Title: The Sweetness of Forgetting
Author: Kristin Harmel
368 pages, published August 2012
Genre: Women's Fiction
A baker in Cape Cod,
Massachusetts, must travel to Paris to uncover a family secret for her
dying grandmother's and what she learns may change everything. The Sweetness of Forgetting is the book that made Kristin Harmel an international bestseller.
thirty-six, Hope McKenna-Smith is no stranger to bad news. She lost her
mother to cancer, her husband left her for a twenty-two year old, and
her bank account is nearly depleted. Her own dreams of becoming a lawyer
long gone, she's running a failing family bakery on Cape Cod and
raising a troubled preteen.
Now, Hope's beloved French-born
grandmother Mamie, who wowed the Cape with her fabulous pastries for
more than fifty years, is drifting away into a haze of Alzheimer's. But
in a rare moment of clarity, Mamie realizes that unless she tells Hope
about the past, the secrets she has held on to for so many years will
soon be lost forever. Tantalizingly, she reveals mysterious snippets of a
tragic history in Paris. And then, arming her with a scrawled list of
names, she sends Hope to France to uncover a seventy-year-old mystery.
emotional journey takes her through the bakeries of Paris and three
religious traditions, all guided by Mamie's fairy tales and the sweet
tastes of home. As Hope pieces together her family's history, she finds
horrific Holocaust stories mixed with powerful testimonies of her
family's will to survive in a world gone mad. And to reunite two lovers
torn apart by terror, all she'll need is a dash of courage, and the
belief that God exists everywhere, even in cake...
I first heard of this book on Brandie's blog (it's awesome, go check it out!) and immediately fell in love with the cover. I'll admit it, I'm a cover snob. I absolutely adore pretty covers. I immediately researched the book and after reading the synopsis immediately requested it from the library. I'll admit the first part of the book was tough for me, as my father passed away from a form of Alzheimer's and parts of it hit a bit too close, but I loved the story and wanted to keep going. I am SO glad I did! I absolutely LOVED this book!
I loved the characters. I loved the Cape Cod and the Paris setting. I loved reading about the bakery. All the elements were things I absolutely love in a book! The story is absolutely beautiful. You're rooting for Rose and Jacob the whole book. The ending is beautiful and amazing and heartbreaking all at once. You WILL cry. I do not recommend reading the ending to this one in public! I read the second half of the book on an airplane coming back from a business trip, sitting next to my boss, trying not to ugly cry at the beautiful ending.
If you love romance, historical fiction, novels about food, and beautiful stories about the power of love and family, don't hesitate to pick up this book. I highly recommend it!
The irony? Despite the gorgeous cover, I felt the cover art didn't really go with the story. Do I care? Not one bit!
Overall rating for "The Sweetness of Forgetting": 5 stars