Thursday, October 13, 2011
The Baker's Wife
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: Complex doesn't even begin to describe this book. I think this would be great for a discussion group because there is endless material --- from the plot twists, all the characters and their relationships to each other and reactions to their situations, and the spiritual applications of all the above ... I think the book could provide quite a lot of fodder for intelligent debate and discussion.
For the most part the character populated her world with some interesting and even mysterious characters. Some of them seemed to fall into the predictable stereotypes and I wished she had given them something to pull away from those patterns. For example, Jack's character as the over zealous and legalistic religious leader and cop made him even more obnoxious and abusive. It was hard to feel anything for him as a person.
I think the pacing might have felt faster than it was at times because there is a somewhat larger than normal cast of characters that feel so central to what's going on. Audrey, Geoff and their son, plus Jack, Julie (and to a lesser extent - their daughter), then Diane - are central to what's going on. Then there are other characters that feature prominently as well. It wasn't too many - but it's more than the two or three that I'm used to.
I liked most of the differences that made this book unique. If you love intelligent suspense novels with a lot going on in them. this may be a good book for you as well. I'm thankful to Thomas Nelson for providing me a copy in exchange for my honest review.