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The Sweetness

3.72  ·  Rating Details ·  650 Ratings  ·  126 Reviews
A Foreward Reviews Indie Fab 2014 Finalist for Book of the Year "
"A. L. A. Sophie Brody Award 2014 nominee"
Early in "The Sweetness," an inquisitive young girl asks her grandmother why she is carrying nothing but a jug of sliced lemons and water when they are forced by the Germans to evacuate their ghetto. "Something sour to remind me of the sweetness," she tells her, s
Paperback, 307 pages
Published September 23rd 2014 by She Writes Press
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Barbara Stark-Nemon Sande, our books have similar origins in our explorations of the impact of the war and the Holocaust on successive generations to the victims and…moreSande, our books have similar origins in our explorations of the impact of the war and the Holocaust on successive generations to the victims and survivors, and also in the unexpected humanity of everyday non-Jewish friends and neighbors who put themselves at such life and death risk to aid and save. Do check out Even in Darkness and learn more about its background at And brava on Sweetness! I absolutely loved it.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Sue Seligman
Sep 09, 2014 Sue Seligman rated it it was amazing
This is an interesting Holocaust novel. The protagonists are two young girls. Mira is nineteen years old, the only daughter of Charles Kane who owns a clothing factory with his brother and two sisters, all of whom had emigrated from Russia years ago. When the story opens Mira is attending a school for fashion design with her best friend Faye, and loving her close knit, well to do family who all live together in Brooklyn. Across the ocean in Vilna, Russia, eight year old Rosha lives with her ...more
Barb Klein
Jul 04, 2014 Barb Klein rated it really liked it
“The Sweetness”, a novel by Sande Boritz Berger kept me interested until the end. The story starts in Vilna, Poland in 1941 as the Polish Jews are being herded into the woods to their death by the invading Nazis. The Kaninski’s are a family of mother, father, daughter and grandmother. The father sneaks his daughter away during the death march and places her in the arms of a Polish Catholic woman whom they knew. He saved her life. Marta and her family hide Rosha throughout the war, keeping her ...more
Aug 06, 2014 Elyse rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
This is an enduring first novel. Its told with empathy and bittersweet humor.

Exquisite storytelling.

The year 1941. We've two young girls with very different lifestyles & concerns in this Historical Fiction.

Rosha is a Polish Jew living in Poland. She has concerns with survival-- for herself and her family. She dreams of her family coming out alive!

Mira living in New York City, has concerns with getting her degree from her Fashion Design School. She also dreams of getting married.

The weavin
Nov 02, 2014 Sharon rated it liked it
Actual rating: 2.75

Upto approx 50% I'd have given 4 stars. Now it's degenerated into a cross between Mills & Boon with a touch of 50 Shades... However I can't be too sure as I've not read 50 Shades.

I was so enchanted by the first half of this novel which centres around the privileged lifestyles of Mira, her aunt Jeanette, and family in Brooklyn. A bittersweet tale with its stark contrasts between Mira's world and her 8 year old cousin Rosha's traumatic world of loss, despair and death in Vil
Agnes (BeaderBubbe)
Jan 19, 2015 Agnes (BeaderBubbe) rated it it was amazing
Heartwarming and poignant. A story of struggle, pain and family. Through trials of physical and mental pain. Survival of family. Set during WW2 a story of cousins one in America the other in Europe. One pursuing her dreams of being a designer. The other just trying to survive by living with a Polish family who are protecting her. Both their experiences traumatic but everyone needs a jug of lemons and water...."something sour to remind you of the sweetness". Great story.
Leslie  (Basesloaded32)
I really liked the first 3/4 of this. It was a story that followed two relatives from different walks of life. (I won't get into the details since it has a summary already)

But during the last 1/4 of the book it just seemed like a different author took over and tried something new. Something just seemed off and I wish I could put my finger on it.

