The Union Street Bakery

The Union Street Bakery

3.7 12
by Mary Ellen Taylor
     
 

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Life can turn on a dime. It’s a common cliché, and I’d heard it often enough. People die or move away. Investments go south. Affairs end. Loved ones betray us...Stuff happens.

Daisy McCrae’s life is in tatters. She’s lost her job, broken up with her boyfriend, and has been reduced to living in the attic above her

Overview

Life can turn on a dime. It’s a common cliché, and I’d heard it often enough. People die or move away. Investments go south. Affairs end. Loved ones betray us...Stuff happens.

Daisy McCrae’s life is in tatters. She’s lost her job, broken up with her boyfriend, and has been reduced to living in the attic above her family’s store, the Union Street Bakery, while learning the business. Unfortunately, the bakery is in serious hardship. Making things worse is the constant feeling of not being a “real” McCrae since she was adopted as a child and has a less-than-perfect relationship with her two sisters.

Then a long-standing elderly customer passes away, and for some reason bequeaths Daisy a journal dating back to the 1850s, written by a slave girl named Susie. As she reads, Daisy learns more about her family—and her own heritage—than she ever dreamed. Haunted by dreams of the young Susie, who beckons Daisy to “find her,” she is compelled to look further into the past of the town and her family.

What she finds are the answers she has longed for her entire life, and a chance to begin again with the courage and desire she thought she lost for good.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A wonderful story about sisters, family, and the things that matter most. I loved this beautifully written journey of self-discovery.”—Wendy Wax

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780425277317
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
01/06/2015
Edition description:
Reissue
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
875,682
Product dimensions:
4.30(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
“A wonderful story about sisters, family, and the things that matter most. I loved this beautifully written journey of self-discovery.”—Wendy Wax

“You will not be able to put this book down until you turn the very last page…I can't wait to read more by Ms. Taylor.”—Fresh Fiction

"Taylor serves up a great mix of vivid setting, history, drama and everyday life…Here’s hoping she writes more like it.”—The Herald-Sun (NC)

"This first women's fiction novel...will speak to you with the beauty of the writing as well as the story."—Examiner.com

Meet the Author

Mary Ellen Taylor is a multi published author who spends her spare time baking, practicing yoga and visiting historical sites.

