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The Baker's Daughter

3.93  ·  Rating Details  ·  13,386 Ratings  ·  1,629 Reviews
In 1945, Elsie Schmidt is a naive teenager, as eager for her first sip of champagne as she is for her first kiss. She and her family have been protected from the worst of the terror and desperation overtaking her country by a high-ranking Nazi who wishes to marry her. So when an escaped Jewish boy arrives on Elsie’s doorstep in the dead of night on Christmas Eve, Elsie und ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published January 24th 2012 by Crown (first published January 1st 2012)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Lacey at All Night Reading
I was unable to finish this book, and I desperately wanted to. Unfortunately, only half of the story was interesting. The story of Elsie was engrossing and well told. Her character was fully developed, and her life a window into a part of the Third Reich that is not spoken of frequently, that of a normal German woman trying to survive and follow her conscience. Her story, and that of her sister, shows the reader the place of women in Nazi Germany.

If the author had continued with Elsie's story, I
ehhhhh, I thought this book was ok. I think the author had a theme (parallels that highlight that the moral high ground isn't always defined by a bright line, whether US border patrol or a German soldier or citizen--pretty ridiculous)and executed against it. The writing was really lacking for me. The parallels felt forced, the characters fell flat, and the book overall came across as a little contrived and even trite. The characters felt caricature-ish (southern writer with depressed dad has tro ...more
Diane S ☔
Dec 09, 2011 Diane S ☔ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I fell in love with the character Elise from the very beginning. From the past, in her homeland of Nazi Germany to her current life in El Paso, Texas, the connecting thread a bakery and the baked goods that sustain her and her families souls. The present story is also interesting with a woman unsure of the future and her fiance, who works for the border patrol and like Elise in the past begins questioning if what he and his country is doing is right. The cruelty of Nazi Germany, the saving of on ...more
Sarah McCoy
Sep 16, 2011 Sarah McCoy added it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Can't wait to share this novel with you all!
This book ended up being very disappointing, although I thought the plot had a lot of potential. It read very much like Sarah's Key, switching back and forth between a modern story and a WWII story in Germany. But it had the same problem as Sarah's Key--the modern line was almost completely uninteresting, and I just kept waiting to get back to the WWII story.

I don't think this book was written very well, and it relied mostly on dramatic events to be exciting. I prefer books that are written in
Angela M
Aug 07, 2014 Angela M rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

It seems to be a trend - stories with alternating narratives of the past and present. I know that for some this mechanism has gotten tiresome but I happen to really enjoy the blending of the past and present, the connecting of stories and characters from different times. The place and the circumstances are almost always different and if this is done well, there is something that grabs me as the stories are brought together. Sarah McCoy has done just that in this moving novel set in El Paso Texas
Andrea at Reading Lark
Review Posted on Reading Lark 3/6/12:

The Baker's Daughter by Sarah McCoy is one of those books that grabs you and refuses to let you go. There are so many elements that rise to the surface with this one that I found myself having to put the novel down and walk away for a bit to digest it all. I went through a wide range of emotions while reading this one. The Baker's Daughter is a story that spans three generations and focuses not only on the past, but is
No one is good or bad by birth or nation or religion. Inside, we are all masters and slaves, rich and poor, perfect and flawed.

I really enjoyed this story about Elsie living in WWII Germany. The book shows that all Germans were not active in the atrocities, and that many families were trying to live their normal lives. Some of them were also affected by things like the Lebensborn program. The aim of this program was to increase the Germanic/Nordic population. It was basically a place where racia
Sara Steger
I probably need to shy away from anything that is written about Nazi Germany, but there is so much potential for good material there and so much excellence in some of the things already written that I find myself being pulled in again and again. Can you say "cliche"? You cannot humanize a man who runs a concentration camp by having him kill a fellow soldier who kills a Jewish woman while arresting her husband. Why can't you tell the story of a normal German family who find themselves almost auto ...more
Feb 14, 2012 Staci rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012-tlc, 2012-reads

First thoughts after finishing: "What an emotional powerhouse!"

