The Baker's Secret: A Novel

Front Cover
HarperCollins, May 2, 2017 - Fiction - 320 pages
33 Reviews

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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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ang709 - LibraryThing

This was a quick read, and it held my attention well enough. I thought it was interesting seeing how Emma set up her network, but despite her good deeds, I often found it difficult to like her due to ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - linda.marsheells - LibraryThing

Fascinating viewpoint of life in Normandy, France before and during the infamous battle of WW2 as seen through the eyes of village baker Emma. Their lives were turned inside out and upside down with ... Read full review

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About the author (2017)

Stephen P. Kiernan has won numerous awards, including the Brechner Center’s Freedom of Information Award, the Scripps Howard Award for Distinguished Service to the First Amendment, and the George Polk Award. He is the author of two previous novels, The Curiosity and The Hummingbird, and two nonfiction books. He lives in Vermont with his two sons.

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