The Baker’s Daughter
D. P. Cornelius
Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas
Published February 1, 2017
About The Baker’s Daughter
While chaos reigns over WW II Berlin, seventeen-year-old Liddy returns to her family’s bakery only to be confronted by a new customer — Keppler, a Nazi officer. Marek, a young man with a secretive past, labors just a few paces away in the kitchen, but where do his loyalties lie? With the Nazis? With Liddy?
Liddy’s father, Klaus, secures a night job as a prison guard where anti-Nazi dissident, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, is being held. Klaus smuggles out the pastor’s letters, but tensions rise as Keppler establishes a tenuous relationship with Liddy’s young brother, Willy. Does the Nazi officer wish to recruit Willy, or is Keppler there to spy on Liddy’s family?
From air raids to the Hitler Youth, Liddy becomes enmeshed in a world of spies intent on betrayal. When Liddy makes a critical mistake that endangers a loved one, she faces a decision that puts her own faith on the line and her family’s safety in jeopardy.
I generally love World War II stories, possibly because when I was little, my mom read The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom aloud to us, and then in my early teens I discovered the Zion Covenant by Bodie and Brock Thoene.
I liked that The Baker’s Daughter referenced some real life people. Dietrich Bonhoeffer makes a brief appearance, and Liddy’s family discusses some of the principles he teaches. Also, Betsie Ten Boom, Corrie’s sister speaks with Marek’s mother in a scene set in a concentration camp. It was cool to see them in the pages of this story.
One of the other things I liked was the tenuous friendship between Liddy and the Nazi officer Keppler. I liked that he wasn’t portrayed as simply an evil man. When Liddy looks past his cold exterior, she finds he nurses some wounds that have festered into deep bitterness, and she continues to reach out to him and to challenge him to love others and to question his actions from the perspective of what God would want him to do.
While I enjoyed some things about the story, I struggled with other elements. Adults make up most of the viewpoints in the story– Herr Keppler, Liddy’s mother, Marek’s mother. Some of the pivotal scenes happen in these adult points-of-view. I would classify this as general or adult fiction, not young adult fiction. Even the younger viewpoints don’t really read like YA.
Another thing I found frustrating was the fact that so many of the most interesting parts of the story happen off-scene. What does Marek’s role in the resistance look like? What dangers does he face on a regular basis? Why was his heritage and the danger it placed him in revealed so late in the story? It seemed to me a missed opportunity for tension. At one point, the story jumps ahead a year, and Liddy recaps some of the missed events in a letter to her grandmother. Some of those sounded exciting. In particular, the arrest of some of Marek’s resistance compatriots. Were the Nazis closing in on him? Was he worried?
The ending of the story left a lot of things vague. It also has more of a recap tone, which missed any strong sense of emotions on how Liddy felt about the events that took place just before.
On the whole, I thought there were some cool elements to the story. I liked that The Baker’s Daughter followed a typical German family in Berlin in Nazi Germany, and I liked the cameo appearances by well-known real-life heroes. The Christian world-view and themes are strong and well-represented. Readers looking for overtly Christian books will like the clear message of God’s redemptive love and forgiveness.
German and Jewish characters.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Liddy and Marek seem to feel some attraction for each other, but their relationship doesn’t develop physically.
Marek spent a lot of time in a Catholic church. Liddy and her family are Christians and pray together as well as talk about spiritual precepts. Liddy begins to challenge the Nazi soldier who frequents her family’s bakery, asking him why he’s so critical and encouraging him to show love and kindness toward others. Later, she speaks to him about forgiveness and how God’s love is unconditional.
A bomb injures a boy and young woman.