Review

The Baker's Wife

by Erin Healy

Audrey Bofinger used to be a pastor’s wife. Until her husband Geoff was de-pastored by his congregation because of a scandal involving their son. Now, Audrey and Geoff own a bakery, where they are ministering to people in a new way. Audrey has a spiritual gift of feeling others’ pain. God uses her pain to prod her to bring a loaf of bread to specific people who are hurting, either physically or emotionally. And God is about to use Audrey’s gift like never before.

California’s Great Central Valley is known for its intense and even deadly fog. As Audrey and her adult son Ed make the drive to the bakery one morning, Audrey crashes into a motorized scooter. When she gets out of the car to investigate, she steps in a pool of blood. It is soon confirmed that the scooter and the blood belong to Julie Mansfield, the wife of the man directly responsible for Geoff losing his pastoral position.

"THE BAKER’S WIFE packs a powerful punch while delivering a compelling mystery. If you are open to the possibility of learning a few life lessons while enjoying a well-written and intriguing suspense novel, you’ll do well to pick up a copy of this book."

Jack Mansfield is not only Julie’s husband, he is also a police sergeant and city detective. When he arrives on the scene and sees his wife’s scooter and blood, and Julie doesn’t answer his calls, Jack knows, without a doubt, that Audrey Bofinger is to blame for his wife’s disappearance. And he will stop at nothing to prove it.

Diane Hall was recently released from the state penitentiary after a 25-year sentence for killing her twin sister. She has made her way back to the only home she ever knew --- the general store owned by her parents. Only now the store is a bakery, owned by Audrey and Geoff Bofinger.

Through a series of events, Audrey and Diane, along with another unlikely party, are forced to set out and find Julie Mansfield. This is where Audrey’s gift comes into play in a huge way.   

THE BAKER’S WIFE is unique and contains all the elements for a magnificent novel. And magnificent it is. The plot is brilliant, with skillfully subtle foreshadowing of events to come, and a few surprises along the way. There are many threads and dots to connect, yet not enough to confuse or overwhelm the reader. But the best part is the writing itself, which is riveting, fascinating and fast-moving. Amazingly, this story takes place within the timeframe of one day, yet the pacing is superb; I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. Frequent viewpoint changes contribute to the page-turning quality and keep things interesting and fresh.

There is a strong spiritual thread throughout. If you enjoy books that provide a real look at some tough areas of Christianity, THE BAKER’S WIFE delivers. Author Erin Healy does not sugar-coat issues of mental illness and religion vs. relationship. One character has a very twisted interpretation of Christianity, taking scripture out of context and justifying their actions based on their warped views. Other topical issues like abortion are woven within the story but not preached about in any way.

The main takeaway of this novel for me is the mercy and forgiveness that we, as Christians, should extend to others every day. The Bofingers are wonderful examples of Christ’s love in action. From Geoff’s kindness toward Diane in the beginning, to Audrey’s difficult act of love at the end, their behavior and the way they treat people are testimonies of their faith. Despite the things that have been said about them and done to them, they never blame God or doubt that His purpose will prevail.

THE BAKER’S WIFE packs a powerful punch while delivering a compelling mystery. If you are open to the possibility of learning a few life lessons while enjoying a well-written and intriguing suspense novel, you’ll do well to pick up a copy of this book.

Reviewed by Lynda Lee Schab on February 17, 2012

The Baker's Wife
by Erin Healy