- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Gallery Books; Original edition (August 7, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1451644299
- ISBN-13: 978-1451644296
This book is also available in e-book form.
Publication Date: August 7, 2012
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. . . .
My take on this book:Thirty-six year old Hope McKenna-Smith has plenty on her plate, and it often seems if bad luck is the only luck she has. Her husband has left her for a younger woman, which leaves her to deal with her daughter Annie's attitude. She is trying to run the family bakery, which is failing fast, added to that is the fact she lost her mother to cancer, and now her beloved grandmother Rose's mind comes and goes, because of the effects of Alzheimer's. Thing is there is a story that Rose decides to divulge to Hope about her time in Paris, about the friends and family she lost. As Hope embarks on a journey to France, to search out truth, she learns a few valuable lessons along the way.
A smoothly written story that easily transitioned between past and present to make this an engrossing read. I found myself immediately drawn into the story of this family, and enjoyed the historical aspects of the story and found myself heartbroken as the past was revealed. The story blends together, a family mystery, drama,divorce, and a historical flavor that really made me feel as if I was learning about the time period. Overall the main character of Hope wasn't my favorite, but the plot of the story over rode any dislike I had for her. An added bonus for me was the fact that the author peppered a few recipes through out the story. I think this book would make a perfect group read because of the subjects the book touches on. This is the first book that I have read by Kristin Harmel, but it certainly won't be my last.
A complimentary copy of this book was provided in exchange for an honest review.