Tuesday, September 20, 2011

"The Baker's Wife" Book Review

Who wouldn't be captivated by the book's description? 
It read.... "What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger, so why is Audrey weakening day by day? 
It's been a tough year for Audrey's family. Her husband Geoff, a pastor, lost his job after a scandal rocked their congregation.Audrey hasn't lost faith. She's held her family together. Their attempt to resurrect a failing bakery is an effort to heal the family wounds and restore their place in the community.Late to the bakery one dim, foggy morning, Audrey turns into the intersection in front of the shop and strikes a vehicle that she can't see even after the collision settles. Emerging from her car into the fog, she discovers she's hit a motor scooter. There's no rider in sight. There's blood, though, so much that she slips in it, injuring her wrists.The absence of the scooter driver is a mystery, especially to Sergeant Jack Mansfield, the detective and church member who drove Geoff from his pulpit. The scooter belongs to Jack's wife, Julie, a teacher at the local high school. She has vanished like morning fog.Though there is no evidence to support Jack's growing suspicion that Audrey and Geoff were involved in Julie's disappearance, the detective is convinced of their guilt. Jack's ability to reason slips as the leads on his wife dry up.When Jack takes the tiny bakery and its patron’s hostage, Audrey must find Julie and unravel the secret of her own mysterious suffering before Jack comes undone."

Almost immediately I developed a love/hate relationship with the story line and its characters. Audrey, at first, seemed to have her own unnervingly strange quirks which caused her to have unusual and, at times, almost life threatening ailments in response to the distress of others. What was that all about? But then her compassion and sensitivity kind of grew on me as she became ever more endearing, especially as she struggles though her own issues and her responses to the less-than-lovely others in her story.

Then there is Jack, who believes himself to be a godly, just and righteous man of God while being harsh, judgmental and even cruel, until finally...!  He is an interesting and difficult character study. 

Audrey and Geoff's son Ed was certainly the most true-to-life character and I liked the addition of Diane (the ex-con) and Leslie (the nerdy student). They helped give the story depth and volume as the plot unfolded. Another interesting element is the unpredictable ending. I won't give it away...you need to read it for yourself.

This is not one of those fairy tale Christian romance novels with a few references to God or church and then not much more. This is a dig down deep look at the real dilemma of dealing with the most difficult people and circumstances in one's life. I especially appreciated the discussion questions at the end of the book. I wish I had read them sooner so that I would have had a clearer understanding of what the author was trying to present. This is a book I will probably read again, just to pick up what I missed the first time around. 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255