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The Baker's Secret

The Baker's Secret

Написано Stephen P. Kiernan

Озвучено Cassandra Campbell


The Baker's Secret

Написано Stephen P. Kiernan

Озвучено Cassandra Campbell

оценки:
4/5 (54 оценки)
Длина:
9 hours
Издатель:
Издано:
May 2, 2017
ISBN:
9780062674432
Формат:
Аудиокнига

Описание

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.

Издатель:
Издано:
May 2, 2017
ISBN:
9780062674432
Формат:
Аудиокнига

Об авторе

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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4.2
54 оценки / 43 Обзоры
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Отзывы читателей

  • (4/5)
    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 the arrival of the despicable, and violent invading army of Germans. Normalcy goes right out the window and in steps deception, murder and starvation. Up steps the bread baker Emma ,who creates a lifeline for them all. Heartbreaking, knowing that stories like this existed in real life. Uplifting in knowing the fortitude of the multitudes..
  • (3/5)
    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 her bitterness and pessimism. Also, her reaction to holding a baby was extreme and disturbing. Happily, she did seem to grow by the end, and it was interesting to see D-Day from a civilian point of view.
  • (4/5)
    I loved "The Curiosity"! This book was a well written story about WW2 - a wonderful story about a tenacious girl who uses her wits to help her community.
  • (4/5)
    I love historical novels about World War ll. Mr. Kiernan's characters transported my back to Normandy. It is a welcomed addition to my World War ll historical fiction collection. Thank you Mr Kiernan for a great read.
  • (5/5)
    I received an Early Reviewers copy of this book although I am not particularly early with my review. The book is another in a stream of World War II novels featuring strong female heroines in occupied countries. This book is set apart from the others in that it takes place in Belgium, a country normally overlooked in the literature. The heroine is Emmanuelle (Emma), who was apprenticed to a baker, Uncle Ezra, at a young age. After Uncle Ezra, a Jew, is shot by the Nazis, Emma becomes the only source of bread for the village. The Nazi Kommendant tastes her bread and orders her to bake ten loaves a day for him. She incorporates sawdust into her recipe, stretching the ingredients for ten loaves into fourteen. These she parcels out to hungry villagers on a daily basis, eventually setting up a barter system that enables the village people to survive rather than starve under the Nazi regime. Emma does not believe the Allies will ever come rescue her small town and is not part of the official Resistance. She does what it takes to stay alive, losing her faith in God along the way. The novel features a strong cast of characters, is well-written, and is a joy to read. Highly recommended!
  • (4/5)
    This was a moving visual of life in a small French village and what they had to deal with and endure throughout the German occupation. The book was well-written and seemingly well-researched with a relatable main character who was sucked into the resistance as a means of survival. These stories are always my favorite and really makes you think about life and death.
  • (4/5)
    IT IS June, 1944 and this small village in Normandy is under the occupation of German forces. Many have been shot or taken prisoner, but many are left alive, their services integral for the German forces.one such person is 22 year old Emma, once the Baker's assistant, she is now responsible for baking the baguettes a high ranking German officer finds he cannot do without. Emma no longer believes in her faith, nor does she have any belief that the allied forces will come to the rescue. With that in mind, she sets out to do her best to ensure the survival of those left in the village, many who are slowly starving to death. Although this subject has been replayed many times in novels, the characters set this one apart. The characters are varied, from different occupations. from the resistance, to farmers, fishermen, and one young woman finds her own, frowned upon way, to survive. Emma who knows the town's pathways and short cuts better than most, finds ways to get things to those most in need. She is spunky, clever, and formidable, though this will put her in harms way. When the invasion of Normandy finally does come, the scenes are horrific, as history dictates. A finely written novel, with some unique characters that captured my interest early on. It is often the people that risk much that save many. The Germans are stereotypically portrayed with a few exceptions. This is a read I took to heart.ARC from publisher.
  • (4/5)
    This story is set in a small village near the Normandy coast in the days preceding D-Day. It centers on Emma, the village baker, who struggles along with the rest of her neighbors through the Nazi occupation. They were all starving, yet took care of each other. I just loved this novel about these strong people. I wonder if any of us would be brave enough to do what they did. Beautiful, inspiring story about a dark time in history!
  • (2/5)
    Furing WWII, Emma does everything she can to keep the villagers in her small French town alive. She mixes sawdust with flour in order to make secret loaves of bread. She barters for medicine, soap, and other goods - anything to keep the town alive.This book was written in a detached, almost flat, way. Emma didn't really have a "voice." I think the story would have been more powerful if it had been written in a first person point of view. Overall, not a bad book, just not one I would re-read.
  • (5/5)
    Five stars! An amazing book, hit the last page and literally re-read the entire book! Stephen Kiernan is an amazing author. I could visualize, almost feel, every part of this story. From the scenery to the emotions to the fear and hunger of the townspeople. I was reading the last few chapters crying. It is unimaginable what the people of France survived during the war. I honestly think this needs to be a novel taught in high school or even middle school. It is such an honest depiction of what happens in war time. A novel I've read twice and would gladly read again. I'm having my English department Chair read this book in hopes of getting it on the curriculum. I think it may be more effective in teaching empathy than even Anne Frank's diary. So thankful for being allow to read this great novel.
  • (4/5)
    I adore books about WWII so when I saw I won this one I was pretty excited. The story did not disappoint. I didn't really know a lot about what the French went through, so this was really eye-opening and intriguing. The storyline is well written, the characters are developed. I would recommend this book. 4.5 out of 5 stars.
  • (3/5)
    Had a really hard time with this book. The story line was really good. It just got too boring for me. Could not follow sometimes. I see it is a best seller already. Wishing you all the best with this one. Love WWII historical fiction.
