I Gave My Heart To Know This by Ellen Baker




"Ellen Baker's novel is large in the best sense; large in its generous spirit, and its gallery of vivid, memorable characters.  It possesses, as well, an abundance of intelligence, and great shrewdness in its pure, story-telling appeal.  This novel has a naturalness and finesse that are truly rare."

Richard Ford

“Give your heart to Ellen Baker's beautifully made new novel about stern people and the stern toll of urgent words never said. From the hard-bitten bluffs of Lake Superior to the coast of California, from World War II to the present day, the mothers and daughters of two Midwestern families of immigrant stock race against time and history to break down a wall of lies, before it is too late.”

Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of The Deep End of the Ocean

“What a rich offering this is! Ellen Baker gives us characters who are so real, so recognizable, so likable, in spite of (or perhaps because of) their problems and secrets and frustrations and missteps; and she presents them against a story line that is epic in scope...  I really loved reading this powerful and poignant book, which, though it acknowledges pain, regret and remorse, ultimately is a celebration of life.”

Elizabeth Berg, author of Once Upon a Time There Was You and Open House

 “Ellen Baker’s new book is a great, big, rich and romantic slice of World War II history, which chronicles the lives of three Wisconsin women left behind on the home front to carry on without the men they love. It is a loving tribute to their courage, the sacrifices they made, and their tremendous contributions to the American war effort.”

Fannie Flagg, author of I Still Dream About You

“Ellen Baker is a brilliant writer and I Gave My Heart to Know This is a marvelous novel. Moving between past and present, Baker weaves her themes of secrecy, betrayal, and forgiveness into a powerful, unforgettable story.  I loved the characters so completely I began to think of them as my own family and friends.”

Bev Marshall, author of Walking Through Shadows

“I adored this luscious novel. Its authentic details immersed me in the world of women at work during WWII...but the layered story immersed me even deeper in the secrets that get buried in generations of family history—secrets that have a way of wanting to be known, secrets we may carry without even knowing. I ached with regret for the characters, wept at their redemption, and savored every surprising turn. I loved Baker's debut novel, and this one's even better!”

Katrina Kittle, author of The Blessings of the Animals

"Baker mixes past and present, love and loss, forgiveness and renewal in this sensitive cross-generational story of the lingering effects of WWII... Reminiscent of both A.S. Byatt's Possession and "Rosie the Riveter," Baker is at her best describing a bone-deep cold Lake Superior and the lives of the women who labored over ships as a rare but powerful part of history."

-- Publisher's Weekly

"Masterfully portraying the harsh realities of women's newly acquired role in the wartime workplace, Baker's family saga brims with gothic undertones."

-- Booklist

"A richly satisfying sophomore effort steeped in heartbreak and history.... Baker's natural ear for the parlance of the era, site-specific and wholly believable, is but one element that makes her second novel such a cozy delight... This talented author has created familiar-seeming people whom readers will care about... What an unalloyed pleasure it is to see that Ellen Baker's writing has firmly found its footing."

-- Minneapolis Star Tribune


"It is the measure of Ellen Baker's success that she makes [the] journey from the shadowed past real and deeply moving."

-- Ann Arbor Observer

"An expansive story... Baker is really at the top of her game."

-- City Pulse

"I GAVE MY HEART TO KNOW THIS is an intricately woven tale of family, friendship, love, and loss, and it is simply amazing..."

-- Planet Books


"The story flows beautifully... Everything about it works... If you hadn’t already planned on adding this title to your shelves, do so ASAP and give it a call-out so people who aren’t familiar with this new face to the literary scene can be sure to grab it. Trust me—once you get sucked into Baker’s world, you’ll be sad when it’s time to leave."

-- Brodart Vibe

"The global themes of loyalty, love and loss find settings on the familiar shores of Lake Superior and the distant coast of California. And while sense of place pleasantly colors the book for regional readers, Ellen’s sense of human drama makes this a story of value to everyone, everywhere."

-- Lake Superior Magazine





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