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The Sweetness of Forgetting

4.07  ·  Rating Details ·  6,871 Ratings  ·  964 Reviews
A baker in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, must travel to Paris to uncover a family secret for her dying grandmother's 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-
Paperback, 368 pages
Published August 7th 2012 by Gallery Books (first published 2012)
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Lora Swafford They don't emphasize on anything you don't already know about the Holocaust. And by that I mean, they don't go into gory horror details about anything…moreThey don't emphasize on anything you don't already know about the Holocaust. And by that I mean, they don't go into gory horror details about anything involving that time. It's a sweet, yet sad book. But nothing like that. (less)

Community Reviews

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Sep 11, 2012 Chelsey rated it it was amazing
Can I just start by saying that it is because of books like this one that I am a book blogger? It is books like this one by Kristin Harmel, who I now love, that bring out my ultimate passion for submerging myself in a story. I opened this book and I might as well have found a buried treasure. I found so many intricate details and stories within the story that I did not expect from my first glance. The words are so fluid and it almost makes me feel like writing something extraordinary myself. Wow ...more
Dale Harcombe
Dec 15, 2013 Dale Harcombe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Four and a half stars. People are not always what they seem to be as Hope discovers. Her grandmother Rose has Alzheimer’s but in amongst the confusion she has days of clarity. When she does, Hope finds her grandmother has had a whole other life Hope knew nothing about.
Meanwhile Hope, recently divorced is struggling o keep the bakery business that has been in her family for generations going. She also struggles with the bratty, rude behaviour of her daughter Annie who changes in the blink of an
2.5 stars

How can a book go so utterly downhill in the last few pages I just cannot comprehend.
Mrs Mommy Booknerd
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 Al ...more
Nov 16, 2012 Soobee72 rated it it was ok
It's not that this is a bad book. It's not. It's written well, and if you like Nicholas Sparks, this book is for you. It's got that kind of a feel, you know? I am not a Sparks fan so while the writing propelled me through, I found it to be more predictable than enjoyable.

Slight spoilers ahead.

I found Hope, the main character, a little too much. Some of the plot was just really kind of unnecessary for the story. There are two love interests. It is immediately obvious who you are supposed to root
Liliana Rio
Apr 29, 2014 Liliana Rio rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-books
Que história magnífica!!
Que amor grandioso...que sofrimento inexplicável.
Um livro que nos enche o coração, onde a esperança nunca morre e nunca é tarde para sermos felizes, basta acreditar.
Enquanto houver estrelas no céu... nunca deixarei de te amar!
Leslie Lehr
May 09, 2012 Leslie Lehr rated it it was amazing
This is one of those books that makes me angry! It is so good, that the (unique) Holocaust angle alone should quantify it as literary fiction and be published in hardback with the big boys. But alas, the romance aspects and fact it was written but the lovely Kristin Harmel seem to have destined it to Women's Fiction. But DO NOT BE FOOLED! This book is a wonderful read and Harmel wove the themes of family and history and romance with a masterful hand. I read it in two days (don't tell anyone who ...more
Una lettura così così. Mi ha commosso a tratti, ma, diciamolo, come si fa a non commuoversi e soffrire quando si parla di deportazioni, separazione forzata dalle persone che si amano, camere a gas, sterminio di massa, come si fa?
L'ho trovato a tratti anche avvincente, come tanti altri libri in cui c'è una ricerca da compiere e un mistero da svelare, ma poi tutto alla fine era molto prevedibile.
Ho apprezzato la presenza delle ricette dei dolci, il tema della memoria, del retaggio di una famigli
Sep 18, 2012 Elyse rated it really liked it
Bittersweet Holocaust Story with Bakery recipes.

Family history, (past and present), loss, struggles, alzheimer's , a road less traveled is 'just that' (often the right choice) --

The book is filled with 'life lessons'. At times heart-wrenching --or times heart-warming....
Its also a book about Love!

NOTE: As many of my friends know...I'm not a fan of seeing 'recipes' smack in the middle of a novel (why can't they be put at the END of the book 'altogether'?) ---
However, I decided not to judge the
Dec 02, 2012 Christina rated it it was ok
Initially, I was really enjoying the book but as the story developed, I found that I started skimming several sections at a time as the narrative was just long-winded and unnecessary at times. Particularly when I reached a Rose chapter, I would skim over the pages. Ultimately, this type of story would have benefitted from a dual-version narrative where Rose's and Hope's story overlapped as the end drew closer. Given my increased skimming as the book progressed, I'm annoyed that I spent nearly te ...more
Margie Senechal
Aug 19, 2012 Margie Senechal rated it it was amazing
I picked this up on a B&N browse through--you know when you're going to have a snack and coffee and you just want to see if the book is any good?