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The Union Street Bakery 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a voracious reader. I wanted so bad for this to be a good book. Too bad it is in sore need of some serious editing. By page 37 I was disgusted by inaccurate phrases or completely misinterpreted ones such as "petty-point" for "petit-point", "I could care less" instead of "I couldn't care less" and "rats clinging to a drowning ship". I believe the idea has always been that rats "jump a sinking ship". They don't cling to drowning ships. I don't know who the editor was but I want that job. I promise I can do better. Hard to enjoy the book with such poor presentation.
irishclaireKG More than 1 year ago
Convoluted/Boring. I was swayed by positive reviews here and on Amazon, but I do not understand them. While the premise here is interesting: young woman loses her job and must return home to her family's business, I found this to be a leaden slog with one of the most whining, unlikeable, main characters I have recently encountered. I am not spoiling anything by saying Daisy is an adopted child: taken in by a baker's family after she was abandoned by her mother, years before, on the premises. Despite this family's love for Daisy, their total inclusion of her, their support for her--she has done/and does little but remove herself from them, always deliberately calling herself an 'outsider,' basically just 'dissing' the lot of them and waiting for the day the woman who left her flat will return for her: at 35 she is still doing this. She has a chip the size of a boulder on her shoulder, antagonizes her siblings...there was no way I could really care about this woman. The plot is jumbled with WAY too many directions: one minute it's family drama; then there is a whole ghost story element; then it is a historical story of slavery and lost heritage; it's a romance...you can skim whole chunks of this because it just goes nowhere. The ending is abrupt; Daisy's attitude and moods change from one paragraph to the next: one minute she feels for her family and feels responsible for them, the next lines directly contradict that. Then there is the romantic interest who, in an eye-rolling plot move, shows up from the past basically at her front door. The writing style is inconsistent--the entire book is told from Daisy's perspective, and then, out of nowhere, a chapter is from a sister's view--then goes back again. Huh?? The language is repetitive and clunky--littered with unending uses of 'dude, stuff happens, back in the day' and at time the constant use of the four letter 's' word--I am not offended; it was just does not read or sound correct in these contexts. And then there is the maddening overuse of the same description: someone's 'long fingers' moving through 'his or her hair.' That seems to be the only descriptive move/gesture given to any of these characters. Sometimes multiple characters are finger-combing their hair in the same scene, same page. I cannot help but feel the author had so many ideas she wanted to use yet was not sure to what to edit out--so they all got thrown in. Editing is greatly needed here; in reality it's probably a 150 page story spread out over 300. Not worth the effort.
RtBBlog More than 1 year ago
I love books about families. They are almost always a great read, and The Union Street Bakery is no exception. I really enjoyed this book and the family dynamics. Daisy McCrae is use to life in the fast lane, when that life falls apart she returns home. Home is a family owned bakery. She takes over the financial and business aspects of the bakery. She’s the money girl, her sister Rachel is the baker of the family and her other sister Margaret is the people person. These three sisters don’t always get a long well together, what sisters do, but they sure do make a good team. Daisy was adopted after she was left at the bakery when she was three years old. This leaves a lot of scars on Daisy as she grows up. She has a lot to over come with feelings of being left and not getting to emotionally attached to others for fear that they will leave her. There is a great family history mystery in this book. I LOVED it, it was so fun watching these sisters work together to uncover the mystery. Working together also helps bring these sisters closer together and understand each other better. I love the family dynamics in this book, it is very easy to relate to. There not a lot of romance in so if you are looking for romance this isn’t the book for you. If you are looking for a touching family story I think you’ll enjoy The Union Street Bakery. I don’t know if there is a follow up to this book yet, if not I sure hope there is. I would love to read more about these girls and their lives. I also enjoyed Mary Ellen Taylor’s voice as an author and I’ll be looking for more books by her.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book started out great, got a little slow in the middle, but the ending made up for it. All in all, I would recommend this book.
literarymuseVC More than 1 year ago
Daisy McCrae has come home to the bakery on Union Street, after being Vice-President of Suburban Enterprises. She was a valued financier and never saw the crash coming as her colleagues invested poorly and she was one of those employees who were let go. The end of a brilliant career is how she sees it. In fact her heartfelt belief is that bad things will eventually happen and more besides. So it works out smoothly that her Dad’s health is not so good; actually it’s simple to say her parents are getting older and they need help. One sister, Ruth, can bake like a master and the other has a charming appeal to customers and a very skilled historian; but they all are horrific managers and the bakery is in some serious red trouble! Daisy’s job is to rescue the sinking ship of this lovely store that so many love, whether they be locals or tourists who flock from springtime through the fall every year. Refusing to unpack, she sleeps on a bed with a spring poking into her back and sets herself to work through a mountain of disorganized receipts and bills marked “payment overdue.” Not a sweet homecoming for sure! But her family, that is her adopted family, love her dearly and these pages are filled with the usual snappy family banter and some poignant tender moments that are very real! Imagine Daisy’s shock when an elderly lady stops by the bakery one day and tells her to look for her birth mother and leaves her a journal and a letter so Daisy can begin the search. But what resistance lies within Daisy, compounded by the appearance of her ex-fiancé Gordon. While they split, it’s obvious they love each other but too much pain and barriers have to be surmounted before much can progress. The journal becomes an exciting mystery to be solved for Daisy and her sister Margaret and the letter parallels their search, as well as a mean “ghost” who makes it clear to Daisy he wants her gone from the bakery. No, you can’t predict the “slave” story related to the McCrae family and Daisy’s real mother. Enjoy this wonderful story that makes the reader want to read faster to find out what happens but slower to relish the evolution of inner and outer dreams and reality! Oh, by the way, some recipes are included that one will want to try because they are described oh so deliciously in the story! Phenomenal story and fiction, Ms. Taylor! Best seller material!
