Cover Image: The French Baker's War

The French Baker's War

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Member Reviews

Sorry I could not finish this book in time. I will get a copy and try to read. Thank you for the opportunity.
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The French Bakers War is a World War Two drama set in a German occupied small French town. I wanted to enjoy the story but the character of Andre the baker was depressing and the plot not enough to sustain my interest.
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The French Baker's War was a very good historical fiction about the people who lived in Occupied France in 1943.  I felt so many emotions while reading this book and those emotions have stayed with me.  You won't be able to jump right into another book, you will feel the need to ruminate this first.  If you love historical fiction, please read this book. It would be a great book club choice.  
Thank You NetGalley, BooksGoSocial and Author for this ARC for an honest review!
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Vivid writing, complex characters, and a superb plot keep the reader hooked to The French Baker's War. One can not escape the deluge of emotions that this book invoke.
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Merry Christmas y’all! ❤️

I wasn’t planning to post today as the day is over and it was a busy one. But when I saw so many Christmas-y posts, i thought it isn’t right that even after finally doing so many posts this December for Blogmas, i don’t do one on the last day of Blogmas.

So here it is. A book review of one of my favorite books in 2021 that I found on Netgalley. I am telling you guys, if you don’t know what Netgalley is, you really need to check it out. Also, click on the below image if you wish to buy the book. (If you buy it via clicking on the image, I’ll earn a small commission. 🙂)

While i expected to read a lot more in 2021, one of the things I wanted was to try stuff that I haven’t before. I have never read anything on World War. I lapped this book up as soon as i saw it on Netgalley and I cannot wait till the end to tell you that i loved reading it so much. I am so glad tha this amazing fiction initiated me into reading about World War.

Here’s why you should read it too:

1. Patisserie & the plot: it’s not an unimaginable plot but what i loved is this – the book is set in occupied France in 1943 over a course of two months during World War II when a woman who owns a Patisserie with her husband goes missing. The patisserie becomes a character in the book, it’s given a lot of emotional value by the author and, therefore, becomes a super important character. Of course, i am not going to spoil it for you by giving whys and how’s. If you want to pick this due to the cover and the word Baker in the name, let me tell you that there is a lot of reference to the patisserie, which I certainly enjoyed.

2. Characters: as it is with the patisserie, even all the other characters are very well formed. The book has its protagonists but the author has done a great job in character formation of many side characters. They have a back story that makes you want to know them better. In some books, it gets very annoying to read about multiple storylines but here the back stories of different characters become part of the story and you get attached to them. If you have read the book already, you would have fallen in love with Monsieur Dormund as well. 😊

3. The topic itself: as i mentioned, I haven’t read anything on World War and i am glad I picked this up because this has definitely made me more interested in reading about this topic. If you have read a lot of serious literature or non fiction on this topic, then I am not sure where you stand with this book but, otherwise, anyone is going to love it!

There are two things I didn’t like which I want to mention – a) the flashbacks didn’t hook me as much as the present story, b) the initial pages/chapters spent a lot of time building up and leading up to the next part of the story, which became a bit much. So i would say if I had to divide the book into three parts, the second and third parts of the book were way better than the first.

Overall, I would highly recommend reading this and you can find it on the below link. If you purchase using that I’ll earn a small commission. 🙂

The French Baker’s War
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This is such an emotional book.  Set during the war.  You will need tissues to the ready as you immerse yourself in the pages.
Can't say to much other than make sure this book makes it to your book shelf to be read!!
Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this book.
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The French Baker's War does a great job evoking the feel of France under the German occupation in WWII, from a historical perspective. The difficulties of this terrible time in history and it's day to day uncertainties are unfolded as neighbors turned against each other and it becomes unclear who could be trusted as well as what friendships will remain. The authors research of the time-period and geography is evident and I encourage lovers of historical fiction to add this book to their must read list. I think they will find learn a lot about the hardships that people endured during the German occupation and how the war left scars on the landscape as well as in people's souls. A great Story!
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The French Baker’s War has a theme that will feel familiar to readers of historical WWII fiction: ordinary people placed in extraordinary situations and forced to make excruciating choices. The characters are relatable and humanized for the reader to understand the motivations they have for making very difficult decisions. Like other books of this brand, The French Baker’s War is moving, sad, insightful, and makes for a compelling story. The book was heartfelt and impressive for a debut novel. 

Thank you to the author, the publisher, and Net Galley for the opportunity to review this lovely book.
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My Thoughts:

I have mixed feelings about this story. There are things I like about the story and things I dislike.

