Published by Thomas Nelson on October 2011
Genres: Fiction, Christian, Suspense
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QUICK HIT - Healy continues to develop her own distinctive voice and themes, crafting intricate plots about broken people touched by the supernatural. Her novels carry an emotional power and gives insight into the human soul in a way that few novelists can.
When everything falls apart, when the perfect picture is shattered, when your pain seems unbearable…then what? The Baker’s Wife is a story of brokenness and the paths different characters take to restoration, but it all centers primarily on the titular character of Audrey Bofinger.
Audrey has had a rough year. Her husband, Geoff, lost his pastorate after a scandal rocked the congregation. Led by elder Jack Mansfield, the congregation kicked Geoff and his family out on the curb. Not only did that fracture the relationship with their congregation, it also chipped the relationship between Geoff and their nineteen year old son Ed, who played a part in the alleged scandal.
In the months since, Audrey and Geoff have opened up their own little bakery and Ed is working with them. Baking is a type of catharsis, a way to heal. The wounds are just beginning to close when, on the way to the bakery, Audrey hits a motor scooter she didn’t see through the fog. Blood is everywhere but no rider is to be found…and the scooter belongs to Jack Mansfield’s wife.
Tensions mount on all sides and finally reach the breaking point as Jack, a detective, becomes convinced the Bofinger’s are to blame for his wife’s disappearance. It is left to Audrey to not only find Jack’s wife but also unravel the mystery of her own suffering. The journey makes its way through broken hearts and lives, and Audrey’s own empathetic heart may not be able to survive.
In The Baker’s Wife, Erin Healy crafts a complex novel filled with suspense, danger, a touch of the supernatural, but above all—emotion. Humans and their internal emotional states are at the core of this novel, from Audrey’s visceral empathy to Jack’s self-righteousness to Ed’s overriding guilt. Healy writes wonderfully, touching on deep themes such as balancing our concept of a God of mercy and justice, the universal nature of brokenness, and the working of God through pain and suffering. Other gems bleed from the page more subtly as Healy brings us into a number of perspectives in order to better understand the whole.
The only criticism I could possibly mount upon this novel is that I think understanding a bit more of the back story between the Bofinger’s and the Mansfield’s would help readers understand a bit more about the present situation, but the abrupt eight month jump from chapters one to two are also effective. One doesn’t really lose anything from the story—I just had a desire to know more.
Healy continues to develop her own distinctive voice and themes, crafting intricate plots about broken people touched by the supernatural. Her novels carry an emotional power and gives insight into the human soul in a way that few novelists can. The Baker’s Wife is a solid addition to the Erin Healy canon, one that will leave you pondering the same questions asked by its characters.
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