The Baker’s Daughter

You know when you finish reading such a wonderful book that you’re actually scared to start a new book because you know it just won’t live up to the previous one?

That happened to me with The Baker’s Daughter. I finished it a week ago and still haven’t started reading anything new…partially because I’ve been so busy and partially because I want my next book to be equally as amazing. Any recommendations?

The Baker’s Daughter is a novel set in two different periods, present day Texas and Nazi Germany. Reba, a young journalist living in El Paso is busy interviewing Elsie, a German baker, about Christmas traditions in Germany when she was growing up. Through flashbacks of Elsie’s childhood during the height of World War Two, we learn about secrets she has been holding onto for more than fifty years…the parallel between the Holocaust and undocumented Mexican families being deported in Texas is thought provoking to say the least. I loved both Reba and Elsie’s stories and thought the ending was fabulous!

On another note, I have “real life” book club this afternoon and I am leading the discussion on Sisters, which I read a couple months ago and loved as well.

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  • Blog is the New Black
    February 18, 2012 at 5:14 am

    This book sounds incredible! I am obsessed with WW2 literature!

  • Lynda
    February 18, 2012 at 5:24 am

    You need to read The Bells!

  • kaitlin @4loveofcarrots
    February 18, 2012 at 5:34 am

    I def need to read this book. I read sisters and absolutely loves it. I think you would really like ‘Darling Jim’ it won’t disappoint you.

  • Mel @ Post Grad Mel
    February 18, 2012 at 7:00 am

    Ooh! Sounds kind of similar to Those Who Save Us which I loved as well. I love WWII novels!

  • Jen
    February 18, 2012 at 7:27 am

    Not sure if you would like it but have you read The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo? It’s a suspenseful thriller. A little hard to get into but excellent once you do!

  • Shut Up and Run
    February 18, 2012 at 7:33 am

    I’m reading the Murder’s Daughter. If you haven’t read it yet, seems like something you might like.

  • Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga
    February 18, 2012 at 8:17 am

    I’ve heard about this book from a friend who told me it was really good and she’s a big time reader. Have fun at your book club tonight!

  • JCHokie
    February 18, 2012 at 8:18 am

    Sounds like you enjoyed this book as much as I did. I could not stop thinking about it. The characters really stayed with me. I wrote a review on the book on and the author “liked” my review. And came to find out, she and I went to the same college! Loved this book. Will check out The Sisters as well. Thanks for all the great recs.

  • Margarita
    February 18, 2012 at 8:20 am

    I led my book club’s discussion this week and we read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. This is the first book of a trilogy. I read all three books and found each one fascinating, suspenseful, and new. The characters are all strong people coming from very diverse life histories that shaped who they have become and what they believe is right. This trilogy gives an insight on The Swedish justice system, the abuse of women, politics, and journalism ethics. It also gives a good glimpse of different lifestyles.

  • Cait's Plate
    February 18, 2012 at 8:28 am

    I LOVE when that happens to me with books. It’s one of the best feelings ever. It’s like you need to give it time and space before you develop relationship with the next set of characters.

    I’m ready “The Way the Crow Flies” right now and LOVING it!

  • Carolyn
    February 18, 2012 at 8:39 am

    I’ve probably said this before, but The Book Thief is amazing. I recommend it to everyone, especially people who like historic fictions.

  • Caroline
    February 18, 2012 at 9:03 am

    I think I am going to read that book next! Also, I love all of your recipes. I’ve never commented before because I didn’t have my own blog, but I finally took the plunge! Thanks for being an inspiration 🙂

  • britt
    February 18, 2012 at 10:12 am

    i love books that leave you feeling that way. but i always feel a little sad when i’m done reading them too.

    just added this one to my wish list on amazon. thanks for the recommendation!

  • Katie (Life Discombobulated)
    February 18, 2012 at 10:28 am

    I recommend both The Bungalow and The Violets of March, both by Sarah Jio. These are the two very best books I’ve read lately! I also read (and liked – but not loved) The Cookbook Collector.

  • Amelia @ Eating Made Easy
    February 18, 2012 at 11:29 am

    So glad you posted this – I was just thinking I needed to fall in love with a new book. We just got rid of our TV so I look forward to indulging in some reading!

  • Stephen @ Feeding My Folks
    February 18, 2012 at 11:34 am

    That ALWAYS happens to me! It’s almost depressing to start reading a new book after something incredible because they never keep your “book high” going.
    Usually I try to wait a week and a half between books….one time it took a little over a month!

  • Bliss
    February 18, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    If you are interested in a FANTASTIC book that’s historical fiction, check out The Dovekeepers, by Alice Hoffman. It was amazing, I couldn’t put it down!

  • Emily @ Life on Food
    February 18, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    That books sounds really interesting. Good luck with the book club. I wish I had one close to me. I would be pretty intimated though actually participating.

  • Cardinal Cyn
    February 18, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    Have just discovered your blog and have been checking it out. Love it! I will take note of this book because I’m in a bookgroup too and love to read. I can highly recommend The Mascot (by Mark Kurzem). It’s about a young Jewish boy during WW2 who sees his family murdered and keeps the secret of his Jewishness when captured by Latvian SS troops. They adopt him as their mascot. Couldn’t put it down.

  • Aylin @ Glow Kitchen
    February 18, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    I’m going to make the Baker’s Daughter my next read. you sold it to me

  • Sarah
    February 18, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    I haven’t read The Baker’s Daughter yet, so I don’t know how it compares, but you might enjoy A Thousand Days in Tuscany by Marlena de Blasi. I did – immensely. The way she swirled Tuscany life, recipes and her story all into one – lovely.