What I like:
1. The setting is in a small town in France.
2. I like the time period: World War II.
3. I like the married couple who are in love with one another. I like the long history they have. They are a respected and admired couple in town.
4. I understand the form of the story. I understand the plot.
5. This story is inspired by a true story.

What I dislike:
1. Andre is a loving husband and father. He is a respectable person. However, he is distraught through most of the story. And he is distracted. And he is at times frozen with the inability to make a decision. His behavior causes an annoyance and angst in me. I wish he had been a take charge person. I wish he’d been aggressive earlier in the story about a well-formed decision and carrying it out. I understand his character as the despondent husband, but I wanted more from him.
2. The story is filled with what if questions. What if a spouse goes missing, and a new character similar to the one missing shows up? What if both female characters are in trouble? What if feelings develop with the new character? What if this new person and the rest of the family bond? What happens if the missing person returns? The story is based on what ifs. What if is the foundation of the story. But it is that question that keeps me reading…that pulls me in.
3. The story does not have a satisfying or solid closure. I think that I know what happens but it ends loosely.
4. I’d like more of Mireille’s story. Her voice is in the first chapter. Emilie finally tells me her story. What about Frederic? I understand he is a child, but I’d like to have an area in the book where he narrates. His testimony is important.
5. For me there is something missing in this story. Yes, one of the characters is missing, but there is something else missing. Is it possible that the tone of the story: a frantic atmosphere of what ifs dominate the story so much that I am not pulled into the individual characters heartaches, fears, and ultimate decisions? Another words: the tone of the story rules.

Format: E-book.
Source: I received a complimentary e-book from NetGalley. I am not required to write a positive review.
Audience: Readers of historical fiction. Readers of World War II and Holocaust stories.
Rating: Okay to good.
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The author has a unique way of painting both scenery and character relationships that make it feel like a movie playing out in your head. The complexity of the characters is what kept me wanting more of this book. You could love and hate the same character within just a few chapters. Overall, I would recommend this book to other lovers of historical fiction and tragic stories of trying times. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
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The French Baker’s War by Michael Whatling is a powerful work of historical fiction. The book is set in 1943 Occupied France, André returns to his patisserie to discover his wife missing, his four year old son Frederic in the street and Émilie a Jewish escapee finding refuge in his store. André agrees to hide Émilie whilst he searches for his wife. It is story of pain, fear, courage and survival in the face of brutality. The book honestly captures a sense of time and place as André’s actions impact those in his family and community. A heartbreaking, human story with a well paced plot and carefully sculpted prose. For fans of historical, literary fiction - 4 stars ⭐️
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Author Michael Whatling has written a truly heart-wrenching story that captures your attention from the very first page and holds you there throughout the entirety of his  book, "The French Baker's War".

This is a story of a baker whose wife goes missing and while he is desperately searching for what has happened to his wife, he is also harboring a Jewish woman in his home.  There is wonderful character development and you greatly come to sympathize and a love several of the characters in this book. While you want to see the baker find his wife, you also realize that there will probably be a cost to her recovery.

Because this story is set during World War II, and involves the Nazi occupation of France, it has the element of recounting the atrocities and hardships during these times for the people in the country.  I have read many novels which take place during World War II and always I am reminded about the great inhumanity that exists in our world and that existed during that war.  The author captures these times, and especially the frustration of people turning their heads, not wanting to be involved and, even understandably so, knowing that to be involved could be at a cost to themselves and even to their families.  

As I closed the last page of this book I realized my fear of how this book might end was different than I expected, but also just as heart-wrenching as I was afraid it would be.  I do feel like the book, in many ways, helps keep our faith in our fellow man to do the right thing.  This author wrote a story that was so poignant that it has resonated with me and is still replaying in my mind.

I was given a copy of this book by NetGalley for my honest opinion—I can honestly say that this book is very well written, very emotional, and will leave you thinking about it long after you have finished the story.  In addition, I can say without reservation that I would have gladly paid to read this book—it is truly a book that is well worth purchasing.
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I found myself with mixed feelings about this book. While in many ways a compelling read, I often became frustrated while reading and there were so many unanswered questions until almost the very end of the book. I felt as though i9t would have been better to drip feed in some details as the narrative progressed, just so the reader could attempt to guess what had taken place, especially as there were people within the village who knew.

