The Baker's Daughter: A Novel

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In this New York Times bestseller, two women in different eras face similar life-altering decisions, the politics of exclusion, the terrible choices we face in wartime, and the redemptive power of love.

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 on Christmas Eve, Elsie understands that opening the door would put all she loves in danger.

Sixty years later, in El Paso, Texas, Reba Adams is trying to file a feel-good Christmas piece for the local magazine, and she sits down with the owner of Elsie's German Bakery for what she expects will be an easy interview. But Reba finds herself returning to the bakery again and again, anxious to find the heart of the story—a story that resonates with her own turbulent past. For Elsie, Reba’s questions are a stinging reminder of that last bleak year of World War II.

As the two women's lives become intertwined, both are forced to confront the uncomfortable truths of the past and seek out the courage to forgive.
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About the author

SARAH MCCOY is the New York Times bestselling author of the novel The Time It Snowed in Puerto Rico. She has taught at Old Dominion University and at the University of Texas at El Paso. The daughter of an Army officer, McCoy spent her childhood in Germany. She currently lives with her husband in El Paso, Texas.
 
Visit her at SarahMcCoy.com

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Additional Information

Publisher
Broadway Books
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Published on
Jan 24, 2012
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Pages
304
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ISBN
9780307460202
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Historical / General
Fiction / Literary
Fiction / Women
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

A sweeping story told in letters, spanning two continents and two world wars, Jessica Brockmole’s atmospheric debut novel captures the indelible ways that people fall in love, and celebrates the power of the written word to stir the heart.
 
March 1912: Twenty-four-year-old Elspeth Dunn, a published poet, has never seen the world beyond her home on Scotland’s remote Isle of Skye. So she is astonished when her first fan letter arrives, from a college student, David Graham, in far-away America. As the two strike up a correspondence—sharing their favorite books, wildest hopes, and deepest secrets—their exchanges blossom into friendship, and eventually into love. But as World War I engulfs Europe and David volunteers as an ambulance driver on the Western front, Elspeth can only wait for him on Skye, hoping he’ll survive.
 
June 1940: At the start of World War II, Elspeth’s daughter, Margaret, has fallen for a pilot in the Royal Air Force. Her mother warns her against seeking love in wartime, an admonition Margaret doesn’t understand. Then, after a bomb rocks Elspeth’s house, and letters that were hidden in a wall come raining down, Elspeth disappears. Only a single letter remains as a clue to Elspeth’s whereabouts. As Margaret sets out to discover where her mother has gone, she must also face the truth of what happened to her family long ago.
 
Sparkling with charm and full of captivating period detail, Letters from Skye is a testament to the power of love to overcome great adversity, and marks Jessica Brockmole as a stunning new literary voice.

Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader’s Circle for author chats and more.

Praise for Letters from Skye

“Letters from Skye is a captivating love story that celebrates the power of hope to triumph over time and circumstance.”—Vanessa Diffenbaugh, New York Times bestselling author of The Language of Flowers

“[A] remarkable story of two women, their loves, their secrets, and two world wars . . . [in which] the beauty of Scotland, the tragedy of war, the longings of the heart, and the struggles of a family torn apart by disloyalty are brilliantly drawn, leaving just enough blanks to be filled by the reader’s imagination.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Tantalizing . . . sure to please readers who enjoyed other epistolary novels like The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.”—Stratford Gazette
 
“An absorbing and rewarding saga of loss and discovery.”—Kate Alcott, New York Times bestselling author of The Dressmaker
 
“A sweeping and sweet (but not saccharine) love story.”—USA Today
 
“[A] dazzling little jewel.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • In this thrilling new novel from the author of Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen again demonstrates her talent for creating spellbinding period pieces. At the Water’s Edge is a gripping and poignant love story about a privileged young woman’s awakening as she experiences the devastation of World War II in a tiny village in the Scottish Highlands.

After disgracing themselves at a high society New Year’s Eve party in Philadelphia in 1944, Madeline Hyde and her husband, Ellis, are cut off financially by his father, a former army colonel who is already ashamed of his son’s inability to serve in the war. When Ellis and his best friend, Hank, decide that the only way to regain the Colonel’s favor is to succeed where the Colonel very publicly failed—by hunting down the famous Loch Ness monster—Maddie reluctantly follows them across the Atlantic, leaving her sheltered world behind.
 