FeatheredQuillBookReviews More than 1 year ago
Mary Ellen Taylor has written an endearing story that focuses on the essence of family and how their bakery business tied all members together in her latest novel, The Union Street Bakery. Daisy MacCrae knows far more than most what it means to be abandoned. Her birth mother, Terry Davis, settles her three-year-old daughter at one of the café tables at the Union Street Bakery. She pacifies her with a couple of sugar cookies before turning her back on her forever; or so it would seem. Fortunately for Daisy, the MacCrae family owned the bakery and was more than willing to adopt Daisy into their family once the reality struck months later her birth mother had no plans of returning. Growing up with her adoptive sisters Rachel and Margaret was often challenging for Daisy. It wasn’t for the lack of love in the MacCrae home. Rather, it was the sense Daisy had had since that fateful day. She believed she was loved, but couldn’t grasp a sense of belonging. Fast forward thirty years later and Daisy finds herself returning to her Alexandria roots. After a successful career in the fast-paced financial district in Washington D.C., it seems Daisy was a casualty of poor choices and risky measures once again; this time thanks to the financial crash the entire country was reeling from. Licking her wounds and returning to her childhood home, Daisy is feeling the punches of defeat. Not only has the financial job market tanked, but her personal finances are in ruins. In turn, she is forced to make the hard choice of relinquishing her D.C. lifestyle and move in with her parents in the attic apartment above the bakery. To compound her defeat, her once-upon-a-time fiancé, Gordon, happens into her life again. It seems he too is over the world of finance and has opted to take a different turn in his future. It just so happens he plans to open a bike shop within walking distance from The Union Street Bakery. Between family ties beginning during the days of slavery to present day regular customers, perhaps it’s not such a coincidence Daisy returned to where it all began thirty years before. Mary Ellen Taylor has done a superb job of painting credible dynamics of sisterly love (or the lack thereof at times). I have a personal reverence for the way she has played out Rachel, Margaret, and Daisy’s relationships as I have two sisters of my own. I found myself smiling often because the combination of two works well. It is when the third member joins in, that ‘odd man out’ has a propensity to raise its ugly head. What also resonated is the locale of the story. She has done Old Town Alexandria and the allure of the mighty Potomac River justice in her descriptive portrayals. I say this because I am quite familiar with the area. I have fond memories of Union Street and the surrounding area and the descriptive value in her writing resonated with me. Ms. Taylor has managed to create more than an escape or entertaining account for the reader. Rather, she beckons the reader to walk alongside her and listen to the beautiful tale she shares with her strong voice. I look forward to hearing her next story. Quill Says: The premise of ‘life happens’ is realistically captured through Ms. Taylor’s vivid imagination. One can almost feel the warmth, comfort and aroma of fresh-baked bread with each turn of the page.
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings The first in a series that takes place just moments from my house in Old Town Alexandria, VA in a small family owned bakery that has been in existence for generations. The youngest McCrae returns to Alexandria as she lost her job in DC and needs a place to retreat to to put her pieces back together. She is adopted and doesn't always feel a part of the clan, but retreating to help put the bakery together really brings her into the fold. First, I am biased because this book takes place in one of my favorite places - Old Town and I could picture each and every moment of this book and it made me fall in love with it. I also loved the family, the three daughters - two biological and one adopted and how this affects each in the family and where they feel they fit in the equation.
VirtuousWomanKF More than 1 year ago
Nice, easy story.  Really enjoyed the book, great characters.  A story that includes a few ghosts, a little romance and great family ties.  Looking forward to reading the second book in this series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the book. It was a good story. A young woman searching for her own identity and her purpose in her life
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ariesgrl More than 1 year ago
Daisy McCrae was abandoned at the bakery when she was just three years old. Thankfully the owners of Union Street Bakery took her in and made her a member of their family, but she still doesn’t feel like she belongs. Now that she has lost her job in DC and thanks to a handful of her mom’s margaritas, she is back at the family’s bakery. Living in her old room, still haunted by ghosts, she is forced to face her painful past, while using her money management skills to save the bakery from bankruptcy. Things get even more complicated when an old customer passes away and leaves her a journal that once belonged to a slave. Daisy has to rely on the help of her sisters in order to solve the mysteries of this ancient diary and continue the legacy of the Union Street Bakery. Mary Ellen Taylor weaves a graceful and poignant tale within a tale in this book. She manages to balance several characters’ lives from the 1800s to present day. Chocked full of metaphors, readers will laugh and cry as they experience life in the McCrae bakery. Mary Ellen Taylor makes sure to include her readers in on each fascinating detail as the characters discover new truths from the past. At the end of the book, it contains a few of the characters’ famous recipes. Readers will only be disappointed by the fact that this book has to end, because they will feel as though they are a part of the McCrae family. A must read for those who want a little bit of historical mystery set during modern times, with a few morsels of family drama. Notes: This review was written for My Sister's Books. This review was originally posted on the Ariesgrl Book Reviews website.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago