Wednesday, August 17, 2016

TBR Challenge: Judith Ryan Hendricks - Bread Alone

Thirty-one-year-old Wynter Morrison is lost when her husband leaves her for another woman. Desperate for a change, she moves to Seattle, where she spends aimless hours at a local bakery sipping coffee and inhaling the sweet aromas of freshly-made bread. These visits bring back memories of the time she aprenticed at a French boulangerie, when her passion for bread-making nearly led her to leave college and become a baker.
Once again, the desire to bake bread consumes her thoughts. When offered a position at the bake shop, Wyn quickly accepts, hoping that the baking will help her move on. But soon Wyn discovers that the making of bread—the kneading of the dough—possesses an unexpected and wondrous healing power—one that will ultimately renew her heart and her soul.

Comment: Here we are in another Wednesday dedicated to the TBR post. August is the month of "Kicking it Old School", which means a book published 10 years ago or before that. My original pick was something else but on Monday morning I realized the publishing date was actually 2009 and not 2005 as I somehow got into my head. 
Because I really like to meet the themes and not cheat, I immediately looked at my reading list and this title, which I'd read right after anyway, was the one wining the chance to be part of the challenge, more so when I checked and it was originally published in 2001, well meeting the mark.
The narrative, though, is set in 1988 but it hardly shows.

This is the story of Wyn Morrison and the story begins with her realizing her husband of seven years wants to have a divorce. At first it's just "time" but eventually thing progress negatively. Wyn goes through all the stages of not believing what's happening and even trying to find a way to convince David, the husband, not to leave her. Although he keeps saying he just wants time and he feels neither has been happy, Wyn realizes he already has another woman.
Wyn travels to Seattle, to be closer to her best friend and somehow she gets involved in the bakery business, something that also helps her deal with her personal problems. In the meantime, she has to accept her mother is getting married again and that the sweet new male friend can become something more important if only takes a chance...

This book is marked woman's fiction and it is but there's some glimpses of romance I appreciated too. I decided to read it as a buddy read because I got into my head it would be a sweet romance and my friend shares some of my reading tastes. However, this is more a study on how to go through an unfair divorce. I say unfair because Wyn never agreed and she never saw it coming. Because the book is told from her perspective, of course we empathize a lot with her and her feelings.
I confess I cried here and there just thinking how something like this in real life can hurt and depress and bring someone down. Just reading about possible scenes like the ones described by Wyn were complicated, like the knowledge he was lying, that he replaced her with someone else, etc.. Difficult feelings to overcome, which I know added more power to the story but at the same time made you think.

This is a contemporary novel too, so obviously Wyn has a lot to deal with. Her emotional path was quite believable and despite not sharing her views on this or that, for the most part the scenes she was in were convincing of someone in her difficult position.
I liked the moment the action changed settings but things were still complicated but Wyn's mother was marrying again after years being a widow. Because nothing is simple in woman's fiction, Wyn truly loved her father and missed him and felt her mother, despite deserving happiness was replacing her father, which I can understand if I were in her place, but then all things together made for some dramatic situations.
Wyn also has a new romance on the horizon but it's never something set in stone, not only because throughout the whole book she isn't divorced yet but also because she is not in the best emotional position to make that jump.

This is my first book by the author, I liked the style, the writing, the story in general. Sure, I disliked some things, I got annoyed at others but for the most part, it was a good book. I understand its faults and I'd change some things but the voice is here. Interestingly, the author must love bread because there are many examples of recipes of bread and descriptions of it. Of course, this is almost therapy to Wyn, but the author has a lot of knowledge about it and in the end it helps the plot move forward!

The characters were interesting, we learn more about Wyn because she's the narrator but many of the other characters were well depicted and because we don't have their POV, good for the author to manage to impart personality to them like that.
Wyn is complex, not perfect, but I was rooting for her and her new chances in life.

As a whole this was a good book but the end felt too easy and didn't match the rhythm of the book. Now I understand why, there is a sequel and another (this is the 1st of a trilogy in fact) and that explains why the end seems rushed. But I feel weird because although I liked this book, I won't read the next ones. My feelings about this book are defined and positive, despite the theme. The blurbs of the next books point to a path I didn't expect and that sounds too melodramatic for the story we have here. Almost as if the next books went too far.
Therefore, I stay here to maintain my good vibe of this book and not ruin the experience with more stories I might dislike. And considering all I have to read anyway...

All things considered, this was an interesting read, emotional but well paced until the end and I liked it but this will be it.
Grade: 7/10

No comments:

Post a Comment