The Sweetness of Forgetting

( 33 )

Overview

A baker in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, must travel to Paris to uncover a family secret for her dying grandmother—and what she learns may change everything. The Sweetness of Forgetting is the book that made Kristin Harmel an international bestseller.

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 ...

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Overview

A baker in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, must travel to Paris to uncover a family secret for her dying grandmother—and what she learns may change everything. The Sweetness of Forgetting is the book that made Kristin Harmel an international bestseller.

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. . . .

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Hope McKenna-Smith struggles to run the family bakery on Cape Cod while coping with a recent divorce; a churlish preteen daughter named Annie; and a grandmother, Rose, who is quickly succumbing to Alzheimer’s. During one of Hope’s visits, Rose—in a rare and desperate moment of lucidity—gives Hope a list of seven relatives whom Rose last saw in WWII-era France, and begs her to track them down so she might know their fates. Urged along by Annie, Hope abandons the bakery and jets to Paris. There she unearths family secrets buried for decades, and while Rose’s memory fades away, Hope comes face to face with the people and places of her grandmother’s past—one of fear, world war, and a clandestine, far-reaching love. Despite hackneyed dialogue (Annie uses “like” in nearly every sentence) and the challenge of working in well-trod territory, Harmel (After) manages to deliver an immersive and evocative tale of generations struggling to survive. Recipes sprinkled throughout the book allow readers to experience firsthand the sweetness of Hope’s journey. Agent: Holly Root, Waxman Literary. (Aug.)
From the Publisher
“Kristin Harmel writes with such insight and heart that her characters will stay with you long after you’ve finished her books.”
New York Times bestselling author Emily Giffin

“Kristin Harmel...[is] one of my favorite authors!”
–Melissa Senate, bestselling author of The Love Goddess’ Cooking School

"Harmel manages to deliver an immersive and evocative tale of generations struggling to survive. Recipes sprinkled throughout the book allow readers to experience firsthand the sweetness of Hope's journey."
Publishers Weekly

Fresh Fiction
"THE SWEETNESS OF FORGETTING is absolutely enthralling and full of twists and turns that add to the drama and keeps the tale moving along. Author Kristin Harmel does a magnificent job of telling this saga of one family's search for understanding. She also handles her approach to Alzheimer's disease with gentleness and understanding. Readers will remember THE SWEETNESS OF FORGETTING long after the final page is turned."
SheKnows Book Lounge - Lisa Steinke
"Kristin Harmel's novels are written with a lot of heart and soul. She has a way of bringing the reader into her stories in such a powerful way that they can often forget they're reading at all. The Sweetness of Forgetting may just be Harmel's best book yet."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780594493587
  • Publisher: Gallery Books
  • Publication date: 8/7/2012
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 5.52 (w) x 8.04 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Meet the Author

Kristin Harmel is the author of four previous women’s fiction novels, as well as two young adult novels. She also writes for People magazine, and her work has been featured in Glamour, Woman's Day, Men's Health, and Runner’s World, among many other media outlets. She lives in Orlando, Florida.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 33 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(24)

4 Star

(5)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(0)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 33 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 10, 2012

    I really enjoyed this book. My mother suffers from dementia, s


    I really enjoyed this book. My mother suffers from dementia, so I could relate to the feelings of the main character when dealing with her grandmother's "good" and "bad" days. I've also spent many years on the Cape, so I enjoyed the setting. I thought the premise was great. Imagine discovering a completely different family history than the one you grew up believing? What feelings of loss would you feel? What would you feel you'd gained? I've read other books by this author and I'm glad she's been able to branch out into another genre. I think you'll like this book (and the food)!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2012

    Worth it!

    Won this book before it came out. Its a must read! If you liked sarahs key..you will love this one!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 16, 2013

    Had a hard time putting this one down!  It is a fantastic book o

    Had a hard time putting this one down!  It is a fantastic book of life loved and lost and found again!  Very well written.  Best book I have read in ages.  If you need soul searching, pick up this book.  Pass it on to everyone you know!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2012

    Love!!!!!!!!

    By far the best ive read in a loooonnngg time! I recommend this book to everyone!! Absolutely loved it! It was so heartfelt!..need tissues!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 25, 2012

    AMAZING!! As I write this review, I find myself overwhelmed in h

    AMAZING!!
    As I write this review, I find myself overwhelmed in how to describe "The Sweetness in Forgetting" by Kristin Harmel. It is such an amazing read and there are so many aspects of the story that I want to share, that I feel entirely incapable of doing it justice.

