A solitary artisan. A legacy of bread-baking. And one secret that could collapse her entire identity.
Liesl McNamara’s life can be described in one word: bread. From her earliest memory, her mother and grandmother passed down the mystery of baking and the importance of this deceptively simple food. And now, as the owner of Wild Rise bake house, Liesl spends every day up to her elbows in dough, nourishing and perfecting her craft.
But the simple life she has cultivated is becoming quite complicated. Her head baker brings his troubled grandson into the bakeshop as an apprentice. Her waitress submits Liesl’s recipes to a popular cable cooking show. And the man who delivers her flour—a single father with strange culinary habits—seems determined to win Liesl’s affection.
When Wild Rise is featured on television, her quiet existence appears a thing of the past. And then a phone call from a woman claiming to be her half-sister forces Liesl to confront long-hidden secrets in her family’s past. With her precious heritage crumbling around her, the baker must make a choice: allow herself to be buried in detachment and remorse, or take a leap of faith into a new life.
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About the Author:
Christa Parrish is the award-winning author of three novels, including the 2009 ECPA Fiction Book of the Year Watch Over Me. When she’s not writing, she’s a homeschool mother of three wonderful children. Married to author and pastor Chris Coppernoll, Christa serves with him as co-leader of their church’s youth ministry as well as serving as a facilitator for a divorce recovery ministry. She is now also slightly obsessed with the art of baking bread.
You can find Christa here: Website * Twitter * Pinterest * Facebook
Liesl McNamara was a bread maker by trade but it was more than that. Making bread was a family tradition that was passed from generation to generation. She learned to make bread at the hands of her mother and grandmother, Oma, from the time she was a little girl. When she found her mother dead at the age of only thirteen, Liesl closed herself off from the world eventually turning to bread making as an escape from the memories that haunted her. Now, years later, she hides from the past in her bake house, Wild Rise. Because her apprentice sends in an application for the TV show Bake-Off, Liesl sons finds herself in the middle of production with some hard decisions to make. But a little girl and her father have worked their way into her life and heart and Liesl has to decide if she is willing to let go of the past and look toward the future.
Seamus Tate is the new flour delivery man for Wild Rise bake house. After his wife walked out he found himself as a single father trying to raise a six year-old alone. When his daughter, Cecelia, becomes attached to the bakery owner he soon finds himself becoming attached to her as well. Liesl has worked her way into his heart and when his mother becomes ill and needs constant care Seamus has no choice but to return to Tennessee. Is his love enough for Liesl? Can she give up the one thing she has always used as a balm to her wounds? Or will she give up the only true love she has ever known?
I’m not exactly sure how I feel about this book. I love the traditions ingrained in Liesl’s family. The bread making that was passed from generation to generation is something to be admired because it brought a closeness between Liesl, her mother and grandmother. Bread making was their solace and that is a beautiful thing. There are a lot of descriptions on bread and bread making all throughout the story. So much so that I feel like bread makers will be more likely to get the most out of the story. I loved her mix matched “family” though. They are described on page 211 like this, “…odd, growing Wild Rise family of immigrants, high school dropouts, nerdy engineers, flirty artists, fundamentalist farm girls, and everyone else.” This is such an accurate description and you can’t help but love the characters. Xavier and Tee especially. It also covered an issue that is seldom discussed and that is, self-inflicted pain. Kids often inflict pain upon themselves as a way of dealing with the problems going on in their lives. In Liesl’s case she would beat her legs with a hairbrush until she was black and blue. I feel it’s a problem that should be addressed more and I give a thumbs up to Christa Parrish for bringing it to light.
I am a romance junkie at heart, though, and I feel like the one thing I love took a backseat to everything else. The romance between Liesl and Seamus was slow in developing and I really like that but I wanted to read more about it. I wish it had been woven into the story more often. Seamus was such a sweet, teddy bear of a man and I would like to have seen more of him. Also, all throughout the book the story would just stop and there would be a section connecting Jesus, the Bread of Life, to the bread we consume daily and then the story would resume where it left off. While I completely agree with this theological concept, it somehow seemed misplaced for me. I’m still struggling with how to classify this book as well. Is it romance, self-help or women’s fiction maybe? I’ll let you be the judge. I also feel like there was a loose end. I like my books all tied up in neat little packages but I felt like there was a loose thread left hanging. If you are a romance junkie like I am, while you might like the sense of family this book evokes, you may not love the story as a whole quite as much. However, if you are a bread enthusiast I do recommend it as you will most likely love it because it has a lot of references to and instructions on bread and bread making and it also includes several recipes.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review. The opinions stated are mine and mine alone. I received no monetary compensation for this review.
My Rating: 3 Stars ***
Q & A: I ask the question and you answer with your own personal thoughts! 🙂
Bread making was a beloved tradition for Liesl’s family that was passed down from generation to generation. It was something that drew them closer and gave them a special bond. What traditions do you cherish in your family?
Christa Parrish is celebrating her fourth novel, Stones for Bread, with a KitchenAid Mixer giveaway.
Easy steps to enter:
1. Follow Christa Parrish and TNZ Fiction on Pinterest.
2. Then Pin the Stones for Bread book cover (below), the contest graphic (above), or both, and link to this post (using this URL: #StonesforBread KitchenAid Mixer Contest #ChristaParrish http://litfusegroup.com/campaigns/stones-for-bread-by-christa-parrish).
3. Then fill out THIS SHORT FORM to let us know. (There are also some additional ways to earn extra entries, as well as an option for non-Pinterest users. It’s true—people like that do exist!)
Questions? Email info @ litfusegroup dot com.
Winner will be announced on 12/9 on Christa’s Facebook Page.