Title: The Union Street Bakery
Author: Mary Ellen Taylor
First published January 1, 2013
352 pages, Paperback
ISBN: 9780425259696 (ISBN10: 0425259692)
Life can be unpredictable. Daisy McCrae knows this well as she struggles with a failed relationship and the loss of her job.
Forced to move into the attic above her family’s bakery, The Union Street Bakery, Daisy finds herself at a crossroads. The bakery is failing, and Daisy feels like an outsider in her own family as an adopted child.
But when a journal from the 1850s, written by a slave girl named Susie, falls into her hands, Daisy is transported back in time and discovers the secrets of her family’s past. The more she reads, the more she realizes that her heritage is richer than she ever imagined.
With Susie’s spirit guiding her, Daisy embarks on a journey of self-discovery, unlocking the courage and determination she needs to save the bakery and forge a new path forward. The Union Street Bakery is a heartwarming tale of family, heritage, and the power of perseverance.
About the Author
Mary Ellen Taylor is a proud Virginia native whose love for her home state and its history shines through her contemporary women’s fiction novels. Her latest book, THE WORDS WE WHISPER, which will be released on July 20, 2021, explores themes of family, home, and belonging, weaving the past and present together seamlessly.
Born in Richmond, Mary Ellen has spent most of her life there. In addition to writing, cooking and baking are also important creative outlets for her.
She even names recipes after her characters! A few years ago, she earned a Baking and Pastry Arts Certificate from the University of Richmond’s Culinary Arts Program. Mary Ellen sees similarities between baking and writing; both require mastering the fundamentals before creating something unique and delightful.
Mary Ellen is also a successful suspense novelist under the pen name Mary Burton, with whom she has published forty-five novels. NEAR YOU, Mary Burton’s latest book, was released on April 13, 2021.
When she’s not traveling or writing, Mary Ellen spends time with her husband, enjoying their empty nest and spoiling their miniature dachshunds, Buddy, Bella, and Tiki.
The Union Street Bakery by Mary Ellen Taylor is a heartwarming novel that follows the lives of the McCrae family as they navigate through love, loss, and the challenges of a struggling bakery. Taylor, a bestselling author and avid baker, sets the story in the small town of Alexandria, Virginia, and uses her knowledge of baking to create a rich and immersive world that readers will not want to leave.
As a contemporary women’s fiction novel, The Union Street Bakery combines elements of romance, family drama, and self-discovery, making it a compelling read for anyone in search of a touching and uplifting story. The story primarily revolves around Daisy McCrae, who after her mother’s passing, is tasked with running the family bakery alongside her sisters, Livvy and Cat.
Daisy is the central character, and the story examines her personal growth and emotional journey as she tries to rebuild her personal and professional lives after a failed relationship and the loss of her mother. Meanwhile, Livvy and Cat have their own personal struggles, from Livvys desire to find love and start a family to Cats battle with addiction.
Although The Union Street Bakery is a contemporary novel, Taylor intelligently weaves in history and cultural significance, highlighting the struggles of women and people of color and how they have been affected by societal norms throughout history. One of the central themes in the novel is how women have had to fight for the right to make their own choices and have their voices heard.
Taylor also touches on the opioid epidemic in the United States, shedding light on the dangerous effects of addiction and the difficulties of recovery. Taylors writing is top-notch, and her ability to craft detailed and three-dimensional characters is impressive.
Each character has a distinct personality, and their interactions with each other feel genuine and relatable. The pacing is perfect, keeping the reader engaged and invested throughout the novel.
Taylor also excels in describing the settings and environments, using vivid imagery to transport the reader to the small town and the bakery. In terms of flaws, The Union Street Bakery is not without some minor issues.
Some readers may find the romance plotlines to be a bit predictable, and the ending may feel too neat and tidy. However, these issues do not take away from the overall quality of the novel.
Overall, The Union Street Bakery is a delightful and uplifting novel that fans of contemporary women’s fiction will thoroughly enjoy. With its relatable characters, well-crafted plot, and thoughtful themes, it is a must-read for anyone who loves a good heartwarming story.