Well, it was good. It was so good I read the first few chapters, bought it, took it home, and finished it that night.

The Sweetness of Forgetting is wonderful. I teared, smiled, and gasped with delight--seriously. I fell in love with true love all over again. I wanted to bake the cupcakes or meringues from the recipes included before the Rose chapt
Jul 02, 2012 Cindy rated it it was amazing

Very charming, sweet , and a bit heartbreaking. Recommend.
Feb 20, 2017 Veronica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Avevo già letto "Quando all'alba saremo vicini" e mi ero innamorata della penna e della dolcezza con cui la Harmel dà voce alle sue storie.
Questo romanzo non fa altro che confermare ampiamente l'opinione super positiva che mi sono fatta di questa scrittrice.
Si vede che alla base di tutto c'è un'approfondita ricerca. I temi trattati non sono leggeri ma vengono presentati al lettore in tutte le loro sfumature, sia quelle più scure che quelle più chiare.
Nel buio si intravede uno spiraglio di luce
Oct 23, 2014 Laura rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, ipad
From the story description and the average 4+ star reviews, I should have enjoyed this book but instead I found annoyance that grew with each turn of the page. The first half dozen chapters were loaded with so much Debbie Downer personal drama that I presume I was doomed to develop a down-in-the-mouth opinion. The template this author used to outline her novel was predictable and tiresome. This is yet another story where the pair of star-crossed lovers experience a "jolt of electricity" when the ...more
Jun 08, 2014 Sónia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Romance contemporâneo e romance histórico que se cruzam de uma maneira formidável!

Uma estória incrível, tecida por uma escritora talentosa, e que nos leva aos meandros do amor, desgosto, sofrimento, segredos e segundas oportunidades. Afectos, religião, doçaria, Holocausto, Alzheimer pode parecer uma "mistura" estranha mas que resulta num romance formidável.

A busca incessante pela procura das origens de uma família, que nos leva a uma abordagem histórica, de forma exemplar, de um período negro
A promising start involving a bakery, the relationship between different generations of women and a secret in Paris. Who can say no to these?

And man, ain't I disappointed! These are the reasons: [spoiler alert]

1. It's the evil Nazis versus the GLORIOUS AMERICANS
2. Constant repetition of how America is the land to be, the DREAM. And that only in America can everyone live freely without being labelled by their religion. Yea, tell someone whose name is Ali, Mohamud or Jehad who want to get a visa
Aug 07, 2012 Joy rated it liked it
This is the story of a woman that escaped the holocaust and fled to America leaving her family and the love of her life, Jacob, behind. Her parents refused to believe the warning that the Jews were going to be rounded up that very night. After she left her home she asked Jacob to go back and try once again to convince her parents to flee. He never returned. As her mind gives in to Alzheimers she asks her granddaughter, Hope, to find out what happened to her family.

While I enjoyed the overall se
Maria Carmo
This book is oh! so many things and I absolutely LOVED every aspect of it! I had not read anything that gave me as much pleasure for a long time, from an Author I did not even know up till now!
The whole book is written in an enticing way that captures attention immediately and is never, ever boring! The characters are believable and interesting and the wonderful smell of backed cookies permits the whole book. At a certain point, what started as a simple routine of a broken heart woman becomes a
Jen Murray
Aug 05, 2012 Jen Murray rated it really liked it
I picked this book up on a whim when getting ready for vacation, expecting a chick lit, by-the-pool read. I was pleasantly surprised that it was more than that - very heartwarming, touching, both sweet and sad. I definitely shed a few tears but loved the story and the characters. It touches on the choices we make, the regrets we have but leaves you feeling hopeful. I highly recommend this book (and some of the recipes look amazing as well).
Sandra Melo
Apr 29, 2014 Sandra Melo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Completamente arrebatada...livro maravilhoso...
Jun 26, 2017 Fabi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Adorei este livro. Esperava que fosse bom, mas foi melhor ainda do que eu pensava!
Nov 29, 2014 Susan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014-reads
I'm waiting to post my review after the first of the year, but it was a great book. 4.5 stars

