The Sweetness Of Forgetting – Kristin Harmel

Back over the Atlantic for a fabulous modern American frothy read with a few historic aspects. Recently divorced Hope is struggling; her pre-teen daughter Annie hates her, her family bakery is in dire financial straights, and her beloved grandmother Rose is succumbing to alzheimers. On a rare lucid day Rose writes a list of names and sets Hope a task- go to Paris and find out what happened to the rest of Rose’s family when she escaped her native city in world war two at the age of 17. Hope could never have imagined the amazing details she uncovers, facts that have her questioning who she is, where she comes from and whether she believes in love. Hope is assisted on her quest by her daughter and her friend Gavin- who’d clearly like to be more than just a friend- but when Rose takes a turn for the worse they all have to hurry to put the pieces of the puzzle together before it’s too late.

Kooks for your Kindle?– The supporting characters here are not of the kooky variety, but are certainly memorable. Hope’s insensitive ex-husband has a thing or two to learn about parenting, and her high-school ex is sniffing around trying to use his position at the bank to wheedle himself into her affections. Gavin is a gem, although Hope thinks he is too young for her (he’s 29, she’s 36), his job as handy-man hides other talents and his ideas are invaluable to Hope’s quest. The characters Hope meets along the way are beautiful people; kind, full of wisdom and priceless memories. To say more would give away parts of the tale. Annie is as prickly as you might imagine a 12 year old to be having gone through her parents’ divorce, but things change as she learns more of her family history.

The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– Hope is slightly defeatist in her attitude to saving the bakery, but then she did always imagine herself as an attorney. But her attitude to love is the main focus, whether there is such thing as a Great Love, and The One. Her future begins to hinge on whether she can prove it exists. Hope’s upbringing and her marriage have beaten her down on this subject, so it takes a lot to change her mind!

Painting a Picture for your Paperback?– The setting is Cape Cod, Massachusetts, busy in the summers, but quiet, cold and windy out of season. New England feels like part of the story- but not as much as the baking! Many delights are created at the bakery, originally established by Rose, and the food becomes a part of the investigation giving vital clues to what happened in Paris. There are a few flashback chapters to Paris, not too many, just enough to get a feel for the tragedies that happened there in the war.

Evaluation of your eBook?– This is a definite 5-cocktail rated read as far as I’m concerned, amazingly plotted with well paced twists and turns, and characters that you’ll care about immediately. I had my usual dilemma of which level of frothiness to use to classify it (it didn’t seem as frothy as the cover), it’s as readable as absolute froth, but the substance won out! It has the feel of a Jojo Moyes, and a few themes in common with The Girl You Left Behind but this is possibly a little easier to read. It’s clear that an enormous amount of research has gone into this work, and it’s so fulfilling to come away from a book and realise that you’ve accidentally learned something while being entertained. The main theme of love is thoughtfully explored, and it says a lot for this book that it made me cry- doesn’t happen often! If you like modern fiction with a good mystery, a bit of history and a hint of romance then this is one for you, I certainly couldn’t put it down.

Frothy Ranking: 5/5 cocktails.

Can be obtained from:

UK: Amazon for £1.39 at the moment.

US: Sometimes on Amazon, price fluctuates.