  • Tricia
    February 18, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    I loved the tea rose!! The third book in the trilogy just came out. It is definitely one of the books you can’t put down.

  • Ali
    February 18, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    “Illegal” Mexican families?

    Jenna, you have been in California and wine country long enough to use better rhetoric than this. Especially since you are a PBS contributor and so well-read.

    Try “undocumented” – it is considered less inflammatory even in professional journalism.

    • jenna
      February 19, 2012 at 7:25 am

      You’re completely right!

    • chand
      February 19, 2012 at 11:16 am

      undocumented=illegal. Nothing rhetoric about it.

  • Lynne
    February 18, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    What about the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society? The authors are Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. The whole book is a series of letters, and the setting is England, shortly after World War II. It was witty, sad, and thought-provoking, all at once!

  • trish
    February 18, 2012 at 11:39 pm

    I’m glad you liked The Baker’s Daughter! I’m friends with Sarah, so I’m thrilled to see folks loving her book.

    You might try Gillespie and I. People are totally loving it. It’s on my list of books to buy. You might also try The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (though it WILL make you cry). I haven’t read that one either but it’s ALSO on my list of books to read, but all my friends have loved it. I’m just finishing up the Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness, which starts with The Knife of Never Letting Go. It’s smart, sweet, action-packed, and thought provoking. It’s a YA dystopian series, even better than The Hunger Games in my opinion. The Knife of Never Letting Go does have a scene in it that had me curled up in a fetal position sobbing, but I would still recommend it.

    (And because I can’t help myself, I really loved 22 Brittania Road, as well as Vaclav and Lena.)

  • Meg A
    February 19, 2012 at 12:41 am

    I know the feeling. I literally finished “When She Woke” by Hillary Jordan ten minutes ago and I can’t fall asleep because I’m so amped up from it. It was that good. Have you read it?

  • molly
    February 19, 2012 at 8:22 am

    I just finished a book that was so good i was apprehensive to start my next one… I’ve since started it but i can’t stop thinking about Firefly Lane! At 500 pages, it seems intimidating, but it was SO GOOD. I lent it to a friend of mine who is a full time grad student and she even managed to finish it 3 days.

    Im always looking for another good book so i might have to add this to my list!

  • carolyn
    February 19, 2012 at 8:49 am

    margaret atwood is great. if you havent read “the blind assassin,” get on that! or “alias grace.” “The Blind Assassin” is two stories being told at once: the story of this old woman’s life leading up to her sister’s suicide, and the other is the sister’s posthumously published book (its a booker prize winner!). “Alias Grace” is about an 1840s scandalous murder in Toronto and Atwood tells the story from the POV of the housemade, who is serving a life sentence for the crime.

  • Maria @ Beautiful Busy Bee
    February 19, 2012 at 9:43 am

    That sounds like a really good book! Not much writing is about the unfairness of the deportation in Texas (and I am ashamed of living in Texas where immigrants are not always welcome!) and so I’ll need to check out this book. Have a great weekend! 🙂

  • Jaime
    February 19, 2012 at 10:59 am

    I so need to read this. I grew up and went to high school in El Paso, so this should be an interesting read !

  • Beth
    February 19, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    I’d pick up one of the many Esmeralda Santiago books. Specifically, either of my two favorites: “when I was Peurto Rican” an autobiography about cultural identity set in Peurto Rica & NYC or her fictional novel “Conquistadora”

    Hope you enjoy one of the two!

  • sara
    February 19, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    I recently read Never Let Me Go…its one of the best books I’ve ever read. I mention it because I didn’t read another book for a month after finishing. I too was convinced anything else would disappoint. 🙂

  • Irene
    February 19, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    Have you read Garlic and Sapphires? I felt like the author was sharing a brain with me because she loves food so much:) I think you’d like it and it’s non-fiction so it might help you not compare too much.

  • Ellie
    February 19, 2012 at 11:16 pm

    There are other interesting comparisons between the situation of illegal immigrants in America and the situation of Jews in Germany and Eastern Europe at the very beginning of the Nazis’ rise to power. I was a little stunned to realize that the “self-deport” idea is exactly the same idea that Nazis had before thinking of their Final Solution plan. They wanted to make life so unpleasant for Jews that they would willingly leave. Their initial policies such as suddenly banning Jews from most professions or from associating with Gentiles, confiscation of money and property, etc. were directed specifically to this end. This is very reminiscent of the same thing that is happening now with attempts to make life in America as unpleasant as possible for illegal immigrants: and in a recent This American Life:

  • Jackie
    February 20, 2012 at 4:47 am

    I am reading The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie and have fallen in love with Flavia, the 11-year old narrator and aspiring chemist/detective. Love this book and excited to dig further into this series.

  • Kelly W
    February 21, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    I felt that way about “The Help”. Wonderful book. I was torn about starting a new book because I felt that it wouldn’t live up to my expectations. Thank you for a new recommendation. I will have to try this one out!

  • Diana
    February 21, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    Have you read The House at Tyneford? Best book I’ve read in a long time–young Jewish girl sent to England at the start of WWII as a maid in a big house (think Downton Abbey). Really great.

  • Alicia @ The Reluctant Home Cook
    June 18, 2012 at 7:17 am

    Just started reading the book and can’t put it down! Thanks for the suggestion.