Stones for Bread
By Christa Parrish
Published by Thomas Nelson
ISBN# 978-1401689018
336 Pages

About Book: 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.

Review: I’ve read all of Christa Parrishs’ Books. Each one took me on an unexpected journey. I’m thrilled to receive a review copy of Stones for Bread that took me into the world of Artisan bread making and so much more.

This novel introduces readers to Liesle whose whole world evolves around bread; forget the chocolate give me bread is my motto. Christa does just that as she show cases intriguing characters that make bread. She also helps the reader learn about the history of bread baking. I loved the surprise of Artisan bread recipes the author give readers within the novel. Each recipe includes notes from her main character Liesle. The notes are tips on making the bread - I know these will help me when I try to bake these yummy treats.

This story reminded me of the special times my family and I had  while growing up when we had cooking weekends, which involved making Italian treats including the spaghetti sauce. I too remember when I was told (like Liesle in the story) “it was time to make the bread (sauce in my case) without help!” It was a special time. I saw through Liesle that bread baking is an art; and an act of love.

Amazing to read how Liesle’s whole world is surrounded by bread. She lives above the bakery she owns called Wild Rise Bake House where she is the chief baker. It was amazing what some people go through to bake some special breads and how others don’t really appreciate the time and effort it takes to make the bread taste the same every day and/or the fact these people bake every day of their lives.

Single dad, Seamus and his 6 year old daughter enter Liesle’s world in an unexpected way. Liesle (and I) adore little Cecelia, whose not afraid to share what’s on her mind with anyone who’ll listen. Liesle has been working so hard she forgot there was more to life than just work. Could she make room for more in her life? Could she take a chance at being loved? Risk Heartache? Complications?

She remembers her mother’s words about baking bread, “it’s who you are, and it provides nourishment to both heart and the soul of who we make it for. It is a piece of ourselves.” Would Seamus and  Cecelia, understand why she does what she does?

I went to Publix bakery today and smiled big when I saw a woman handing out samples of Rosemary Artisan bread.  It was yummy! I asked the baker about the work that went into making the small loaves in the case. She said it takes a lot of work but it’s worth it. The Rosemary one was her favorite! I look forward to checking out the recipes in this book that include Artisan bread.

Leisle’s world was safe and hidden until Seamus and Cecelia found her and then one of her assistants sent her contact information to the food channel to be a contestant on the show, “Bake-off.” The spotlight shines bright when the producer calls from the show and wants her bakery to be featured in the bake-off. When she accepts life as she had known it is over.

This is a great book for book club. Not only is this a great story with a lot to talk about and characters I cared about it includes recipes that lend to book club fun. It would be great fun to have bread bake-off event for the ladies in your group for all to enjoy. The discussion questions Christa has in the back of the book help you to go deeper with the characters and their situations. I highly recommend this as a book club pick and activity. It’s a win, win!

This author mixes up the right blend of food, family cooking memories and drama, throws in a dash of fun with Cecelia, and a little romance with Seamus to create a heartwarming read that will touch your heart and give you a new appreciate for the lost art of bread making. The fun will continue as you work your way through the recipes that will warm you from the inside out! You’ll never look at bread the same way! Thanks Christa for another adventure where I have been touched by your characters and their situation and learn about the unexpected.

Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins

Below is a link to where you can make Artisan Bread in 5 minutes (not including baking time!) Fun!


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