“We have to stop being afraid of the shadows and realize that the world is made up of shades of gray, light and darkness. Can’t have one without the other.”
Reba Adams is sent to interview a German baker in El Paso about how holidays were spent in Germany. When she finally gets to talk to Elsie, she finds out Elsie doesn’t have happy Christmas memories, but just remembers life during the war. Both Reba’s and Elsie’s lives unfold as they grow closer, forging ways for them to let go of the past and learn to forgive. Elsie was a baker’s daughter with a sister serving as a breeder for the Nazis and a boyfriend who wore the Nazi uniform. Reba grew up with a father haunted by war, who then killed himself and left Reba constantly feeling his shadow over her life.
The Baker’s Daughter has been sitting in my to-read folder on my Kindle for a long time and this year I am planning to read many of the books I already own, but haven’t read yet. I’m not sure if I got this book for free or if it was on sale, but I’m glad I had it on hand to read. I really enjoy historical fiction and The Baker’s Daughter pushed me to think of some different perspectives during World War II.
The Baker’s Daughter goes back and forth between Reba’s story in current time and her family past and Elsie’s story in current time and her life during World War II. Elsie faces many tough choices during the war – who to believe, who to love and how to treat people. Even with a sister “serving” the Nazis, a father who bakes bread for them and a convenient boyfriend who wear the uniform, Elsie suffers some terrible things during the way. Reba holds people at arms’ length, trying on different personas to try to feel comfortable with her past and what her father did. She doesn’t talk to her mother or sister much and only wears her fiancé’s ring around her neck. Elsie and her daughter find a way into Reba’s heart and she has to finally decide to hide it forever or let people in for good.
Lovers of historical fiction will really enjoy The Baker’s Daughter, especially since it’s told from the perspective of a German girl growing up during the war. The thought will cross the reader’s mind – what would you do to survive? How much would you risk to do what you thought was right? The book is for adults as it has violence, suicide, infanticide, rape and women deciding what to do after getting pregnant from rape. They are not graphically described and are things that most likely happened during the war.