I love books that make me weep with sadness and feel such empathy to the characters...this book does that and so much more. I cracked the spine of The Baker's Daughter late in the morning on Saturday and finished it as the sun peeked over the horizon announcing the arrival of Sunday. I was so thankful that I was the only one awake during those first early hours because I was able to be alone with my thoughts after I finished the book
Feb 07, 2012 Jenn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved this book. I loved the parallel stories although I enjoyed Elsie's a bit more. The writing was great, really grabs you and emerge you into the story line right away. I could hardly put it down. The book made me gasp out loud and cry at parts. Definitely a great read, highly recommend it. It's a book that you can't stop thinking about even after it's over. Loved it.
Sep 08, 2012 Laura rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Given the excellent reviews this book has received, I was disappointed. Sarah McCoy's story tracks the life of Elsie (the baker's daughter of the title) during World War II in Garmisch,Germany, where her family, stalwart National Socialists, runs a bakery, and in present day El Paso, Texas. In the El Paso segments, Elsie's story is subordinate to a plot line involving Reba, an American writer and Riki, a Latino border patrol agent. I guess the author's intent is that Reba learn to face life chal ...more
Alex Baugh
Jan 15, 2012 Alex Baugh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-war-2
There seems to be a lot of anticipation about to soon to be released novelThe Baker’s Daughter and I can understand why. Split between past and present, Nazi Germany in the last year of World War II and present day El Paso, Texas, it is the story of two very different women and how they each find themselves.
Elsie Schmidt,16, is the second daughter of bakers in Garmisch, Germany. Her older sister, Hazel, has been in the Lebensborn Program to produce strong, racially pure babies for the Fatherland
May 21, 2013 David rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
What to say? It really had the potential to be a great novel, but the non-chronological jumping around between families felt like a chore. I quite literally could not have cared any less about Reba and Riki and I wish they had been left out of the book altogether. After reading a bio of the author I realize that they were meant to be loosely based on her own experience, but truthfully, I found them to be annoying. I felt that the author was trying to make a parallel between the US Border Patrol ...more
Barbara Kinsky
Aug 05, 2014 Barbara Kinsky rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wwii-holocaust
This book was one of my favorite reads! Very similar to The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult but told more from a German living in Germany during WWII. I loved the 2 different stories being told especially going back in time. I would recommend this book to anybody who enjoys reading about WWII in Germany. Brilliant!!
Melissa Crytzer Fry
Feb 25, 2012 Melissa Crytzer Fry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wip-comps
I fell in love with this novel that not only told a compelling story of one of the strongest, most likeable female characters I’ve read, but did so with language that was delicious enough to eat (the baking themes and metaphors were melt-in-your-mouth good). I seriously could not get enough.

McCoy is a master of weaving concurring plots – one set in ’40s Nazi Germany and a parallel plot set in 2007-08 Texas. The book was part historical fiction (readers are introduced to the unscrupulous Nazi Le
May 29, 2015 Joseph rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How to make a Baker's Daughter Multilayer Cake.


-Four or more sympathetic perspectives
-One cup each of semi-realistic, touching stories from WWII-era Germany and present-day Texas
-Just a dash of drama (easy to overdo it here)
-A pinch of heartbreak and a dollop of humanity.
-As many references to tasty-sounding but difficult-to-pronounce German confections as will fit in your mixing bowl.

Don't worry too much about stirring the varied scenes and perspectives together; they blend together
Jul 06, 2014 ☮Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nook, wwii
3.5 stars.
1942-1945 Nazi Germany is the setting for Elsie's remembrances, when she worried daily about the fate of her parents, their bakery business, and her older sister who is off having perfect Aryan babies to give away to the SS. What an insane program. What an insane time in history. It was closely paired with the modern-day story of Riki of the El Paso border patrol unit and his girlfriend Reba. The author imaginatively compares the treatment of the Jews to the treatment of illegals bei
Olga Kowalska (WielkiBuk)
I would definitely give this book a four-star review - the historical thread was beautifully written and Sarah McCoy managed to recreate the German reality in an amazing way. It was touching and carefully drawn, with great eye for unusual detail.
However, in my opinion she committed one huge mistake with the contemporary plot (in Reba's and Ricky story) by trying to compare the American-Mexican border situation to German situation during the World War II. I understand it was not intentional in an
So what we have here is two story lines, one set in present day Texas, one set in WWII Germany, featuring bakeries, some good strong characters, themes of family, understanding, forgiveness and recipes? Yes, please. Four and a half stars.

I read this basically in one day. I picked it up of the new book shelf at the library because it sounded like my kind of book and then set it aside because, as often seems to be the case, not one but two other requested, highly desirable books came in - and I c
This novel takes place in both Garmisch, Germany, and El Paso, Texas, from 1944 to the late 2000's. I am a huge fan of historical fiction that takes place in Nazi Germany, and I think that part of this novel was the strongest. The story moves back and forth between Germany and El Paso, and I think the author managed the transitions very well. I would also mention that the historical facts appeared very well-researched and accurate which is important to me. I loved that the German language was sp ...more
Jan 21, 2012 Vivian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is perhaps human nature to believe that everyone that "supported" the Nazis were bad people. The truth is that many people were simply trapped in an environment where speaking out meant imprisonment, torture or death. Elsie's family operated a bakery in Germany during the war and they were simply trying to survive along with others in their community. Elsie's older sister had been taken into a "breeding" program and her sole purpose was to produce kids for the great Aryan nation. Elsie is lef ...more
Aug 13, 2013 Connie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This historical novel focuses on a German family that supports Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich during WW II. This is the first time that I have read anything that is written from this perspective. I have read many titles that deal with the Jews and their persecution and murders. I have read many stories of Jewish survivors of this horror. I have also read the stories of "Righteous Gentiles" who saved the lives of many Jews, and I am currently reading several books about the great German theolog ...more
Lydia Laceby
Originally reviewed at Novel Escapes

The Baker's Daughter is riveting and haunting and I loved every word. A story of family, love and choices, this novel alternates between a vivid portrayal of World War II via Elsie as she comes of age during the war and Reba in the present day whose own traumatic life events have shaken her. As the two lives intersect, this novel shows how the past can help heal the present - if we're willing to listen.

