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The Sweetness of Forgetting

The Sweetness of Forgetting

4.6 75
by Kristin Harmel

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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


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...

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

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."

Product Details

Gallery Books
Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
5.52(w) x 8.04(h) x 0.94(d)

Meet the Author

Kristin Harmel is the international bestselling author of The Sweetness of Forgetting, The Life Intended, and When We Meet Again, along with several other novels. Her work has been featured in People, Woman’s Day, Men’s Health, Runner’s World, and Ladies’ Home Journal, among many other media outlets. She lives in Orlando, Florida.

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The Sweetness of Forgetting 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 75 reviews.
mimiJG More than 1 year ago
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!
Jeffismom More than 1 year ago
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)!
JErwin More than 1 year ago
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.
VirtuousWomanKF More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best book ever! What a wonderful story and the recipes were an added bonus. Could hardly put it down.
mommybooknerd More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read six to eight books a month and have never taken the time to rate a book That's how good this book is--worth every page!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Won this book before it came out. Its a must read! If you liked sarahs key..you will love this one!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Made me fall in love with this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this was a good book, very touching book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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 !
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read, teaching about WW2 and different religions throughout the story. I felt it was a bit repetative and some parts were drawn out but it was greatly detailed. I could picture the areas in Paris and NY... and even on the cape where Ive never been but sounds similar to our beach towns. Wonderful fairytail cliche ending without being rediculous. Overall. Worth it!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I could not put this book down. It was a mystery/biography set in New England and Europe. Anyone who likes to bake (there are recipes from the bakery) or is intrigued by the history of WWII would enjoy this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sparkles4567 More than 1 year ago
I loved this book!!! The story will stay with me for a very long time. Loved the love story and history lessons that were given throughout this book. I now want to go out and buy more of the authors books.