The trio find themselves in a remote village in the Scottish Highlands, where the locals have nothing but contempt for the privileged interlopers. Maddie is left on her own at the isolated inn, where food is rationed, fuel is scarce, and a knock from the postman can bring tragic news. Yet she finds herself falling in love with the stark beauty and subtle magic of the Scottish countryside. Gradually she comes to know the villagers, and the friendships she forms with two young women open her up to a larger world than she knew existed. Maddie begins to see that nothing is as it first appears: the values she holds dear prove unsustainable, and monsters lurk where they are least expected.
 
As she embraces a fuller sense of who she might be, Maddie becomes aware not only of the dark forces around her, but of life’s beauty and surprising possibilities.

Praise for At the Water’s Edge
 
“Breathtaking . . . a daring story of adventure, friendship, and love in the shadow of WWII.”—Harper’s Bazaar
 
“A gripping, compelling story . . . Gruen’s characters are vividly drawn and her scenes are perfectly paced.”—The Boston Globe
 
“A page-turner of a novel that rollicks along with crisp historical detail.”—Fort Worth Star-Telegram
 
“Powerfully evocative.”—USA Today
 
“Gruen is a master at the period piece—and [this] novel is just another stunning example of that craft.”—Glamour
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • TODAY SHOW BOOK CLUB PICK • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST AND ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

From the New York Times bestselling author of Loving Frank comes a much-anticipated second novel, which tells the improbable love story of Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson and his tempestuous American wife, Fanny.

At the age of thirty-five, Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne has left her philandering husband in San Francisco to set sail for Belgium—with her three children and nanny in tow—to study art. It is a chance for this adventurous woman to start over, to make a better life for all of them, and to pursue her own desires.  Not long after her arrival, however, tragedy strikes, and Fanny and her children repair to a quiet artists’ colony in France where she can recuperate. Emerging from a deep sorrow, she meets a lively Scot, Robert Louis Stevenson, ten years her junior, who falls instantly in love with the earthy, independent, and opinionated “belle Americaine.”

Fanny does not immediately take to the slender young lawyer who longs to devote his life to writing—and who would eventually pen such classics as Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. In time, though, she succumbs to Stevenson’s charms, and the two begin a fierce love affair—marked by intense joy and harrowing darkness—that spans the decades and the globe. The shared life of these two strong-willed individuals unfolds into an adventure as impassioned and unpredictable as any of Stevenson’s own unforgettable tales.

Praise for Under the Wide and Starry Sky

“A richly imagined [novel] of love, laughter, pain and sacrifice . . . Under the Wide and Starry Sky is a dual portrait, with Louis and Fanny sharing the limelight in the best spirit of teamwork—a romantic partnership.”—USA Today

“Powerful . . . flawless . . . a perfect example of what a man and a woman will do for love, and what they can accomplish when it’s meant to be.”—Fort Worth Star-Telegram

“Horan’s prose is gorgeous enough to keep a reader transfixed, even if the story itself weren’t so compelling. I kept re-reading passages just to savor the exquisite wordplay. . . . Few writers are as masterful as she is at blending carefully researched history with the novelist’s art.”—The Dallas Morning News

“A classic artistic bildungsroman and a retort to the genre, a novel that shows how love and marriage can simultaneously offer inspiration and encumbrance.”—The New York Times Book Review
It is 1961 and Puerto Rico is trapped in a tug-of-war between those who want to stay connected to the United States and those who are fighting for independence. For eleven-year-old Verdita Ortiz-Santiago, the struggle for independence is a battle fought much closer to home.

Verdita has always been safe and secure in her sleepy mountain town, far from the excitement of the capital city of San Juan or the glittering shores of the United States, where her older cousin lives. She will be a señorita soon, which, as her mother reminds her, means that she will be expected to cook and clean, go to Mass every day, choose arroz con pollo over hamburguesas, and give up her love for Elvis. And yet, as much as Verdita longs to escape this seemingly inevitable future and become a blond American bombshell, she is still a young girl who is scared by late-night stories of the chupacabra, who wishes her mother would still rub her back and sing her a lullaby, and who is both ashamed and exhilarated by her changing body.

Told in luminous prose spanning two years in Verdita’s life, The Time It Snowed in Puerto Rico is much more than a story about getting older. In the tradition of The House on Mango Street and Annie John, it is about the struggle to break free from the people who have raised us, and about the difficulties of leaving behind one's homeland for places unknown. At times joyous and at times heartbreaking, Verdita’s story is of a young girl discovering her power and finding the strength to decide what sort of woman she’ll become.
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