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The Sweetness of Forgetting

(The Sweetness of Forgetting)

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  12,439 ratings  ·  1,570 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, 353 pages
Published August 7th 2012 by Gallery Books
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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)

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Average rating 4.10  · 
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 ·  12,439 ratings  ·  1,570 reviews

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Chelsey Wolford
Sep 11, 2012 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
Dana Moison
Dec 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I just knew I’m going to love this book. Maybe that’s why I postponed this moment every time, looking for the perfect timing to start reading it. Months had passed, and still I couldn’t find the right timing, so I kept waiting. I wanted to let the fantasy in my mind the best conditions so that reality could meet what was in my imagination. But eventually my timing wasn’t so right – work, some writing projects, and a deadline for submitting my thesis were just a few of the things that occupied my ...more
Nov 16, 2012 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
Dale Harcombe
Dec 15, 2013 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
Dec 02, 2012 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
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
Leslie Lehr
May 09, 2012 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
Elyse  Walters
Sep 18, 2012 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
Oct 23, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ipad, chick-lit
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
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
Donna Bossin
Dec 19, 2013 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
Oct 03, 2016 rated it it was ok
Two stars is really generous for this book.

If I were an editor hearing the pitch for this book, I would absolutely love it. The plot sounds intriguing: several generations of women with family secrets that date back to the Holocaust. However, on paper, it just does not work. The characters are stereotypes, and the dialogue is repetitive and not true to life. The most bothersome to me was the relationship between the main character and her teenage daughter. The daughter's overuse of words such a
Aug 07, 2012 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
Margie Senechal
Aug 19, 2012 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 chapters.
Jul 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing

Very charming, sweet , and a bit heartbreaking. Recommend.
Nov 29, 2014 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
Jen Murray
Aug 05, 2012 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).
Sue Seligman
Jun 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow! I am not sure how I missed this early book by Kristin Harmel but this is the third book I have read of hers and I was just blown away by this one! The setting is Cape Cod (I’ve now read three books in a row set on Cape Cod🤣), but it is a dual timeline historical fiction instead of contemporary fiction. Hope is recently divorced from her husband who had been cheating on her with a twenty two year old, her mother has died of breast cancer, and she is trying to raise her twelve year old daught ...more
Sarah Price
Oct 01, 2012 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
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
Jul 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I just loved this book. Perhaps it's not perfect, but for me this was a fantastic read. ...more
Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Original review can be found at

I listened to this book in audio format after my sister and co-blogger recommended it to me. Kristin Harmel is not a new author to me. I read The Room on Rue Amelie last year and loved it.

Hope was a single mother who lost her own mother and her husband and was also about to lose the bakery that had been in her family for decades. On top of all that, she was slowly losing her grandmother to Alzheimer's disease. On a visit to
Carol (Reading Ladies)
Easy reading (no language or violence) family-centered story, light histfic, engaging and bittersweet plot but mostly predictable, some stereotypical characters. It was an ok read about an important subject.

For all my reviews visit my blog:
Lloyd Russell
Apr 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It's been a year and a half since I last gave a book a 4.0+. It was Rachael Herron's Splinters of Light. And before that it was July of 2015 when I gave my first 4.0+. That one was Goodnight June, by Sarah Jio. I've also got 12-4.5s and 13-4.25s (the link is on the bottom of this post, in case you want/care to see those). Well, I've got another 4.0+, which now makes a total of 28 all-time favorites. This one shouldn't be a big surprise because I've just read 2 other books by this author, and the ...more
Cristi Marashi
Jul 10, 2012 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 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
Dec 03, 2014 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! ...more
Apr 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
If you like historical fiction regarding the Holocaust, you must read this one. My favorite read of 2014 so far. I got it for my birthday a year ago and can't believe I waited so long to read it. I learned about yet another aspect of this time in history that I didn't even know existed. If I say more I'll give away surprises. You'll just have to read it yourself! ...more
Dec 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
I liked this book even though I pretty much cried through the whole thing. The author's words and imagery were so good that it made the book even more sad. I liked how the bakery and pastries were such a big part of the characters' stories and history. I will definitely be making a few of the recipes for book club! ...more
Stephanie Wood
Aug 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a beautiful tale which tackles several difficult themes with compassion and bittersweet exploration. A well-written story which shows how love can overcome loss.
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Kristin Harmel is the New York Times bestselling and #1 international bestselling author of THE BOOK OF LOST NAMES, THE WINEMAKER'S WIFE, and a dozen other novels that have been translated into numerous languages and sold all over the world.

A former reporter for PEOPLE magazine, Kristin has been writing professionally since the age of 16, when she began her career as a sportswriter, covering Major

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