BY BREAD ALONE

Sarah-Kate Lynch, Author
Sarah-Kate Lynch, Author . Warner $23.95 (368p) ISBN 978-0-446-53129-0
Reviewed on: 09/20/2004
Release date: 10/01/2004
Paperback - 329 pages - 978-0-552-77104-7
Open Ebook - 978-0-446-53419-2
Ebook - 978-0-446-53420-8
Paperback - 376 pages - 978-0-446-69627-2
Open Ebook - 188 pages - 978-0-446-59886-6
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As the crust of a sourdough boule protects the tenderness within, so it is with artisanal baker Esme Stack, who privately nurses a grieving heart while wittily coping with crises involving her dour father-in-law, Henry; the specter of her beloved, recently deceased Granny Mac; and an evil goat. Esme, her husband, Pog, and their four-year-old, Rory, have left their glam London life and moved to the Suffolk countryside after a tragedy so terrible it is long unnamed. Bread provides much subject matter and metaphor, especially with the reappearance of Esme's first lover, a sexy French artisanal baker. Lynch lets the dough of her story rise slowly, allowing the dread to build even amid the gossipy fun. Nestling a tragedy inside a comedy is a brave feat, and New Zealander Lynch (Blessed Are the Cheesemakers ) almost pulls it off. Alas, the plot resolution centers on improbable actions by Charlie Edmonds, Esme's gay male best friend, and Ridgely Watson, the son of Esme's female best friend, who exists offstage until he appears to commit a final, dramatic and deeply unwise act. Lynch then resolves the story in a crescendo of moralizing, weeping and redemption. Like one of the breads Esme bakes, the story stays in the oven a little too long—it's not perfect, but it's still good. (Oct.)

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