That said, the style of writing carries lots of pathos and it was impossible not to feel desperately sorry for Andre as he struggled to come to terms with Mireille's disappearance. The relationship with Emilie was an intriguing one, as he seemed torn between wanting his wife back, whilst also desperately needing her help and assistance with son Frederic.

The narrative clearly conveyed the oppressive atmosphere of that time, with villagers reluctant to involve themselves in anything that might provoke a reaction from the German soldiers and the descriptions of prisoners being marched through the main square were particularly poignant and hard to read.

Overall, a dramatic and intense read.

With thanks to the author, BookSirens and NetGalley for the ARC in return for an honest review.
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The French Baker’s War by Michael Whatling
Source: NetGalley and Mortal Coil Books
Rating: None, DNF at 30%

The Bottom Line:  UGH!  Yet another World War II era read that just didn’t hit the mark for me.  I very much like the premise of this book but found the execution lacking.  There are simply too many issues with this book to get me beyond the 30% mark.  I found Andrė to be a rather tiresome character, his response to his wife’s disappearance to be rather unbelievable, and the appearance of the Jewish woman to be odd.  I’m sure that last bit would have eventually been explained, but for me, it was too little too late, and Andrė, as a character, became unbearable.  I wanted this story to come together and be interesting and engaging, but that didn’t happen by the 30% mark, so I set this one aside for a different story.
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This is a WW2 story set in France, the story of a baker whose wife suddenly and mysteriously disappears, leaving her young boy alone, at the same time he finds a Jewish woman hiding in his shop. It was an interesting story that kept me reading, It was a roller coaster ride for emotions! The pace of the book is quick and enjoyable!
I enjoyed this book and would most certainly recommend it especially if you like Historic fiction!
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The French Baker’s War takes place over the course of a few months in 1943. The story involves sacrifices, guilt, love, family, times of panic, lust, shame, fear, friendship, and devotion. The dialogue was realistic as it portrayed the human elements in this story. There were moments of sadness and desperation. The characters and the plot stayed with me long after I completed reading this book. The ending made me feel a mix of sadness and yet was somehow uplifting. I highly recommend this book.
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I was really conflicted with this one. While the story was good, the writing style was TERRIBLE. I think writing in present tense is the WORST thing an author can do, and that just dragged this book down so BAD, there were so many holes in the story. The narrative was SO BAD. I read it because I wanted to find out what happened. But I was so disappointed in the end. Andre is such an unpredictable character. Emilie is absolutely unlikeable and because everything is written in the present tense, people awkwardly change their behaviours and it is somehow supposed to be okay? There was no depth to how people would behave and how their personalities would be. 

There were good bones, but then the writing style was way too amateur. Present tense really killed the book. Let me give you an example. So, Andre is sitting at home having dinner and suddenly he gets furious. But because this is written in the present tense we don't understand the reason WHY he is upset about something. What drives him to madness? 

Emilie has got to be an unlikeable character. There is such little time spent on talking about her, her back story, that it just seems really mish mashed. I honestly feel this book is like a first draft that got published that NOBODY read before being published, not even beta readers. I have read WW2 fiction and this was not one of the better ones. Everything here, the bookseller, the Resistance, everything seems to sort of be jammed together without much of a purpose. 

I honestly think you should skip this. The only saving grace was the whole picturization of how it was being in Occupied France. But, I don't know how much of it was because of the author's writing or how much of it was because of my own prior knowledge on this. 

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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The French Baker's War by Michael Whatling provides an insight into the challenges families experienced during the Second World War and the significant impacts on their relationships. These challenging times form part of the most interesting and well written story presented by the writer. The book continues to keep the readers interest and ability to gain insight into the fears experienced by the people during the specific time. The storyline embedded in the world experienced by André Albert allows for a deep insight into the diversity of adventures played out during the war to stay alive, deal with missing family members and unknown individuals looking for help. The author offered a rich and well-written storyline surrounded by a range of events inclusive of the Nazi regime that created fear into people's lives. Readers who enjoy the specific time period will find this book one of the best historical novels of our time.
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Andre Albert shares his life with his wife Mirelle and their son in a French patisserie in 1943. On a fateful night his wife disappears while an escaped Jewess appears.
This is a wonderful moving novel about love and loss and a tiny insight into the pain brought to individuals during WWII. Cannot praise it enough to but be prepared for the hurt you will read.
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This book is not a love story but it is a book about love and how it affects each character in the story.  The premise is interesting, but I found  the writing slow and ponderous at times.  The convoluted thought processes of the main characters were difficult to follow sometimes.  Interesting Holocaust story with a surprising ending.
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