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The Baker's Apprentice: A Novel Paperback – March 14, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Bread remains a significant metaphor for life in Hendricks's warm and savory if somewhat predictable sequel to her debut novel, Bread Alone (2001). In the fall of 1989, Wynter Morrison, now a full partner in Seattle's funky Queen Street Bakery, is still waiting for her divorce settlement to become final. The former L.A. socialite, empowered by the lessons she's learned working with bread, takes on a new responsibility: teaching Tyler Adler, an angry ex-cheerleader, about the joys and perils of baking. Meanwhile, Wyn's relationship with bartender Mac McLeod, a frustrated writer, is in trouble: "Throw some sex into the mix and it's like putting too much yeast in bread. It's all very fizzy and light and wonderful, but then it rises too high and can't support its own weight and the whole thing falls flat." Then Mac suddenly takes off, retreating to a small town where he struggles to overcome writer's block and deal with an old tragedy that has affected his romance with Wyn. When Mac returns, Wyn faces a future that might not include bread baking, and the couple learns that a recipe for life without love is totally useless. Bakers will welcome the recipes (such as for Capuccino Hazelnut Scones) that Hendricks includes. Agent, Jane Gelfman at Gelfman/Schneider. (Apr. 5)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Readers who loved Wynter and Mac in Bread Alone (2001) will be glad to know that Hendricks cooks up a fulfilling second helping in this engaging sequel (recipes included). In the first novel, Wynter needed a bit of rescuing and Mac made a wonderful knight errant. Here it is Mac who needs saving, but he's not ready to accept her help, so he takes off for Alaska, settling in tiny, quirky Beaverton. From there he writes letters to Wynter and tries to come to terms with his past. Hendricks excels at creating atmosphere, bringing both the Yukon and Seattle to life as determined Wynter copes and Mac broods. Hendricks' story reveals many secrets as it provides readers with a fulfilling and happy reading experience. Although not as funny as Jennifer Crusie's Bet Me [BKL D 1 03] or Raffaella Barker's Summertime (2003), Hendricks' latest expresses the same heartfelt and committed love, sense of community, and pervasive kindness via fabulously cool and competent heroes. Highly recommended for both romance and women's fiction fans. Neal Wyatt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Kept my interest all the way through. Well written,
made me feel like I was part of the story, very realistic.
I was so happy to read the sequel to Bread Alone.
I do enjoy reading this author.
Wynter is waiting on her divorce settlement and is strapped for cash, having borrowed $15,000 from her mother to become a partner in the bakery. Although the sex is great, her sometime boyfriend Mac is experiencing personal (emotional) problems, and splits for Alaska to rewrite his rejected manuscript. Things at work are well nigh unbearable: new cake decorator Maggie and barista Tyler are engaged in a perpetual war against each other, creating tension and worse. Wynter is left to pick up the pieces, and after Linda retires, Tyler is made a baker's apprentice in her place. Surprisingly, the artistic Tyler proves a quick study. Wynter is offered the chance to return to Toulouse to visit the bakery where she had a fateful internship in college, hoping to learn new bread wisdom from the master baker she once dreamed of seducing.
There are several mouthwatering recipes included (Hazelnut Cappuccino Scones, Tyler's Indian Maiden Bread, fouace aux noix), and Hendricks' lush descriptions of the process of baking, baked goods, and the luscious dinners that Wynter whips up borders on food porn. However, the plot slows to a crawl at times, with too much of the book devoted to Mac's narrations of life in Beaverton, Yukon Territories. The numerous secondary characters' crises and dilemmas never seem adequately resolved, and the ending is abrupt.
Newcomers may want to start with "Bread Alone," since a good deal of "The Baker's Apprentice" is explained in the first novel. For those who enjoyed "Bread Alone" or who enjoy breadmaking, "The Baker's Apprentice" is a pleasing, mouth-watering read. At any rate, I enjoyed the rich descriptions, tasty recipes, and closure of Wynter and Mac's journey.
To me, this book reads like a jumbled mix of everything that was edited out of the first book. The pace is frustratingly slow and not much gets resolved. For example: the whole divorce issue, which was core in the first book, peters out as if the author is tired of discussing it.
As more of a minor but irritating point: not one person is happy in the entire book. Every employee has a personal crisis (none of which are resolved or moved forward) and the book ends very abruptly.
So, I'm ticked that I bought -- and read -- what amounts to the author's cast-off notes from _Bread Alone_. I kept hoping the story would get better but it never did. My mistake was not sticking to the "library strategy".
Documenting this latest period Wynter has become part owner of the bakery she found her greatest solace in - working the night shift and baking bread. She has even found a new romantic interest of sorts in Mac, a bartender and aspiring author. Though the physical relationship (sex) is fabulous, Mac is not a nurturing kind of guy and keeps his past life and feelings inside, a condition that Wynter is not too crazy about. Just about the time Wynter is admitting to herself that she's in love with him, Mac announces he needs space and heads for Alaska. If that wasn't enough, Wynter is also dealing with the eccentric and odd group of employees, their problems and lives while trying to keep her own life from once again falling apart.
This was my first experience with this author, and while I can honestly say it was well-written, I did find it to be a bit on the slow side - much like a soap opera that just kind of goes on and on. The characters were all, quite original, from the odd assortment of friends and workers in the bakery, to another bunch of eccentrics who live their lives up in the Yukon territory of Canada that Mac ran into. When Wynter and Mac were together the sensuality was hot, yet it was more physical with not much feeling from Mac and it wasn't until he was away and started writing letters back to Wyn that he started to open up, with even that `openness' meager at best. So, as far as the romance aspect in this went I would have to say - not the greatest. In fact, I found Wyn's nurturing relationship with Tyler, her bread-making apprentice as more interesting than her romantic interest in Mac.
So you ask, what was really great about this book was the saliva that grew in my mouth over some of the fabulously descriptive breads and foods being described and recipes provided and an urgent need to contact my travel agent for a trip to Seattle! Now if a love affair was written as sensually as the food descriptions and preparations that could almost bring the reader to climax - you'd have the next GONE WITH THE WIND! BOTTOM LINE - An interesting and original work that if not really heavy in the romance aspect - read it for the fabulous recipes!---Marilyn, for [...] ---