The Baker's Secret
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The Baker's Secret

4.03 (7,969 ratings by Goodreads)

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Description

A tale beautifully, wisely, and masterfully told." -- Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife and Circling the Sun

From the multiple-award-winning, 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-Day.

On June 5, 1944, as dawn rises over a small town on the Normandy coast of France, Emmanuelle is making the bread that has sustained her fellow villagers in the dark days since the Germans invaded her country.

Only twenty-two, Emma learned to bake at the side of a master, Ezra Kuchen, the village baker since before she was born. Apprenticed to Ezra at thirteen, Emma watched with shame and anger as her kind mentor was forced to wear the six-pointed yellow star on his clothing. She was likewise powerless to help when they pulled Ezra from his shop at gunpoint, the first of many villagers stolen away and never seen again.

In the years that her sleepy coastal village has suffered under the enemy, Emma has silently, stealthily fought back. Each day, she receives an extra ration of flour to bake a dozen baguettes for the occupying troops. And each day, she mixes that precious flour with ground straw to create enough dough for two extra loaves--contraband bread she shares with the hungry villagers. Under the cold, watchful eyes of armed soldiers, she builds a clandestine network of barter and trade that she and the villagers use to thwart their occupiers.

But her gift to the village is more than these few crusty loaves. Emma gives the people a taste of hope--the faith that one day the Allies will arrive to save them.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 320 pages
  • 157 x 231 x 38mm | 408g
  • English
  • 006236958X
  • 9780062369581
  • 649,630

Back cover copy

From the multiple-award-winning, 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-Day

Never Surrender . . .

On June 5, 1944, as a gray dawn rises over the small town of Vergers on the Normandy coast of France, Emmanuelle is making the bread that has sustained her fellow villagers in the dark days since the Germans invaded her country.

Only twenty-two, Emma learned to bake at the side of a master, Ezra Kuchen, the village baker since before she was born. Apprenticed to Ezra at thirteen, Emma watched with shame and anger as her kind mentor was forced to wear the six-pointed yellow star on his clothing. She was likewise powerless to help when he was pulled from his shop at gunpoint, the first of many villagers taken by the Nazis.

In the years during which her sleepy coastal village has suffered under the enemy, Emma has silently, stealthily fought back. Each day, she receives an extra ration of flour to bake a dozen baguettes for the occupying troops. And each day, she mixes that precious flour with ground straw to create enough dough for two extra loaves--contraband bread that she shares with the hungry villagers. Under the cold, watchful eyes of armed soldiers, Emma has built a clandestine network of barter and exchange that she and the villagers use to thwart their occupiers. Like a gypsy, she makes her way around the village, moving among desperate inhabitants and arrogant occupiers--a deal maker, an observer, and a keeper of secrets.

But her gift to the village is much more than a few crusty loaves. Emma gives the people a taste of hope--by enabling them to care for one another, by being a model of dignity and defiance, and by helping the villagers survive should the Allies ever come.

As a brutal Nazi captain begins to uncover her network, and the intricately woven web of resistance and subterfuge starts to unravel, the people of Vergers find their bonds tested as never before. Ultimately Emma, facing potential execution, displays a courage and strength of will that shows them all a path to redemption.
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Review quote

"In this moving saga, Stephen P. Kiernan tells the story of soldiers and survivors, heroes and healing. . . . I'm not sure I've ever read a novel that so poignantly depicts the brevity of life, the significance of each moment, the impact we have on one another."--Mary Morris, author of The Jazz Palace
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Rating details

7,969 ratings
4.03 out of 5 stars
5 31% (2,484)
4 46% (3,646)
3 20% (1,554)
2 3% (228)
1 1% (57)
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