meriwether.”

“Oh, I’m sorry. I usually check the messages on Sundays, but I didn’t get around to it this past weekend.” She turned to the kitchen. “Mom, there’s someone here for you.” She tapped her fingers on the register to the beat of the jazz trumpets, then tried again. “Mom!”

A pan clattered. “I am kneading!”

Jane gave an apologetic shrug. “I’ll be right back.” She pushed through the curtains, revealing steel kitchen appliances and a wide oak baker’s table. Reba examined the golden loaves stacked in baskets on the open shelves: Roggenbrot (Light Rye), Bauernbrot (Farmer’s Bread), Doppelback (Double- baked), Simonsbrot (Whole Grain), Black Forest, Onion Rye, Pretzels, Poppy Seed Rolls, Brötchen (Wheat Rolls). Inside a glass display case were neat rows of labeled sweets: Marzipan Tarts, Amarettis, three different kinds of kuchen (Cake: Hazelnut, Cherry-cheese, and Cinnamon-butter), Almond Honey Bars, Strudel, Stollen, Orange Quittenspeck (Quince Paste), Cream Cheese Danishes, and Lebkuchen (Gingerbread). A paper taped to the register read: “Celebration cakes to order.”

Reba’s stomach growled. She turned away from the case and focused on the willowy leaves of the dill plant by the register. You can’t, you can’t, she reminded herself, then dug in her purse for a roll of fruit- fl avored Tums and popped a disk. It tasted like candy and satisfied the same.

Another pan clattered, followed by a stream of choppy German. Jane returned with fresh flour on her apron and forearms. “She’s finishing up some tarts. Cup of coffee while you wait, miss?”

Reba shook her head. “I’m fine. I’ll just take a seat.”

Jane motioned to the café tables, noticed her dusted arms, and brushed the wheat airborne. Reba sat, took out her notepad and tape recorder. She wanted to make sure to get print- worthy quotes now and avoid another trip. Jane wiped the glass case with something lavender scented, then continued to the tables around the bakery.

On the wall beside Reba hung a framed black- and- white photograph. At first glace, she thought it was Jane standing beside an older woman— Elsie, perhaps. But their clothing was all wrong. The young woman wore a long cape over a white dress, her light hair swept up in a chignon. The older woman at her side wore a traditional German dirndl embroidered with what looked to be daisies. She clasped her hands in front and gave a meek glance, while the younger cocked a shoulder to the camera and smiled wide; her eyes bright and slightly indignant to whomever behind the camera.

“My oma and mom— Christmas 1944,” said Jane.

Reba nodded to the photograph. “I can see the family resemblance.”

“That was Garmisch before the war ended. She’s never been one to talk much about her childhood. She married Dad a few years after, as soon as the military nonfraternization laws lifted. He was stationed there eighteen months with the Army Medical Corps.”

“That sounds like a good story,” said Reba. “Two people from totally different worlds meeting like that.”

Jane flicked the cleaning rag in the air. “Isn’t that the way of it?”


“Love.” She shrugged. “Just kind of hits you— BAM.” She squirted lavender and wiped the table.

Love was the last thing Reba wanted to talk about, especially with a stranger. “So your dad’s American and your mom’s German?” She scribbled a helix on her pad and hoped Jane would simply answer her questions, not ask any more.

Excerpted from The Baker's Daughter by Sarah McCoy. Copyright © 2012 by Sarah McCoy. Excerpted by permission of Crown. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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