    The book cover and the synopsis, give you the feeling that this is a just another story of a divorced single mother going through "stuff " and, would not have ever been a book I would be interested in if not recommended by author, Sarah Jio. In this case, please don't judge a book by it's cover, although it is beautiful, it is not a good representation of the novel.

    This is a love story but one of great magnitude and on so many levels...For your fellow man, mother for a child, between man and a woman, for traditions, for family, for your hometown, for the legacies left to you by generations previous and for your faith.

    It is a story of overcoming the odds and yet losing yourself in the past. It is a story of horrific tragedy and one of sweet saving grace.

    Words cannot describe the impact this book had on me. I learned so much and it gave me a great many things to really reflect upon....all the makings for a great novel.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2012

    Highly recommend

    Best book ever! What a wonderful story and the recipes were an added bonus. Could hardly put it down.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 7, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    10 stars

    The Sweetness of Forgetting moved me to the core. This is probably one of the best books that I have read in well over a year. Harmel is a gifted storyteller that weaves an amazing story with treads of love, hardship, secrets, second chances, heartbreak, baked goods and history. This story will urge you to learn your family's story, to embrace your family's history. I felt like I was on the journey with Hope to help uncover the truth of the past before it was too late. Harmel gives a voice to Alzheimer's through Rose's voice which is an amazing element to this novel. I absolutely loved EVERYTHING about this novel; the title, the cover, the story, the characters and the ending. This story has become a new favorite, by a new favorite author. If I could I would rate it 10 stars!!! I highly recommend it to EVERYONE, especially book clubs!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2014

    Wonderful story.

    Made me fall in love with this author.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2013

    very good book

    this was a good book, very touching book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 26, 2013

    A novel rich with insight on the plight of those of the jewish f

    A novel rich with insight on the plight of those of the jewish faith in occupied France during WWII as told through the research and discovery of a woman tracing her grandmother's roots. Hope McKenna-Smith is an extremely well developed character struggling to balance the aftermath of divorce, an adolescent daughter, a struggling business, and her grandmother's dementia. In less than 400 pages, the author packs in sorrow, joy, mystery, revelation, and profound wisdom.
    I have enjoyed previous books by Kristin Harmel, but this heads the list as being a compelling read and a story of substance.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2013

    Loved it!

    Had me at the very beginning. A good mix of humor, intrigue and romance. Was one of those books that you just can't put down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2013

    Very fragmented book

    It appeared that the author wanted to get too many things across and they just didn't always fit or ring true.

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  • Posted January 22, 2013

    I was so disappointed in this book. The idea was great... but t

    I was so disappointed in this book. The idea was great... but the main character needs to get a backbone! I whispered... I mumbled... I murmured... I saw that more in this book than any other I have read. Come on... speak up!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2012

    Wonderful.

    Perfect.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 5, 2012

    A Must Read Book!

    This is a well written novel uncovering the truth about the journey of a Parisian immagrent through the eyes of her American Grandaughter. It is filled with twists and turns, love and shocking details that encompasses the true spirit of what it means to be an American. The strength and endurance of love bridge the generations of a strong woman who now has Alzheimer's disease, but feels the need to look back once more to see if she can find what happened to those she loved and had to leave behind seven decades ago.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2012

    Tessas mom

    I LOVED THIS BOOK you have all the drama and heartache of "sarah's key" combined with an amazing love story What a great story .... I didnt want it to end I will recommend this bookto all my friends WOW !

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  • Posted September 14, 2012

    Please check this out

    This is a very sweet story with a lot of interesting history from WWII. It's the story of a family in crisis and finding their way together. A very old fashion love story of true love that escape a lot of people.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2012

    Highly Recommended

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The story was wonderful, moved at a quick pace, and I enjoyed the inclusion of recipes discussed in the book. I liked how the author switched between the main character POV and her grandmother's POV. There were some things about the writing style that were a little quirky for me, but the story was engaging enough that I could overlook what bugged me. I would definitely read more by this author.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2012

    Great Story!

    I read this book because of Emily Giffin's facebook recommendation. It was a wonderfully written story of one woman's quest to know her family's story. I really enjoyed the way the author weaved the story between present day and Paris during World War 2. If you liked Sarah's Key, you will enjoy this novel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2012

    Beautifuilly Engaging!

    Touched upon many of the things I am most passionate about (love, God, older adults- esp. Those suffering from Alzheimers, baking, foreign language an travel). Loved the characters and enjoyed the recipes threaded throughtout the book. Couldn't put it down!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 33 Customer Reviews

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