Book Review: Stones for Bread by Christa Parrish

A solitary artisan. A legacy of bread-baking. And one secret that could collapse her entire identity.

Liesl McNamara’s life can be described in one word: bread. From her earliest memory, her mother and grandmother passed down the mystery of baking and the importance of this deceptively simple food. And now, as the owner of Wild Rise bake house, Liesl spends every day up to her elbows in dough, nourishing and perfecting her craft.

But the simple life she has cultivated is becoming quite complicated. Her head baker brings his troubled grandson into the bakeshop as an apprentice. Her waitress submits Liesl’s recipes to a popular cable cooking show. And the man who delivers her flour—a single father with strange culinary habits—seems determined to win Liesl’s affection.

When Wild Rise is featured on television, her quiet existence appears a thing of the past. And then a phone call from a woman claiming to be her half-sister forces Liesl to confront long-hidden secrets in her family’s past. With her precious heritage crumbling around her, the baker must make a choice: allow herself to be buried in detachment and remorse, or take a leap of faith into a new life.

Filled with both spiritual and literal nourishment, Stones for Bread provides a feast for the senses from award-winning author Christa Parrish.

This book was well-written and well-researched. I read it quickly, but didn’t enjoy it as much as I wanted to.

I’m not quite sure why this is. Maybe I was expecting a bit more romance and I think it qualifies more as Women’s Fiction. It’s not chick-lit – too serious for that. I’ll admit to skimming sections of it. Each chapter began with a recollection from the main character’s childhood [though they were mostly chronological up through her mid-20s, all but one or two of them were age 16 and under]. Those didn’t hold my interest as much as the current storylines. Most chapters had a bread recipe of some kind and/or a section [up to 2 pages???] on the history of bread. I didn’t read any of the recipes, though I’ll likely at least look at them again for ideas and possibly to use, but after the first one or two, I barely skimmed the history sections.

Though I’m sure they were interesting, they did nothing for me here.

As for the main, “present day” story… It wasn’t BAD, but it didn’t suck me in and not let go like I prefer my books to do. It took quite a while for me to get into it without being easily distracted. Once I did, I sped through it. I would have liked more on the relationship between Leisl and her love interest, particularly at the end.

There’s a Very. Bad. Thing. That happens to one of the characters. I liked the character, but felt little more than “eh” when it happened. Normally, I would have expected tears :/.

I know this sounds like it was an awful book. It wasn’t. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it. It’s quite possible my own current sense of “blah” about life in general plays a role in my perception of the book. I wish I could give it a better rating, but I just can’t. I’ll give other books by Ms. Parrish a try and see if it’s just this one or if she’s just not for me.

Ugh. I hate writing reviews like this especially for books I really wanted to like.

Overall rating: 6.5 out of 10 stars

Thanks to the publisher and BookSneeze for a free copy in exchange for my honest review.