  • (4/5)
    The Baker's Secret is an instant classic hit! From the very beginning, I was transported back in time. I could feel the pain and anger when Ezra was executed by the Germans. Even though I barely got to know him, I had already started to form a connection with him. From the moment that Emma won him over with her knowledge and professionalism in the bakery. Although, Emma really did carry the story from the beginning until the end. Yet, she did have help from all of her neighbors and friends. From the fisherman, who traded his catch in exchange for fuel to the farmer, who gave away his fuel in exchange for tobacco, etc. Even with Emma's downer attitude of no hope that she and her neighbors will ever see the Germans leave, she could not get me down; only because she made up for it by her defiance in helping the Resistance. The Baker's Secret is a beautifully written book.
  • (5/5)
    This was an early review book from Librarything and I loved it. I liked Kiernan's "The Hummingbird" but this was even better. I try to be selective because I seem to be reading a high number of books revolving around WWII. But this was from a different perspective. It takes place in a small French village that is near the beaches that will see the D-Day landings and all inhabitants are trying to do is survive the Nazi occupation and get enough to eat to sustain them Kiernan effortlessly brings the characters to life, I felt like I would have recognized them if I walked into the town. They and their circumstances we very believable and I shared their pain when something sad happened and laughed when they were able to outwit their enemy. Very well written.
  • (5/5)
    I read a lot of WWII fiction and this is one of the best that I've read that concentrates on the suffering of a small down in France during the occupation. The people in the town don't have any real idea of what is going on in the big picture of the war, they mainly know how it is affecting them to have German troops occupying their town and ruling their lives.The novel takes place in the village of Vergers, a small village in France about a mile from the ocean and centers around the town baker, Emma. Emma had been ordered by the German command to bake 12 loaves of bread for them every day and was given enough flour to bake just 12 loaves. Instead she mixed ground up straw with her dough so that she had enough dough to make 14 loaves and could share 2 loaves with the people in town who were the hungriest. Even though her mentor had been killed by the Germans, her father had been sent away on a train and her boyfriend had been sent to join the German army, Emma still felt that it was her duty to help the people in her town as best she could. Emma is courageous and puts her life on the line to help the people in her town. She doesn't think of herself as heroic but feels that she is doing what needs to be done to help people get through each day.The author does a fantastic job of depicting the realities of war on the people who are not part of the fighting but are the collateral damage of the war. He gives an honest portrayal of the indignities that the Germans forced onto the citizens and depicts the lives of the people who are starving and desperate in detail. This is a novel about looking for a flicker of light in the darkness and being able to find it with the help of friends.Thanks to LibraryThing for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
  • (5/5)
    The Baker's Secret is a heartbreaking tale of desperation, deprivation, and determination as experienced by the citizens of the Nazi occupied French village of Vergers. Emma is the young protagonist who watches as her friends and family suffer the daily inhumanity of war. She realizes early on that want is the result of necessity, and she develops a network to provide the most basic of needs. This unlikely heroine brings the villagers from the throes of desolation to the beginning of hope with each act of her tender mercies. The arrival of D-Day signals the end of the brutality and the evil days they lived through. Highly recommended.
  • (4/5)
    A well written and interesting recount of a horrible time in history. It lacked something in that my emotions were never put into action despite the tragedies that unfolded. I don't know how a writer achieves that but I hope his next book does. I will recommend this.
  • (4/5)
    I received this book from library thing for a review.This is a historical/fiction about a small village in Northern France that has become occupied by the Germany army during WW2.The author did a wonderful job showing what the lives of the village people was like under German rule and how they nevergave up hope that they would be delivered from the German army.We meet Emma a young baker who has been ordered to bake for the soldiers. She is giving a ration of flour to make the bread, buthas found a way of adding to it so she can make a few extra loaves to help the people who have very little to eat or feed their familiesEmma is playing a very dangerous game by doing this and if caught it would cost her, her life. Also it would cost the villagers their livesif found out that they are helping her in other ways.It shows us what chooses many people where willing to make during the German occupancy. Many lost their lives for what they believedin to help others. They never gave up hope for freedom from the German army.Would recommend this book for anyone who loves history or just a great read.
  • (5/5)
    On the coast of Normandy, the people of Vergers are trying their best to go on with their everyday lives. Since the German occupation, everyone has simply been doing their best to survive by any means necessary. For Emmanuelle, this means continuing to bake her bread; however, it is no longer the joyful task it once was. Emma was apprenticed to Ezra Kuchen, the village baker when she was 13. Since the Germans came, she watched her mentor forced to wear a yellow star and later dragged away. Emma is the only one in town left to bake and is commanded to do so for the occupying army. Forced to bake for the soldiers while she watches those around her starve, Emma decides that she will stretch her extra rations to make 14 loaves instead of the desired 12 for the Germans. She stretches her resources by adding finely ground straw to the recipe. While taking her covert bread to those who need it most, Emma is asked if she could find other things: eggs, gasoline, light bulbs, for the townspeople. So begins Emma's unintentional Resistance to keep the town alive and hopeful until help arrives. The Baker's Secret is an extraordinary book that shows the effect of an occupation on a small town during WWII. The beautiful writing clearly conveys the struggle, the intense emotional state of the people and the beauty of the area. I could easily imagine Emma's baking shed, the coastline and the church. More importantly, The Baker's Secret impressed upon me the importance of one person during the times of struggle. Emma's perseverance and ingenuity saved lives and gave her town hope. Another aspect highlighted was the