Update: January 11, 2015

A touching, beautiful story about a holocaust survivor who is losing her memory to Alzheimers. Mamie was born in France and is renowned for her baking skills. She has passed these treasured recipes down to her granddaughter, Hope, who runs a local bakery. One day in a rare moment of clarity, Mamie hands Hope a note with some names of people and asks her to go to Paris to find them
Carla Geraldes
Jun 10, 2014 Carla Geraldes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: empréstimos
Este livro é mais um daqueles que me vai marcar.
Uma viagem entre o presente e os desencontros da segunda grande guerra. As recordações do Holocausto, as memórias de uma doente com Alzheimer. Uma amor que sobrevive 70 anos.
Um livro que mexeu com as minhas emoções com uma facilidade incrível. emoções que me levaram da ternura ás lágrimas. Do terror à revolta, e novamente a um sentimento de ternura enorme.
Tudo isto escrito de uma forma simples e com um cuidado enorme.
Um livro que irei
Sep 21, 2012 Valentina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: narrativa
“È l’umanità a creare le differenze. Ma questo non significa che non sia sempre lo stesso Dio”.
Se fossi così sciocca da giudicare un libro dal suo incipit, penso che avrei subito abbandonato quello della Harmel, impressionata negativamente dalla pateticità della protagonista Hope che non fa altro che ripetere a se stessa di essere una fallita. Ma se si scorrono le prime pagine, ci si accorge che si è davanti ad un romanzo che cattura, sconvolge emotivamente e ti mette nella condizione di non riu
Sarah Price
Oct 01, 2012 Sarah Price rated it liked it
I started reading this in the bookstore and bought it, because it started well and I liked the premise, and I was looking for a novel to get lost in. It has nice moments and does continue to be engaging throughout, but there are problems with it, that often took me out of the story.

The author tends to be very repetitive with certain descriptions - the lead character, Hope, always seems to be murmuring or looking down when she speaks - and she is such a negative person that I do wonder why so man
Tempo de Ler
Sep 16, 2014 Tempo de Ler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A avó [Rose], que sofre de Alzheimer, tem dificuldades em lembrar-se dela; a mãe faleceu de cancro; nunca conheceu o seu pai; o marido [Rob], por quem abdicou da carreira de advocacia, decidiu-se pelo lugar-comum e traiu-a com uma rapariga mais nova; a filha adolescente [Annie], revoltada com o divórcio dos pais, passa a vida a desafiar a sua autoridade; viu-se obrigada a regressar à sua terra e tomar conta da pastelaria, o negócio de família que por acaso até está atolado em dívidas e agora, co ...more
Cristi Marashi
Jul 10, 2012 Cristi Marashi rated it it was amazing
This was a refreshing story in so many ways. It was filled with things I am interested in- The Holocaust, baking, getting to know characters not only in the present, but also in the past. This was a novel I couldn't put down. I wanted to know what Hope was going to find out about Mamie's life. I felt sorrow for both when reading about the terrible things each had endured in her life. It was especially interesting to me learning of Mamie's woes and how the tragedies that befell her when she was y ...more
Virginia Myers
Jan 01, 2013 Virginia Myers rated it liked it

I do not find it easy to rate this book. I liked it but I was not wowed. I think the main problem from making me feel better about giving it a higher score was the main character - named Hope. She irritated me and I was not anxious to keep reading about her.

I did read the whole book because my desire to discover how it would end outweighed the fact that Hope was so think-headed.

I thought the plot was fascinating. Also, I enjoyed the historical aspect of the book. I was unaware of the help give
Donna Bossin
Dec 19, 2013 Donna Bossin rated it it was ok
I give this book 2.5 stars. It was a good read but...
1. The plot was highly unlikely
2. The character development left much to be desired. For example, why was Hope's mother so emotionally cold... I guess one could extrapolate the reason from her life story but it wasn't developed, and of course this character was conveniently dead throughout the book so the author didn't really have to deal with it.
3. From a literary point of view it was not well written. Prose was dull and commonplace.

The unrav
Dec 03, 2014 Brittnee rated it really liked it
Wow, this book was so GOOD!!!!!!! I loved Hope's character and her journey with finding out who she is. It was tragic and sad yet hopeful for the future. I sympathized with most of the characters and their choices (except for Rob and Matt). Loved loved loved Gavin and Annie too. Annie was a teenage turd at times but I understood why she was acting that way. This book will make you cry your eyes out but it's worth every tear!
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Kristin Harmel is an international bestselling novelist whose books have been translated into numerous languages and are sold all over the world. After spending many years as a journalist (including more than a decade writing and reporting for People magazine) Kristin now freelances only occasionally, focusing on book tours, book club visits and, of course, writing her next books! THE SWEETNESS OF ...more
More about Kristin Harmel...

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“Life doesn't work out the way we plan, but maybe it works out the way it's supposed to after all.” 20 likes
“Some days I wake up and think, How did I get here? It's like one day, you just realize you're not young anymore, and you already made your choices, and now it's too late to change anything.” 13 likes
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