I LOVED Elsie. She's spunky, fearless and feisty. The choi
Lyn (Readinghearts)
Oct 24, 2013 Lyn (Readinghearts) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: historical fiction fans, especially those who like WWII stories
Recommended to Lyn (Readinghearts) by: The Sisterhood of the Traveling Book
The Baker's Daughter is really a story within a story. In the set-up story Reba Allen, a writer for a local magazine in El Paso, Texas, is assigned to write a fluff piece about the Christmas customs of the various cultures that make up the melting pot that is El Paso. In pursuit of this, she decides to interview Elsie Schmidt, a German immigrant and owner of Elsie's German Bakerie. Thus the reader is introduced to the second story of the book, that of Elsie Schmidt and her family during the wani ...more
Jul 23, 2012 Aimee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really loved this book a lot. It is one of those books that I know I will be thinking about for a long time. Sarah McCoy takes what would seem to be two totally different story lines and blends them into an unforgettable story. One part of the story is set in the present time and focuses on Reba who feels lost and alone and does not know what to do with her life. She is in a relationship with Riki who works for the US Border Patrol but has been having doubts. While learning about her life we a ...more
Jan 21, 2012 Charlotte rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

The Baker's Daughter has the potential of being one of the most talked about book at book clubs all over the country. But I will warn you that Reba's story line is not nearly as compelling as Elsie's. There were even times where I wondered if the author was trying to make a comparison between Hitler's Gestapo and the present day Border Patrol, but I talked myself out of that theory. It is just not a comparison that I am comfortable with, so I will say it w
Feb 15, 2012 Beth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Complex and moving, The Baker's Daughter is a story (and a journey) centered around Elsie and Reba, two women of different ages and vastly different eras - modern day Texas and 1940s Nazi Germany. In a narrative that moves effortlessly between the past and the present, McCoy never leaves the reader feeling confused as she weaves a tale that is inspiring, heartbreaking and thought-provoking. Lessons of past history and themes of family, friendship, tremendous hardship and forgiveness make this lo ...more
May 03, 2015 ✿Sandra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nook-library
This was a great story in so many ways! Reba Adams is a reporter and she meets Elsie Meriwether while writing a Christmas-themed story. The book goes back and forth from the present to Elsie's past during World War II. Eventually, the past is connected with the present, and Reba learns a lot about what is truly important in her life.

This novel includes letters and emails, introduces a lot of characters and covers a lot of topics (war, immigration, complex relationships with people, etc.), but I
Aug 25, 2012 Michelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
THE BAKER'S DAUGHTER is one of those books you don't want to end. The story begins in a small bakery in Garmisch, Germany during World War II. It is full of richly developed characters whose lives come together in El Paso, Texas. It is a story of being true to yourself, of love and friendship, and of the strength of family bonds. THE BAKER'S DAUGHTER is beautifully written and will hold you spellbound from the first word to the last. I wholeheartedly recommend you put Sarah McCoy's THE BAKER'S D ...more
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What did you think? 1 3 May 03, 2016 04:08PM  
2015 Reading Chal...: The Baker's Daughter By Sarah McCoy 2 13 Nov 23, 2015 07:42PM  
Sisterhood of the...: Sarah McCoy 96 43 May 05, 2015 08:23AM  
I have just begun this book 5 64 Sep 12, 2014 01:29PM  
Retro Chapter Chi...: July 2014: The Baker's Daughter 13 17 Jul 13, 2014 07:29AM  
Sisterhood of the...: The Baker's Daughter by Sarah McCoy 124 40 Jul 06, 2014 08:49AM  
  • Bridge of Scarlet Leaves
  • Anya
  • My Enemy's Cradle
  • The Healing
  • The Bungalow
  • The Golden Hour
  • The List
  • I Gave My Heart to Know This
  • When We Were Strangers
  • The Things We Cherished
  • The Last Telegram
  • Next to Love
  • Far to Go
  • The Keeper of Secrets
  • The Soldier's Wife
  • Flight From Berlin
  • City of Women
  • The Plum Tree
SARAH McCOY is the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of the novels THE MAPMAKER'S CHILDREN, THE BAKER'S DAUGHTER, THE TIME IT SNOWED IN PUERTO RICO, and "The Branch of Hazel," a novella in GRAND CENTRAL.

The Baker's Daughter was praised as "a beautiful heart-breaking gem of a novel" by Tatiana de Rosnay and "a thoughtful reading experience indeed" by Chris Bohjalian. The Baker's
More about Sarah McCoy...

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“People often miss things that don't exist--miss things that were but are not anymore.” 26 likes
“We all tell little lies about ourselves, Our past, our presents. We think some of them are minuscule, unimportant, And others, large and incriminating. But they are the same. Only God Has enough of the story to judge our souls.” 12 likes
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