The book: The Baker's Wife
The author: Erin Healy
The publisher: Thomas Nelson
WOW! If I could sum up The Baker's Wife in one word, it would definitely be "wow". I wasn't sure what to expect with this book as I had never read anything by Erin Healy, but it far surpassed any pre-conceived notions I had based on the descriptions of it. It has a little bit of everything in it: suspense, action, arguments for and against religion, love, spirituality, mystery. You can download the first four chapters for free here.
Summary: After a scandal cost Audrey's husband his pastoral career, they opened a small bakery in town. One foggy morning, Audrey was driving to the bakery when she hits a scooter and finds a puddle of blood in the intersection, but no body. The scooter and the blood both belong to the wife of a local detective, who is missing. The detective is positive Audrey is behind his wife's disappearance.
Unable to locate his wife, the detective takes matters into his own hands, holding Audrey's family hostage in the bakery. It's up to Audrey, an ex-con, and a teen to find his wife before the detective completely loses control.
Reaction: I just can't say enough good things about The Baker's Wife. I was hooked from the first page right through the last. There was never a dull moment. I never wanted to put the book down. I loved how each character had at least one intricate connection to someone else and I enjoyed how each connection was slowly revealed.
There is significant religious reference, but not in an annoying or over zealous way (which is saying a lot, because I generally avoid religiously centered books). There are characters that portray both pro-religion and anti-religion, which I enjoyed. I like that both sides were represented.
The characters are so lifelike that I almost felt their emotions as they experienced them. I was teary-eyed more than once! The back story for each character felt like it was almost torn from them, raw and emotional. They were exposed detail by detail until the complete web of their lives are before you. The skill with which Healy does this will leave you in awe.
I absolutely will be seeking out Healy's other novels.
Verdict: 5 Stars hands down.