I read The Sweetness of Forgetting by Kristin Harmel on my vacation in Hilton Head for a Gallery Books blog tour.
At 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.
Hope’s 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 have a couple of books by Kristin Harmel on my bookshelves but I've never read anything by her before. If all of her books are as touching as this one was, then I can't wait to read them.
This was such an emotional book--both happy and sad. I have always been drawn to Holocaust stories. My grandfather was Jewish and while I was not raised in any religion, I have always found myself interested in this period in history. I've done reports on the tragedy when I was in school and I've read tons of books on the subject- both fact and fiction. So I knew right away that I wanted to read this book. I've also always loved a good love story and this one was heartbreakingly beautiful. So I pretty much devoured this book. I couldn't put it down.
The background that Hope finds out about Mamie was just fascinating and engrossing. I was just so drawn into her past life. But then the current life of the three women, Mamie, Hope, and Annie, was just so real, in a sad way. Yet the book was heartwarming at the same time.
It slightly reminded me of a Nicholas Sparks book but with a intriguing history to it. This book was just what I needed right then and I adored it.
I gave this book a rating of 4.5/5.
This book fulfills items in the following challenges:
2012 Reading Challenge 150+: 56
Completely Contemp Challenge 2012: 2012-14
Disclosure: I was given this book for free Gallery and Pocket Book Blog Tours
for an honest review.