Hope McKenna- Smith finds herself up to her elbows in
stress. She is recently divorced and her teenaged daughter
is blaming her for the breakup. Hope's mother has passed
away from cancer, and it's up to Hope to care for her
grandmother Rose who has Alzheimer's disease. Hope has
taken over the running of the family's popular bakery, but
finds that she is about to lose the business if she doesn't
find an investor or some ready cash soon. A lot of stress
to be sure.
And on top of all the rest, a visit to her grandmother
presents her with information that will rock the
foundations of all she has ever known about her family.
Having a very lucid day, Rose pleads for Hope to go to
Paris to find out what happened to the people from her past
whose names she has written down on a list. Hope discovers
that her grandmother is not a French Catholic immigrant but
rather a Jewish girl smuggled out of France during World
War II and the people on the list are her grandmother's
family who were taken by the Nazis. Hope's entire family
history changes in the course of a single conversation and
it is up to her to find out exactly what took place all
those years ago.
THE SWEETNESS OF FORGETTING, by Kristin Harmel, 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 express
their 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 SWEETNESS OF FORGETTING is absolutely enthralling and
full of twists and
turns that add to the drama and keeps the tale moving
along. These types of stories need to be told so younger
generations don't forget the horror of Hitler's regime.
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.
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. . . .