Monday, November 7, 2011

The Baker's Wife by Erin Healy

The Baker's WifeThe Baker's Wife by Erin Healy

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Goodreads: 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 patrons hostage, Audrey must find Julie and unravel the secret of her own mysterious suffering before Jack comes undone.

My take: I liked a lot of things about this book. I liked the resilience of the protagonists. When life crashes down on the Geoff, Audrey and their son, Ed, they choose to pick up the pieces and open a bakery amid the scandal. They trust in God and get up for another day.

I enjoyed the timing of the events. Little by little the pieces of the puzzle are revealed and cheating by reading the end before honestly getting to it won't work. Not that I'd try that, of course. Of course.

Surprisingly, I liked having the character of Jack. He is extremely unlikeable and self-righteous and believes himself like Job, quoting scripture out of context to support his stance and his actions and that's why I appreciated his part in the story. Because those are the people we need to watch for. A wolf in sheep's clothing, if you will. Dangerous, powerful, and unstable. Willing to be right at all costs rather than listening to the Spirit.

I also enjoyed the description of true hypocrisy. Contrary to popular belief, hypocrisy is not a sinner who goes to church.

The book didn't take a deep hold of me because it seemed unbelievable and I was unsatisfied with the ending. What happened to Geoff, Audrey and Ed was completely believable. It's happened many times before; jealousies tempting another to take down a pillar in the community and claiming they are the hypocrites. Totally believable. It was Jack (although I appreciated this character) who, after years of exemplary behavior goes nuts and it didn't make sense to me. I couldn't connect the dots. And, although I understood the character of Julia, her behavior didn't add up, either.

I guess it was the extremeness of all of the consequences. Yes, it happens. When someone high up is ready to fall, we all watch with baited breath. Having been on the other side, though, I no longer judge along with the media. I really do feel sorrow. But what about a 17 year old girl? That was extreme. Parents who wouldn't forgive their children, people who left home without a plan, and a detective who goes nuts because he wants to be right. Just. Didn't. Add. Up.

It's still a good book. Lots of wisdom written between the story.

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