Author: Erin Healy
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Date: October, 2011
A lie-based scandal forces Audrey Bofinger and her pastor husband Geoff to leave their church. One of their ministries is baking breads—think rosemary-potato loaves—to give away, so “Rise and Shine”, a failing bakery, becomes their new workplace, as well as being a healing place for their family wounds.
Early one morning Audrey and her son Ed drive to the bakery through heavy fog. They crash into a motor scooter, which turns out to belong to Julie Mansfield. Julie’s blood is found at the accident site, but her body has disappeared without a trace.
What happened to Julie’s body? Where is it? This mystery lured me through the book and kept me wondering and turning the pages to the end.
Julie’s husband, Jack Mansfield, a police detective and also the man responsible for forcing Audrey and Geoff out of their church, blames Audrey for Julie’s disappearance. He's a self-righteous man who twists scripture to suit his purposes and believes that God owes him for living a good life. He has no compassion whatsoever. He’s vindictive and seeks justice at all costs.
Jack is a complete contrast to Audrey, who is the embodiment of compassion. She’s gifted with empathy, so much so that she experiences the pain and suffering of other people. She hears voices audible only to her and feels the weight of an unseen arm turning her in the direction she should go to bring comfort to someone. Jack and Audrey show two different responses to hardship and suffering.
This supernatural element of Audrey’s empathy made me feel a little uncomfortable, but it was not overdone and did not detract from my reading experience.
I loved the symbolism of bread and the bakery. Bread, like Geoff and Audrey’s ministry, is life-giving and sustaining.
If you like Christian fiction with well developed characters, deep themes, mystery and suspense, then this is just the book for you.
I highly recommend this intriguing book and give it a four star rating.
Thank you to BookSneeze and Thomas Nelson for a free review copy. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions expressed above are my own.