I can't say the book was bad; I did like it. It had a lot of potential but that last 1/4 needs some work.
Apr 17, 2015 Debbie rated it liked it
Another book that started off promising and got predictable/not believable towrads the end. Not sure why authors have a need to write books that are 300 pages when 250 will do? Shorter is sometimes better.
Lena Cox
Feb 11, 2015 Lena Cox rated it really liked it
Shelves: debut-novels
I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

In the debut novel, The Sweetness, author Sande Boritz Berger illustrates how the world can go to shambles yet hope remain strong. Two parallel story lines evolve in the novel. Roshe Kaninsky stars in one and Mira Kane, Roshe’s American cousin, owns the other. The time period is World War II. And while Roshe hides from the Nazis in the basement of a courageous family for the duration of the war, across the Atlantic, her cousin M
Bev Walkling
This book was beautiful and definitely left me wanting more. It reminded me a little of Ken Follett's books especially World Without End. Like that book,The Sweetness is epic in nature telling the story of members of one family on different sides of the world during the Second World War.

Eight year old Rosha lives in Vilna which was considered part of Lithuania at the time.The setting is just after Germany has broken its pact with Russia and persecution of the Jews has escalated, though Rosha has
Maria Beltrami
Aug 09, 2016 Maria Beltrami rated it liked it
Due storie intrecciate, quella di Mira e quella della cugina Rosha, la prima che cresce in America, la seconda rimasta, con la sua famiglia nell'Europa inghiottita dal nazismo.
L'idea è decisamente buona, ma il romanzo lascia lo stesso un po' troppo a desiderare, sbilanciato com'è verso la parte "americana".
E' chiaro che è molto più facile descrivere la vita agiata di Mira, nonostante il padre sia abbastanza dispotico e la famiglia allargata piuttosto invadente, piuttosto che quella di Rosha, che
Aug 13, 2014 Maggie rated it really liked it
This is another novel to add to your Holocaust collections for young adults. What makes this one unique is that there are two stories, one set in the United States and one set in Vilna where the Nazis are rounding up the Jewish population. Mira Kane is eighteen and a talented, aspiring clothing designer living in New York city. Mira's family owns a knitwear company and has been able to keep the business going in spite of the war. MIra's uncle and two aunts live with them and work in the family ...more
Sep 19, 2015 Cindy rated it really liked it
Thank you NetGalley for gifting me with an Advanced Readers Copy of The Sweetness by Sande Boritz Berge. In exchange I am providing my honest opinion.

Over the years I have read many Holocaust books. Each is horrific and painful to absorb. What I enjoyed and appreciated most about The Sweetness, was indeed what the title reads. This novel does not necessarily focus on the pain and terror of the Holocaust, but rather on the strength and love of family and strangers.

Two cousins are living parallel
The Baking Bookworm
Disclaimer: My sincere thanks to She Writes Press and NetGalley for providing me with a complimentary e-book copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

My Review: Historical fiction is one of my favourite genres, specifically books dealing with the Holocaust. Told using two narratives The Sweetness follows the lives of two cousins during WWII: Rosha, an eight year old girl from the Lithuanian city of Vilnius and her teenage cousin Mira who is an upper middle class teenager living a very
Carole Roman
Apr 23, 2015 Carole Roman rated it it was amazing
Sande Boritz Berger debut book is a representation of life in both America and war-ravaged Europe during World War II. Rosha Kaninsky is the beloved child of her doting parents, who live Vilna. Protected and coddled, her parents and grandmother shield her from the gathering storm raging outside their door. The Nazi's have invaded, wreaking chaos with everyday life, and her loving parents are forced to make heart-wrenching decisions to save their only child's life.
On the other side of the world,
Barbara Stark-Nemon
Sande Bortiz Berger’s The Sweetness offers the delicious opportunity for the reader, already satisfied with this complex and poignant family story that crosses oceans and time and war, to wonder how much of the tale is true. Berger hints in her acknowledgments that The Sweetness is based on her own family, but good historical fiction seamlessly marries factual and created elements in the service of an immediate and gripping story, and Berger has certainly accomplished that. Following the lives ...more
Maybe it’s my need to make sense out of man’s inhumanity to man that keeps drawing me back to novels about the World War II era, and it’s probably much more complicated than that. The child on the book cover for Sande Boritz Berger’s The Sweetness drew me in. When I read the publisher’s description, I realized this may be a historical novel but its thread is still very relevant today. It’s about trying to make sense of senseless things that happen in life. It’s also not just about those who ...more
Sep 18, 2014 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
The Sweetness by Sande Boritz Berger is a novel set during the time of World War II. It covers a parallel tale of two Jewish girls, cousins, living on separate continents, Mira in Brooklyn and Rosha from the Vilna Ghetto of Poland. This is an inspirational story of a Jewish family’s strength and resilience, people who faced their challenges head-on during one of the darkest times in world history. Especially the story of Rosha, a character who faced so many hardships, it seemed all she had to ...more
Michelle Cox
Aug 20, 2015 Michelle Cox rated it it was amazing
The Sweetness is a rich story, both in characters and setting, that stayed with me for several days after reading the last page. I enjoyed getting lost in this WWII tale, told from characters on both sides of the Atlantic. The period detail was evocative and real. I loved the interweaving of the two threads of the Kane/Kaminsky family, beautifully symbolized by the family business of clothing/knitware. Fantastic! I looked forward to getting back to the book each night at the end of a long day, ...more
Debra Pawlak
Aug 04, 2015 Debra Pawlak rated it it was amazing
During a tumultuous time, in a world gone wrong, a young girl is forced into hiding while her American relatives mourn her death. Sande Boritz Berger weaves an emotional story about the Holocaust and a Jewish family living in New York during World War ll. Berger reminds us all of the senseless deaths and the lasting effects endured by those who survived. A sensitive, touching story that is very well told. Looking forward to Berger's next book.
Sep 04, 2014 Jane rated it liked it
In a sense, this book is fictionalized "Holocaust lite". The reader sees events in Europe through the eyes of a young girl whose family is caught in the horrors there. And, we follow her American cousin. While this book was by no means boring or poorly written, readers of many books on the topic will not find new insights, nor were the characters unique.

