Judith Ryan Hendricks
Ryan Hendricks, the acclaimed author of Bread Alone, continues
the saga of Wynter "Wyn" Morrisson and the Queen Street
Bakery in Seattle, Washington. Wyn's new career of baking bread
and having part ownership of the Queen Street Bakery have brought
her a satisfaction that she never knew in her previous life. Sure,
working the night shift at the bakery can be grueling, and the bakery
is not a goldmine. Nonetheless, Wyn finds the art of bread making
thoroughly satisfying. Wyn's bread making is showcased in The Baker's
Apprentice, which is full of delectable recipes and descriptions
of baking techniques, while the author continues on in the next
chapter of Wyn's life in this sequel.
addition to making bread and running the bakery with her business
partner Ellen, Wyn is in love with Mac, her bartender/writer friend-turned-lover.
Wyn and Mac are unofficially a couple, and they are exploring the
possibilities of where their relationship may lead. However, Wyn
realizes that roadblocks are in the way. Mac is unable to deal with
past issues from his childhood. As a result, he tends to be uncommunicative
with Wyn at times, and his past has somehow festered into the present.
Wyn herself is still in the midst of a messy divorce and is under
financial strain due to her husband's stalling on the financial
issues. When the pressure becomes too much, Mac makes a sudden decision
to head to Alaska to be alone, and the bakery has its own conflicts
and unexpected happenings, leaving Wyn reeling and frustrated.
Wyn tries to console and mentor a young employee, Tyler, and run
the bakery. She has little time to think about Mac and the fact
that he ran off "to find himself." These days, Wyn finds
happiness in her friendship with CM, helping Tyler, and perfecting
the art of making bread. Letters from Mac stream in gradually, and
Mac reveals more of himself to Wyn. Wyn is on a path of self-discovery,
too, as she passes on the satisfaction and wisdom of bread making
to Tyler, and Wyn's strength and character are put to a test when
the future of the Queen Street Bakery becomes uncertain. Mac's eventual
return to Seattle is another test for Wyn, as well, when she realizes
that not only has Mac changed, but she has, too. The Baker's Apprentice
is a delightful read that is thought provoking, poignant and engrossing.
Fans of Bread Alone will not want to miss the sequel and
I highly recommend this series to fans of contemporary fiction.
Morrow / HarperCollins
Shannon I. Bigham