Monday, August 6, 2012

The Sweetness of Forgetting by Kristin Harmel

This book really surprised me.  I thought I would like it, but I didn't expect such an emotional ride, and I ended up thinking this book was just wonderful.

The Sweetness of Forgetting by Kristin Harmel has many layers, much like the baklava Hope makes in her family's bakery.  She's inherited the bakery from her Grandmother Rose and mother Josephine, and the recipes she uses Rose brought over from France during WW2.  What Hope doesn't know is just how those recipes are part of her Grandmother's heritage and journey from Paris to Cape Cod.

This novel is about family secrets, incredible loss, the Holocaust, and those who save us and keep us going even after devastating, life altering events.  It's about finding your family, opening your heart, and not being afraid to love.  All these things Hope faces as she struggles to uncover Rose's French past and why she came to America as a young teenager.  Rose is now in her 80's and suffering from Alzheimer's disease and is quickly forgetting the present and spending more and more of her time in the past--Paris in 1942.  After one day of extreme lucidity, she gives Hope a list of names and asks her to travel to Paris and find out what happened to them during WW2.  What Hope uncovers is amazing, heartbreaking, and a tale that you won't soon forget.

This novel also includes recipes for the pastries and goodies Hope makes in her bakery.  You'll learn the origins of these sweet treats and how they tie Rose's past into the present.  

Rating:  4/5 for a really wonderful story--got me a little teary-eyed. 

For fans of Sarah's Key and historical novels about World War 2.  

Available in paperback and as an e-book.

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