Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Review: The Sweetness of Forgetting by Kristin Harmel

As I write this review, I find myself overwhelmed in how to describe "The Sweetness in Forgetting" by Kristin Harmel.  It is such an amazing read and there are so many aspects of the story that I want to share, that I feel entirely incapable of doing it justice.

The book cover and the synopsis, give you the feeling that this is a just another story of a divorced single mother going through "stuff " and, would not have ever been a book I would be interested in if not recommended by author, Sarah Jio.  In this case, please don't judge a book by it's cover, although it is beautiful, it is not a good representation of the novel. 

This is a love story but one of great magnitude and on so many levels...For your fellow man, mother for a child, between man and a woman, for traditions, for family, for your hometown, for the legacies left to you by generations previous and for your faith.

It is a story of overcoming the odds and yet losing yourself in the past.  It is a story of horrific tragedy and one of sweet saving grace. 

Words cannot describe impact this book had on me.  I learned so much and it gave me a great many things to really reflect upon....all the makings for a great novel.

SYNOPSIS by Barnes & Noble
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-two year old, and her bank account is nearly depleted. Her own dreams of becoming a lawyer long gone, she’s running a failing family bakery on Cape Cod and raising a troubled preteen.
Now, Hope’s beloved French-born grandmother Mamie, who wowed the Cape with her fabulous pastries for more than fifty years, is drifting away into a haze of Alzheimer’s. But in a rare moment of clarity, Mamie realizes that unless she tells Hope about the past, the secrets she has held on to for so many years will soon be lost forever. Tantalizingly, she reveals mysterious snippets of a tragic history in Paris. And then, arming her with a scrawled list of names, she sends Hope to France to uncover a seventy-year-old mystery.
Hope’s emotional journey takes her through the bakeries of Paris and three religious traditions, all guided by Mamie’s fairy tales and the sweet tastes of home. As Hope pieces together her family’s history, she finds horrific Holocaust stories mixed with powerful testimonies of her family’s will to survive in a world gone mad. And to reunite two lovers torn apart by terror, all she’ll need is a dash of courage, and the belief that God exists everywhere, even in cake. . . .

Things I Learned...
Of the 76,000 Jews taken in France, during the Holocaust, only 2000 survived.

Nearly 11,000 children from France died in the Shoah (Holocaust).  Most children were taken to the gas chamber immediately because the Germans considered them useless.

Muslims as well as Christians smuggled Jews out of Paris.

There was an underground movement in France against the Nazi's.

Besa - A duty to help, a duty to God and her fellow man.  Besa = honor.  It is not to be repaid but passed on.

On the rails of Louvre pedestrian bridge, there are padlocks, put there by lovers to declare the sealing of their relationships.

The Eiffel Tower was a collection site.

Favorite Quotes...
"Amazing would be to live in a world where there is no need to make lists of the dead."

"For when you take away an entire family and they all perish, who will tell their stories?"

"Can a relationship really survive if there are lies wrapped around its roots?"

"There is a sign at Auschwitz that says, "Work makes you free."  But the truth was that only death makes you free."

" I was standing in the park...when the first plane hit the World Trade Center.  It was the second time in my life I'd watched the world fall down before my eyes."

"When God joined us together, He made us two halves of the same whole."

"I know now that the prince is real, and that the people who love you the most can save you, and that fate might have a bigger plan for all of us then we understand.  I know now that fairy tales can come true after all, if only you have the courage to keep believing."

" all in the perception."

"We in heaven?...No my love we are in Cape Cod."

"I lived because I always believed I would see you again."

"You can only look forward in life.  You can change the future but not the past."

"Love is so much more powerful than you realize.  For it is only by loving and having the courage to be loved in return, that you can find God."

"I wish you a life happily ever after, just like in the fairy tales."

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