The Union Street Bakery by Mary Ellen Taylor

The Union Street Bakery by Mary Ellen Taylor
Publisher: Berkley Trade Paperback
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (344 pgs)
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Aloe

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.

Daisy is a bit embarrassed to be moving back home at this point in her life. She had a very good job, a fiancé and a life she loved. And somehow she lost it all…

When the story began, I thought it was a tale about being downsized and returning to your roots. The author makes it into a larger story by making her main character an abandoned child. She’s been adopted by a good family, doesn’t care what happened to her mother, and thinks she’s fine on her own. But not all her ghosts have been laid yet.

There are family conflicts as well as ghosts and a past all waiting in line to teach Daisy about life. If that wasn’t enough to make a good story, her ex-fiancé moves to town and starts a bike shop. Trying to save a failing business, deal with some family problems in the shop and avoiding her ex keeps her almost overwhelmed. Then a little old woman leaves her a diary from long ago upon her death, and a door to the past opens up; that ghost she sees is actually a relative from the past. Another blast from the past is a letter from her mother. You know, the one who abandoned her at three years old? I worried that Daisy was going to go off the deep end before she got her personal demons settled. How do you ever accept that your mother rejected you?

This author does an excellent job of showing how important a family can be and who your real family is. Ms. Taylor also demonstrates how something from long ago can still be influencing your current life. She makes you care not only about Daisy but about all the family and friends involved. More than anything, this is the story of Daisy finally accepting how life is and learning how to make her own decisions about happiness. I enjoyed reading this book and walking along with Daisy as she grows. Why don’t you get a copy and settle in a comfortable chair with a cup of tea or coffee and start reading? You might also want a pastry. They are running a bakery in this story and it made me drool. There are recipes at the back, too.


  1. This book sounds great!

  2. Thanks for this review!

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