choices people will make in order to stay alive, some will paint "V's" on a tree in order to tirelessly annoy the occupying troops, some will use their beauty to take up with the enemy, some will turn in their neighbors, some will bake extra bread, some will join the Resistance and risk their lives smuggling ammo. listening in to German conversation and counting paces. With the Resistance the importance of every person's actions put together was highlighted. I thought it was especially important that the people who everyone believed were inconsequential, those who have been outcast, or with disabilities were able to do the most because they went unseen. These characters weren't even called their true names, going by The Goat and Monkey Boy, they were as big of heros as Emma. Lastly, it was very interesting to see the D-Day invasion through the eyes of the townspeople, it is what they hoped for for so long but happened very differently than they imagined. Overall, a tremendous story of courage, strength and hope of a town during WWII.This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
  • (5/5)
    Kiernan's novel is set in a small village in Normandy in the months leading up to D-Day, June 6, 1944, when the people of France were living under Nazi occupation. The apprentice baker, Emma suffers immense losses and witnesses unimaginable cruelty but despite this, she resolves to do her best for her grandmother and friends while remaining sceptical of a rescue from Allied forces. She is given an extra ration of flour to make twelve baguettes for the Nazi soldiers, but by adding ground straw she is able to save enough flour to make two extra loaves for starving villagers. Combined with other innovative ways to procure food this modest young woman helps her neighbours endure the unendurable, at considerable risk to herself.Although she accomplished much in the way of helping villagers survive, when the allied invasion comes about, she is overwhelmed by the losses incurred just so that her people can live freely. It's a heartbreakingly familiar story, but Kiernan's writing style has a poetic quality that conveys something extra, more like a parable. It is beautifully written, thought-provoking and memorable.
  • (5/5)
    The Baker's Secret, by Stephen Kiernan, is a book written with an unusual perspective of D-day and the months leading up to it. The protagonist - the baker - is a young woman who has suffered at the hands of the occupying Germans but through her own resilience has managed to look out for her own as well as many in the local community. While skeptical that the Allies will eventually relieve the occupation she instead concentrates on survival one day at a time. This is a very well written book, I was totally engrossed from start to finish and was disappointed that the tale didn't last longer. The characters are well formed and believable and you feel empathy for the struggles each must face. There is perhaps a little bit too much of the stereotypical occupied village people - an informant, a scarlet lady, an heroic martyr, but it isn't a glaring fault. I especially liked the fresh perspective of D-day as seen from the villagers eyes.I haven't read anything by Keirnan before, but will look up his two previous novels now.Strongly recommended!
  • (5/5)
    This is a beautifully written historical fiction novel. It gives a real glance into what it must have been like to live in occupied France during World War II. The struggle for survival, the courage of those working within the Resistance, the hope and the despair. It doesn't shy away from the harsh realities of war, especially the brutality of the Nazis to those over whom they had control during the occupation. Emmanuelle (Emma) does not put her hope in anything or anyone; neither God, nor the Allies, nor her fellow villagers. She simply focuses on getting through each day, and yet she eventually finds her best way of doing this is by helping others to survive. Emma begins a system of trade that helps feed her neighbors and supply other items to aide their survival. Her character is often abrasive, but her manners and behaviors are reflective of the trauma she has suffered and her loss of innocence. She carries her losses inside and would not think of herself as heroic, but she manages to apply her wits and cunning to bring relief and solace to many. She is strong and brave, yet flawed, as seen in her treatment of Didier. She can be dismissive, judgmental, and scornful, or compassionate and kind. She is a fully formed character with the contradictions we all possess. I loved following her story from the beginning of the occupation through the arrival of D-Day. I highly recommend this one!
  • (4/5)
    The Baker's Secret is the story of a small French village during the German occupation of WWII. The baker is a young woman named Emma who was the apprentice to the town's baker and ended up taking over his duties when he is killed for being a Jew. I found this novel to be engrossing. It is primarily about the daily struggle of the villagers to survive despite the severe rations and mistreatment by the German officers. Emma takes on the responsibility of helping her fellow villagers obtain goods they need, which puts in her in peril every day. Getting to know the characters in the novel was a delight. The author also drew me into their fear of the Germans and provided suspense with the subterfuge required to procure essentials such as eggs and fuel. Emma discovers some ingenious ways to undermine the German officers in order to help her neighbors. I did not want to put this book down. I just had to know what was going to happen to each of the villages. This excellent novel, which I received as an Early Reviewer, is worthy of 4.5 stars.
  • (5/5)
    I received this book from early reviewers. I absolutely loved this book. It is set in World War II and these books are always terrifying to me. It is well written and the characters are well rounded. I love how Emma doesn't really mean to be a part of the resistance but she can't stand to see villagers starving, I wish the straw in the bread would have killed the Nazis.
  • (4/5)
    I truly enjoyed the last five chapters showing Emma’s eternal courage and determination to serve her community weeks before D Day.
  • (3/5)
    Well written but takes awhile to get into the storyline. Improves as you get further into the story. A unique look at a rural setting WW II experience in France.
  • (4/5)
    When you are a simple young girl, forced to bake bread for occupying Nazi forces, your father in prison, for being part of the resistance, your lover not around, how do you go on?
    This is the premise of the book and the story offers an interesting perspective on how one can resist oppression without being a spy, without using arms or becoming a resistance member. Actually, Emma uses her empathy and humanity to help her fellow villagers, give away some bread, a light bulb, some petrol or cigarettes, some meat, and so on. Each person helped means meticulous planning and deceiving of the occupying forces, and this was at times melting my heart.

    Emma is not a hopeful person: actually, several times through the story she expresses her lack of confidence of ever living in peace; she is also not a religious person, she feels that God has turned away from his people.
    She manages to find out key details about the occupying forces and when the D-day comes she is able to help out the allies.

    “Are you with the Resistance?”
    “No. I am simply trying to survive, and to help those I can.”

    I liked this story since it was written with sensibility and it preserved the naivete of a very young woman, confronted with difficult life circumstances. Her small victories are heart-melting. The violence was there, since those were war times, but it was not depicted too often or too horrific, so the overall tone of the book is somehow light and fluid.

    I did not like too much how the rest of the characters were developed: the good guys and the bad guys are sketched with intense touches and the variation is very limited in depth.

    A nicely and carefully written book, with a few memorable scenes (I loved the description of the baking process, the entire plot around getting the lightbulb and the scene where Emma imagines herself getting the gun and shooting at the soldiers who were enjoying her loaves).
  • (3/5)
    Set in Normandy during WWII, The Baker's Secret is the story of Emmanuelle, a baker's apprentice, and the people of her small town.
  • (4/5)
    The Baker's Secret is a well-crafted novel set in occupied France in World War II. Emma is a baker that is forced to bake bread for the Nazi soldiers. This is a story of strength, courage and resilience of the people suffering in a small town in Normandy on the eve of D-Day.
  • (4/5)
    Loved the book, my only complaint was that the ending seemed rushed, didn’t have a definite resolution. Is there a sequel ?