Thursday, February 14, 2013

Union Street Bakery by Mary Ellen Taylor

Union Street Bakery. Mary Ellen Taylor. Penguin Group (USA). February 2013. 352 pp. hbk. ISBN #: 9780425259696..

Daisy McCrae has come home to the bakery on Union Street, after being Vice-President of Suburban Enterprises.  She was a valued financier and never saw the crash coming as her colleagues invested poorly and she was one of those employees who were let go.  The end of a brilliant career is how she sees it.  In fact her heartfelt belief is that bad things will eventually happen and more besides.  So it works out smoothly that her Dad’s health is not so good; actually it’s simple to say her parents are getting older and they need help.  One sister, Ruth, can bake like a master and the other has a charming appeal to customers and a very skilled historian; but they all are horrific managers and the bakery is in some serious red trouble!

Daisy’s job is to rescue the sinking ship of this lovely store that so many love, whether they be locals or tourists who flock from springtime through the fall every year.  Refusing to unpack, she sleeps on a bed with a spring poking into her back and sets herself to work through a mountain of disorganized receipts and bills marked “payment overdue.”  Not a sweet homecoming for sure!  But her family, that is her adopted family, love her dearly and these pages are filled with the usual snappy family banter and some poignant tender moments that are very real!

Imagine Daisy’s shock when an elderly lady stops by the bakery one day and tells her to look for her birth mother and leaves her a journal and a letter so Daisy can begin the search. But what resistance lies within Daisy, compounded by the appearance of her ex-fiancĂ© Gordon.  While they split, it’s obvious they love each other but too much pain and barriers have to be surmounted before much can progress.

The journal becomes an exciting mystery to be solved for Daisy and her sister Margaret and the letter parallels their search, as well as a mean “ghost” who makes it clear to Daisy he wants her gone from the bakery.  No, you can’t predict the “slave” story related to the McCrae family and Daisy’s real mother.  Enjoy this wonderful story that makes the reader want to read faster to find out what happens but slower to relish the evolution of inner and outer dreams and reality!  Oh, by the way, some recipes are included that one will want to try because they are described oh so deliciously in the story!

Phenomenal story and fiction, Ms. Taylor!  Best seller material!

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