Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Baker's Wife by Erin Healy

I was captured by this novel in the first chapter. It kept me reading late into the night.
Geoff and his wife Audrey were pastor and wife until a legalistic member of the church board, Jack, convinced the church that Geoff should be fired. The accusations were lies, but Geoff decided not to fight them. He and Audrey had baked bread as a relaxing hobby and they now turned to is as a business. He became the baker and she became the baker's wife.
Audrey senses the pain of others in an intense manner. She might feel intense abdominal pain and know that she was to visit that person with stomach cancer, and take them a loaf of their homemade bread.
Geoff and Audrey lived in the Great Central Valley of California which was often a bowl of foggy soup. One early morning as Audrey and her son are on the way to the bakery, in the darkness of predawn fog, Audrey hits another vehicle. It turns out to be a scooter, the scooter of Jack's wife. And there is blood, so much blood. But there is no body.
This begins the mystery. Jack's wife Julie is nowhere to be found. DNA proves the blood to be Julie's but where could she have gone being so injured? Jack is convinced Geoff and Audrey have killed or at least kidnapped his wife in revenge. The suspense comes to a peak as Jack threatens to kill Geoff and his son if Audrey does not find Julie by a certain time. He believes he is God's arm of justice toward those who have sinned so grievously.
Can Audrey follow the leading of the Spirit and find Julie before it is too late?

Healy has woven an exceptionally tight and suspenseful novel. Her writing compelled me to turn pages and become lost in the story. What a wordsmith!
There are many issues of faith to think about as this novel is devoured. How does one listen to the Spirit and obey? Should one wage a defense when wrongly accused or allow God to work it out in His time? How does God meet out justice in this life, or does He? And those are just a few. Healy has added a Reading Group Guide at the back and this would make a great book for group reading and discussion.
Unlike other novels where Christianity is a relevant but rather unimportant part of the plot, this novel centers around the individuals' Christian faith and experience. It is very thought provoking. It has given me pause to think about how I sense the Spirit's leading and how I obey. I think this is rare for a novel.
I highly recommend this novel.

Erin Healy is the best-selling co-author of Burn and Kiss (with Ted Dekker) and an award-winning editor of numerous best-selling author. She has received acclaim for her debut solo novels, Never Let You Go and The Promises She Keeps. She and her family live in Colorado. Find out more at her website www.erinhealy.com.

Thomas Nelson Publishers, 345 pages.  Buy the book.

I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review.
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