02 May 2017

A Story of Resistance, Courage & Hope | The Baker's Secret by Stephen P. Kiernan


From the multiple-award-winning, critically acclaimed author of The Hummingbird and The Curiosity comes a dazzling novel of World War II—a shimmering tale of courage, determination, optimism, and the resilience of the human spirit, set in a small Normandy village on the eve of D-Day.

On June 5, 1944, as dawn rises over a small town on the Normandy coast of France, Emmanuelle is making the bread that has sustained her fellow villagers in the dark days since the Germans invaded her country.

Only twenty-two, Emma learned to bake at the side of a master, Ezra Kuchen, the village baker since before she was born. Apprenticed to Ezra at thirteen, Emma watched with shame and anger as her kind mentor was forced to wear the six-pointed yellow star on his clothing. She was likewise powerless to help when they pulled Ezra from his shop at gunpoint, the first of many villagers stolen away and never seen again.

In the years that her sleepy coastal village has suffered under the enemy, Emma has silently, stealthily fought back. Each day, she receives an extra ration of flour to bake a dozen baguettes for the occupying troops. And each day, she mixes that precious flour with ground straw to create enough dough for two extra loaves—contraband bread she shares with the hungry villagers. Under the cold, watchful eyes of armed soldiers, she builds a clandestine network of barter and trade that she and the villagers use to thwart their occupiers.

But her gift to the village is more than these few crusty loaves. Emma gives the people a taste of hope—the faith that one day the Allies will arrive to save them.


Fiction set during the time of World War II is a genre I read often. As heartbreaking as the subject matter can be, I can’t help enjoying the stories of resistance, courage, and hope. In his new novel The Baker’s Secret, Stephen P. Kiernan delivers one such story, and it is exquisite.

In a small German-occupied town on the Normandy coast, a baker works each day with her limited resources to subtly feed and encourage hope among her friends and neighbors. The treatment of her town is cruel and appalling, and with each small act of resistance and subterfuge, she risks her life for the sake of survival. Page after page, her behavior proves brave, dutiful, and selfless amidst the grim small-town realities of war, making Kiernan’s story entirely interesting and mesmerizing.

Beautifully written and excellently characterized, The Baker’s Secret is a perfect choice for fans of World War II fiction. From start to finish, I enjoyed reading it and easily recommend it. 


Thanks to TLC Book Tours, I received a complimentary copy of The Baker’s Secret and the opportunity to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own.


Stephen P. Kiernan is a graduate of Middlebury College, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. During his more than twenty years as a journalist, he has won numerous awards, including the Brechner Center’s Freedom of Information Award, the Scripps Howard Award for Distinguished Service to the First Amendment, and the George Polk Award. He is the author of The Curiosity, his first novel, and two nonfiction books. He lives in Vermont with his two sons.

1 comment:

  1. The WWII era is one of my favorite times to read about because of the stories my grandparents told me. This book is one I hope to pick up soon!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.