Saturday, February 25, 2012

"The Baker's Daughter"

Sarah McCoy is the author of the novels The Baker's Daughter (Crown) and The Time It Snowed In Puerto Rico (Random House). The Baker's Daughter released on January 24, 2012 and was praised as a “beautiful heart-breaking gem of a novel” by Tatiana de Rosnay and a “thoughtful reading experience indeed” by Chris Bohjalian. The Baker’s Daughter is a Doubleday/Literary Guild Book Club selection. McCoy has taught writing at Old Dominion University and at the University of Texas at El Paso. The daughter of an army officer, her family was stationed in Germany during her childhood. She currently lives with her husband and dog, Gilbert, in El Paso, Texas, where she is working on her next novel.

McCoy applied the Page 69 Test to The Baker’s Daughter and reported the following:
The Baker’s Daughter is the story of Elsie Schmidt, a German baker, and Reba Adams, a young American reporter. Two women separated by generations, cultures, and wars. Their lives overlap when Reba interviews Elsie for the local El Paso magazine. Both women harbor deep, turbulent secrets. For Elsie, Reba's inquiries are a stinging reminder of darker times: her life in Germany during that last bleak year of WWII. In turn, Elsie questions Reba's inability to commit to her fiancé, Rikki Chavez, a U.S. Border Patrol officer who is battling his own doubts about his occupation's purpose. Page 69 is the last page of Chapter Eleven. Riki has just taken into custody a young Mexican mother and her two children—illegal immigrants hiding in a car. Nearby, on the bank of the Rio Grande border, is a trailer home where a young boy, about the same age as one of his captors, rides his tricycle. It’s a stark scene that captures one of the predominant themes of the novel: the internal struggle between what we’re told is right and what we know in our hearts to be...
The Mexican woman instructed her children to gather their things. The older boy shoved a worn shirt and a pair of jeans into a duffel bag. The girl climbed between the driver and passenger seats and over her mother’s lap. She sat by the front tire, clasping her doll to her chest and sucking her thumb. Beautiful black eyes watched Riki, never blinking. He wondered if this is what his daughter would look like, only with Reba’s strong nose and fair skin.

The boy on his tricycle turned to them. “Bye!” he called and waved. “Bye-bye!”

His mother stuck her head out of her open trailer doorway. “¡Vete aquí! Lunch.”

Smiling wide, the boy threw his tricycle to the side and obeyed. The woman glowered at Riki before closing the door. All the while, the little girl at his feet hugged her knees and continued to stare up at him. The outline of his CBP baseball cap reflected in her dark gaze.
Learn more about the book and author at Sarah McCoy’s website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Sarah McCoy's The Time It Snowed in Puerto Rico.

--Marshal Zeringue