About the Book:
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 first brought her marvelous pastries to the Cape over fifty years ago, 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. . . .
About the Author:
Kristin Harmel is a novelist whose books have been translated into numerous languages and are sold all over the world. Visit her at www.KristinHarmel.com.
A longtime reporter for People magazine, Kristin's other magazine credits include Ladies' Home Journal, Woman's Day, American Baby, Men's Health, American Way and Runner's World magazines. She also appears regularly as the travel expert on the nationally televised morning show "The Daily Buzz."
Hope McKenna- Smith finds herself buried in stress; she has recently divorced and her daughter is blaming her for the breakup. She moved back home to Cape Cod to care for her mother who was dying of cancer and to care for her grandmother who has Alzheimer's disease. She has taken over the running of the family bakery and finds that she is about to lose the business if she doesn't find an investor or some ready cash soon.
With all of this on her shoulders a visit to her grandmother presents her with information that will rock the foundations of her life. She visits and finds her grandmother having a very lucid day and is asked to go to Paris to find out what happened to the people on a list. Who are these people? Her grandmother's family - taken by the Nazi's in WWII. Hope finds out that her grandmother is not a French Catholic immigrant but rather a Jewish girl smuggled out during the war. Her whole history changes in the course of a single conversation. What will she find in Paris? Should she even go?
What follows is a very moving story of one woman's search for who she really is and why the women in her family seem unable to love. As the horrors of the German occupation of Paris unfold for its Jewish citizens small miracles occur in the least likely places. And it's the bakery and the family recipes that help to lead Hope to answers she needs. The story was fascinating and I found myself racing to the end to find out how it would play out. I think these types of stories need to be told and told again so we, as a society don't forget the horror of Hitler's regime.
The characters were, for the most part believable. The only one that really irked me was Hope's daughter. This character seemed forced. Every other word out of her mouth was "like" and her attitude was too over the top rotten. Maybe teenagers are like this now, I don't know but every time she entered the story I cringed. The romance aspects were good and simple and just right. I enjoyed the tale and it had a great ending.
You can purchase The Sweetness of Forgetting on Amazon.com
Disclosure: I received a copy of The Sweetness of Forgetting gratis from Gallery Books. Any opinions expressed are my honest opinions and were not impacted by my receipt of the free book. I received no monetary compensation for this post.