Friday, 19 April 2013

Books Read: Kristin Harmel - The Sweetness of Forgetting

The North Star Bakery has been in Hope's family for generations, the secret recipes passed down from mother to daughter. But at thirty-six and recently divorced, with rebellious daughter Annie and elderly grandmother Rose to care for, Hope is less than enthusiastic about carrying on the family legacy. When the bakery runs into financial trouble and Rose takes a turn for the worse, Hope's delicate balancing act is in danger of crumbling entirely. 

Then Rose reveals a shocking truth about her past and everything Hope thought she knew about her family and the bakery is turned upside down. At her grandmother's request, Hope travels to Paris, armed only with a mysterious list of names. What she uncovers there could be the key to saving the bakery and the fulfilment of a star-crossed romance, seventy years in the making.

I hadn't heard of Kirstin Harmel before so when her UK publisher Quercus sent me a copy of her latest book, The Sweetness of Forgetting, I couldn't wait to start reading it to discover a new author. 

Hope is a woman who feels like she has the whole world on her shoulders... she's struggling to keep the family business, The North Star Bakery set up by her Grandmother Rose when she moved to the US, afloat in the midst of a recession, bringing up her teenage daughter Annie who is struggling to adapt to her parent's divorce as well as making regular visits to Rose who's suffering from Alzheimers.   

But Hope's life is going to get turned upside down when during a moment of lucidity Rose gives her a list of names and asks her to go to Paris to try and track them down to see what happened to them.  Names she doesn't recognise, who are they and what is their connection to Rose?   

It's her daughter Annie who finally convinces her that she should go to Paris to get the answers for Rose before it's too late.  Soon Hope finds herself re-tracing Rose's footsteps during the war and and discovering the truth that's been hidden her whole lifetime about her ancestry.  Along the way she also discovers the heritage of the recipes that have been handed down through the generations in the bakery.    

The Sweetness of Forgetting is one of those bittersweet reads where one moment you can feel the pain and suffering of the characters but the next you're swept up in the romance.  But be warned it's also one of those books not to be read when you're hungry or on a diet as the mouthwatering descriptions of the cakes and pastries that Hope bakes will make you crave one to try for yourself....

1 comment:

  1. I have this on my pile, another book where I'll gain a stone I guess!
    Great review! :)