The Baker’s Daughter by Sarah McCoy

The Baker's Daughter

I liked the premise of this novel – a reporter stumbles into a German bakery in Texas, hoping the owner will share her personal story of how Christmas was celebrated in her mother country.  What follows is a reluctant unraveling of Elsie’s youth in Nazi Germany, as part of a Baker’s family, that struggles between their own values, allegiance to their country and simple survival.

At the same time, we hear about Reba’s (the reporter’s) personal life – her self-imposed distance from her own family and her difficulties with her boyfriend, who works for the U.S. Border Patrol in El Paso, Texas.

I believe the author was trying to show how good people are sometimes enlisted to do bad things, and in so doing, she invites a comparison between the treatment of Jews in Nazi Germany and illegal immigrants in the United States.  This part bothered me – because I felt it was comparing apples to oranges.  To compare the two really takes something away from each.  I wish McCoy had just focused on Elsie’s story.

Another issue I had with the book is I felt many times that the author created 21st century characters and placed them in the year 1944.  As a person of German ancestry, I also felt that at times, Elsie and especially her mother, stepped out of character.  German’s are notoriously tight-lipped.  There are things they don’t and won’t say.  For instance, there’s a part of the book where Elsie’s mother reveals something bad from her own past, and I found this to be unbelievable – especially since it was unnecessary.

Because it was a work of historical fiction dealing with World War II, I still enjoyed it, but there is room for improvement.

3 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2012
292 pages

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About Suzanne

I'm a stay-at-home mom with three kids who loves to read.
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