Thanks, NetGalley, for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
Jan 07, 2015 Barb rated it it was amazing
This book is about WWII. A family in America and their family in Europe. Rosha is 8 years old in Europe with her parents when the Nazis are coming to their ghetto soon and the brother and family in America who are rich and worried about his brother. Loved it especially because it brought back food memories and ways of my family.
Sara Steger
Dec 12, 2015 Sara Steger rated it liked it
Shelves: world-war-2
A nice contrast between the life of one cousin caught in the horrors of WWII Europe and one cousin suffering the normal trials of life in America. There are several other stories threading through the novel, but all of them tie together well.
Nothing extraordinary about the plot line or the characters themselves, but nicely done and a quick, fun read.
Pam Warner
Aug 08, 2015 Pam Warner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would have given this book 4 1/2 if I could. It was very enjoyable but not heavy as I had expected.
Jan 20, 2015 Nancy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-war-ii
There were parts I liked, and other parts were disappointing. I would have liked to have seen more development in the story about the child, who survived the war. The book ended so suddenly.
Jan 22, 2015 Amanda rated it really liked it
I love WWII era books. I liked the way it told from two perspectives. I was sobbing (happily) at the end. Worth the read.
Ian Wood
Aug 16, 2014 Ian Wood rated it did not like it
This is the complete review as it appears at my blog dedicated to reading, writing (no 'rithmatic!), movies, & TV. Blog reviews often contain links which are not reproduced here, nor will updates or modifications to the blog review be replicated here. Graphic and children's novels reviewed on the blog will generally have some images from the book's interior, which are not reproduced here.

Note that I don't really do stars. To me a novel is either worth reading or it isn't. I can't rate a nove
Nov 19, 2016 Claudia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
War Changed Everything

The history of WW11 is fascinating to me because my parents lived through that time. It was a time of killing, hiding, hurting, and also great courage. I see all those things here, and more. Terror comes alive along with bravery and truly honorable people. I pray that those who suffered will be doubly blessed in Heaven by God.
Nov 26, 2016 Susan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

I read this book pretty quickly, anticipating that there was going to be some twist or something revealed that I wasn't expecting. But there was none. It wasn't a bad book, but I wouldn't recommend it. I like reading historical fiction but it felt like something was going to happen and never did.
Pauline J
Nov 06, 2016 Pauline J rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting read!

This book was bitter-sweet from start to finish!! It was so sad to once again see how badly the Jewish people were treated. It did my heart good to see how close the families were together, gathering strength from one another. My thanks to this Author!
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“Pain has an element of blank, It cannot recollect When it began, if there were A day when it was not. It has no future but itself, Its infinite realms contain Its past, enlightened to perceive New periods of pain.” 0 likes
“True, true, mein kind, but only by tasting lemons are you sure to remember sweetness.” 0 likes
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