This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Reviewed by Lisa Spoors
Let me start this review by saying that I am absolutely not one for crying at sad films, moving news features or X Factor sob stories. It really does take a LOT to get to me. But this book did. And I absolutely loved it.
The Sweetness of Forgetting is the story of Hope, who lives in picturesque Cape Cod in Boston, USA, with her daughter Annie. Hope runs a popular local bakery which has been in her family for generations. It’s not the career she would have chosen; Hope found herself taking over the bakery following the death of her mother and the gradual decline of her grandmother’s health. We learn at the beginning of the book that the bakery is in deep financial trouble, which makes Hope feel like a failure. Add to this a sullen eleven year old daughter who blames her mother for her parents’ divorce, along with a difficult relationship with her ex-husband, and Hope is really struggling to cope with the pressures of life.
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Alongside this, Hope’s beloved grandmother Rose’s Alzheimer’s is getting worse, and Hope doesn’t visit her Mamie, as she calls her, in her care home as much as she’d like. When Hope discovers that her daughter has been visiting Rose alone, Hope decides to spend more time with her Mamie before it’s too late. It’s on one of these visits that Rose gives Hope a list of names, and asks her to take a trip to Paris to find out what happened to the people on the list.
Encouraged by Annie, Hope sets about finding all she can on these people, and their connection to Rose. Her journey takes her, as Rose requested, to Paris, and later, New York. What she learns along the way is surprising, heartbreakingly sad and, in parts, amazingly uplifting.
Some of the chapters are from the perspective of Rose, and it’s through these that we learn about her past and the family secrets she has held close for so long.
Hope as a character is incredibly likeable. She is juggling work and family life, whilst wondering if she will ever find ‘true love’. Throughout the book I found myself hoping that she would have her own happy ending – and I won’t spoil anything by telling you if she did or not!
This is a wonderful tale of family, heritage, religion and love, and, although the way I’ve described it might make it sound depressing, it’s anything but. I thought that the ending was absolutely perfect, and I finished the book with a smile. The book also contains recipes from Hope’s bakery, which have been passed down through her family, and all sound delicious.
Curl up on the sofa with tea and cake and devour this book – you will love it.