THE PATRON THIEF OF BREAD, by Lindsay Eagar, Candlewick, May 11, 2022, Hardcover, $19.99 (ages 10 and up)
A street urchin finds herself a baker’s apprentice as part of a scheme to keep her gang fed in Lindsay Eager’s The Patron Thief of Bread.
Fished from the river as an infant and raised by a roving band of street urchins who call themselves the Crowns, 8-year-old Duck keeps her head down and her mouth shut.
It’s a rollicking life, always thieving, always on the run — until the ragtag Crowns infiltrate an abandoned cathedral in the city of Odierne and decide to set down roots. It’s all part of the bold new plan hatched by the Crowns’ fearless leader, Gnat: One of their very own will pose as an apprentice to the local baker, relieving Master Griselde of bread and coin to fill the bellies and line the pockets of all the Crowns.
But no sooner is Duck apprenticed to the kindly Griselde than Duck’s allegiances start to blur. Who is she really — a Crown or an apprentice baker? And who does she want to be?
Meanwhile, high above the streets of Odierne, on the roof of the unfinished cathedral, an old and ugly gargoyle grows weary of waiting to fulfill his own destiny — to watch and protect. —Synopsis provided by Candlewick
The Patron Thief of Bread is told in alternating viewpoints — Duck and an old gargoyle perched atop an unfinished cathedral.
Duck is an endearing character who starts out quiet and somewhat invisible. As the book progresses, Duck not only finds her voice, but learns to use it. It’s through her most of the action takes place, but it’s the prickly gargoyle that provides linking context throughout.
With warm prose and excellent worldbuilding, author Lindsay Eager immediately puts readers at ease. She immerses readers in a world of sights and smells paired with friendship, love and learning to love oneself.
The Patron Thief of Bread is hands down one of my favorite books of 2022. I read all 442 pages in one day, and it will be on my holiday gift guide list come November. I highly recommend it. It’s that good.
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