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 been protected from the worst of the terror and desperation overtaking her country by a high-ranking Nazi who wishes to marry her. So when an escaped Jewish boy arrives on Elsie's doorstep in the dead of night on Christmas Eve, Elsie understands that opening the door would put all she loves in danger.
Sixty years later, in El Paso, Texas, Reba Adams is trying to file a feel-good Christmas piece for the local magazine. Reba is perpetually on the run from memories of a turbulent childhood, but she's been in El Paso long enough to get a full-time job and a fiancé, Riki Chavez. Riki, an agent with the U.S. Border Patrol, finds comfort in strict rules and regulations, whereas Reba feels that lines are often blurred.
Reba's latest assignment has brought her to the shop of an elderly baker across town. The interview should take a few hours at most, but the owner of Elsie's German Bakery is no easy subject. Reba finds herself returning to the bakery again and again, anxious to find the heart of the story. For Elsie, Reba's questions are a stinging reminder of darker times: her life in Germany during that last bleak year of WWII. And as Elsie, Reba, and Riki's lives become more intertwined, all are forced to confront the uncomfortable truths of the past and seek out the courage to forgive.
Some of the recent comments posted about The Baker's Daughter. Join the discussion! You can see the full discussion here.
Have recipes played a part in your own childhood and adult life?
To a certain extent. I have fond memories of certain things my mother and aunt cooked throughout my childhood. Neither were particularly good cooks but some things they made were memorable. I am an okay cook. What frustrates me is the lack of time... - malindan
Let's discuss Elsie...
I think that Elsie accepted Josef's attentions for several reasons: loyalty to her family, the excitement of being a part of what she viewed at first as a glamorous world, and her natural feeling as a young girl of liking the attention of a... - eileenh
I still haven't read The Book Thief. It's been on my list forever. It's the current One Book/One Chicago read and the author's coming to speak in the city soon. Too bad it's such a pain getting from the far-flung suburbs to the city. - lisag
Where do you think Riki and Reba are today?
I'm certain they are together. Maybe with kids, a 2 car garage and a dog or two... Seriously tho, they'd be together facing life with it's ups & downs. Both had grown during the book. Both understand the challenges of life and were ready to embrace... - marganna
Why does Reba continuously reinvent herself?
Reba didn't know who she was. She was in a job that she really didn't like. She was in a relationship with a man she really didn't know. I think Reba began to grow in her relationships with Elsie and Jane. She began to feel things again, as she... - CoventryReader
Historical Novel Society
Replete with raw emotion and suspense, The Baker's Daughter is a fascinating journey through a horrifying time in world history that will resonate long after you close the book.
Tatiana de Rosnay, international bestselling author of Sarah's Key and A Secret Kept
A beautiful, heart-breaking gem of a novel written just the way I like them, with the past coming back to haunt the present, endearing heroines and a sunny, hopeful ending. You'll wolf it up in one delicious gulp.
Kelly O'Connor McNees, author of The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott
Elsie Schmidt is the brave and unforgettable heroine of Sarah McCoy's beautifully written tale of family, friendship, and love. The Baker's Daughter demonstrates how the past can teach us - if only we will listen.
Amanda Hodgkinson, New York Times bestselling author of 22 Brittania Road
A sensitive, multilayered novel, this is a moving examination of the effect war and the politics of exclusion, have on the human heart.
Jenna Blum, international bestselling author of The Stormchasers and Those Who Save Us The Baker's Daughter was a constant warm companion to me during cross-country travels, a novel I looked forward to returning to night after night. The rare book in which the modern-day story is as compelling as the wartime tale it contains, The Baker's Daughter offers a look at Nazi Germany through the lens of the immigration issues of our own time. El Paso, TX and Garmisch, Germany make for an unexpected harmony of flavors.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Susan Must Read One of the best books I have ever read. I recommend this book to everyone who comes into the Library.
Rated of 5
by Grace A Compelling Tale Harsh, poignant, and touching, beautifully written, yet haunting. McCoy's novel is compelling and powerful with richly developed characters, especially Elsie.
Rated of 5
by Carol_R The Baker's Daughter Review If you have the appetite for a bittersweet tale, read Sarah McCoy’s “The Baker’s Daughter.” Not only will it stir your senses, it will stir your heart. The baker’s daughter is Elsie Schmidt. Her life unfolds before our eyes when reporter Reba... Read More
Rated of 5
by Becky H The Baker's Daughter 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... Read More
A Man Called Intrepid author dies aged 89(Dec 03 2013) William Stevenson, a journalist and author who drew on his close ties with intelligence sources to write two best-selling books in the 1970s, A Man Called...