A solitary artisan. A legacy of bread-baking. And one secret that could collapse her entire identity.
Liesl McNamara’s life can be described in one word: bread. From her earliest memory, her mother and grandmother passed down the mystery of baking and the importance of this deceptively simple food. And now, as the owner of Wild Rise bake house, Liesl spends every day up to her elbows in dough, nourishing and perfecting her craft.
But the simple life she has cultivated is becoming quite complicated. Her head baker brings his troubled grandson into the bakeshop as an apprentice. Her waitress submits Liesl’s recipes to a popular cable cooking show. And the man who delivers her flour—a single father with strange culinary habits—seems determined to win Liesl’s affection.
When Wild Rise is featured on television, her quiet existence appears a thing of the past. And then a phone call from a woman claiming to be her half-sister forces Liesl to confront long-hidden secrets in her family’s past. With her precious heritage crumbling around her, the baker must make a choice: allow herself to be buried in detachment and remorse, or take a leap of faith into a new life.
Filled with both spiritual and literal nourishment, Stones for Bread provides a feast for the senses from award-winning author Christa Parrish.
"A quietly beautiful tale about learning how to accept the past and how to let go of the parts that tie you down." —RT Book Reviews, 4.5 stars, TOP PICK!
|Release Date||Nov 5, 2013|
- Review by Sue
Such is the opening scene from Christa Parrish's book STONES FOR BREAD as Liesl McNamara begins to tell readers through flashbacks and historical/Biblical tidbits the story of her deep connection to bread and its almost miraculous properties. This beginning reminiscence was enough to capture my attention as my own memories floated to the surface. This, I thought, is a book I can connect with. Images of the snow days when I helped my mom bake bread, a tradition I carried on into adulthood, although like thousands of bakers I began to take the easy way out when bread machines hit the market. Never as a child did I think that our old bread dough bowl had its own name - "bread trough" and that it would be an object I would remember fondly. Memories of the first time I baked with our own children and now our grandchildren follow those older childhood ones. I know the grandkids cherish those baking times - I can tell by their smiles and the fact they are always asking if we can make something.
For Liesl, however, breadmaking and its early memories are more than reminiscences. They are an almost spiritual connection she has forged with the grandmother who has died and then her mother who took her own life when Liesl was only 12. While her father turned simultaneously to religion and alcohol to cover his grief, Liesl withdraws into a smaller and smaller world. As she tells it, for a while she cannot even tend the precious sourdough starters her mother and grandmother had tended. It is not until she tires of her successful, but stagnant job in the IT world, that Liesl returns to the world of bread. Her bakery is known for its authentic sourdoughs and artisan breads but she is still living in a very restrained world of her own creation when a reality cooking show offers her a challenge. Then comes a phone call that will shake Liesl's understanding of self to the very core. Is her bread, what she felt was a gift, really "stones"?
Parrish has managed to blend a fascinating history of bread -- what we too often consider an afterthought with a story of self discovery a midst the challenges of hard word and new relationships,
As Liesl learns even facing the worst of the past brings opportunities to see God's blessings and the love that others have for us. I especially liked the recipes, historical perspectives and the strong secondary characters of this book. Each adds another layer to the story.
I found my copy of STONES FOR BREAD through our library system. (Posted on 5/25/2014)
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