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The Life Intended Paperback – December 30, 2014
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“ An absorbing read…well-paced and warmhearted.” (Kirkus Reviews)
"The latest from Harmel...is an affecting tale about finding happiness amid grief and guilt. Some twists are telegraphed early in the novel, but that doesn’t diminish the satisfying conclusion." (Booklist)
"Harmel manages to deliver an immersive and evocative tale of generations struggling to survive. Recipes sprinkled throughout the book allow readers to experience firsthand the sweetness of Hope's journey." (Publishers Weekly on THE SWEETNESS OF FORGETTING)
"THE SWEETNESS OF FORGETTING is absolutely enthralling and full of twists and turns that add to the drama and keeps the tale moving along. Author Kristin Harmel does a magnificent job of telling this saga of one family's search for understanding. She also handles her approach to Alzheimer's disease with gentleness and understanding. Readers will remember THE SWEETNESS OF FORGETTING long after the final page is turned." (Fresh Fiction)
"Kristin Harmel's novels are written with a lot of heart and soul. She has a way of bringing the reader into her stories in such a powerful way that they can often forget they're reading at all. The Sweetness of Forgetting may just be Harmel's best book yet." (Lisa Steinke SheKnows Book Lounge)
"The kind of book that stays with you … Incredibly moving moments serve as beautiful relief [to the darker subplot]. The ending will no doubt bring tears to your eyes." (Romantic Times on THE SWEETNESS OF FORGETTING)
“Kristin Harmel writes with such insight and heart that her characters will stay with you long after you’ve finished her books.”
—New York Times bestselling author Emily Giffin
“Kristin Harmel...[is] one of my favorite authors!”
–Melissa Senate, bestselling author of The Love Goddess’ Cooking School
"The Sweetness of Forgetting pulls together in the end like a warm embrace" (The Modern Manuscript on THE SWEETNESS OF FORGETTING)
About the Author
Kristin Harmel is the international bestselling author of The Sweetness of Forgetting, The Life Intended, and When We Meet Again, along with several other novels. Her work has been featured in People, Woman’s Day, Men’s Health, Runner’s World, and Ladies’ Home Journal, among many other media outlets. She lives in Orlando, Florida.
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Top Customer Reviews
Have you ever had a dream so vivid that, for a little while, you weren’t sure if maybe it was reality? Where you were aware it was a dream but it felt like the most real thing in the world? And maybe sometimes, you chose to stay there just a little bit longer instead of waking up?
If you’ve ever experienced that, then this synopsis should intrigue you…
After her beloved husband Patrick’s sudden death over ten years ago, Kate never expected to find love again. But now she’s planning her second walk down the aisle. So why isn’t she more excited? … When she starts seeing her late husband in her dreams, she begins to wonder if he’s trying to tell her something? Attempting to navigate between dreams and reality, she must uncover her husband’s hidden message. Her quest leads her to a sign language class and into the New York City foster system, where she finds rewards greater than she could have imagined.
That immediately intrigued me so I tried the first few pages of the book and was HOOKED. Instantly drawn into the story. The more I read, the more invested I became. And when she had the first dream, I got chills!!!! — Holy freaking wow — IT. FELT. REAL. I literally had goosebumps from head to toe, my eyes were filled with tears, and I was just overflowing with these intense FEELINGS for this story.
Just like Kate, my mind was spinning with questions and theories. What was going on in her dreams? How were they possible? How could they be happening? What was Patrick trying to tell her? Was it really him? Was it just her subconscious desperately clinging to the memory of the only man who she’d ever truly given her heart to? Was it just pre-wedding nerves? Was there a greater purpose to it all?
What was happening?!
I really felt Patrick’s loss so strongly even though it happened in the first chapter and then we moved forward a decade to the present day. They’d had the kind of epic love that didn’t let go no matter how much time had passed and even though they both were not still living. Regardless of that reality, Kate did have to go on with her life but sadly it left her feeling empty. Her soul mate had been stolen away and she was left feeling like she was settling for a life she wasn’t intended for. Twelve years later and, even though she rationally knew she had to move on, it was a pain that would never truly heal.
So when she saw Patrick again in her dreams, she found herself torn — that life she felt she was intended to live had been ripped away from her. She was very aware that her dreams of Patrick were not reality — and that was made very clear in the story — but between her dreams and reality, the dream life she caught only glimpses of was the life she wished she was living, the life she felt she was supposed to have lived.
I have to you… with each dream scene, I had the same reaction. It was just instant.
My most favorite books are the ones that can produce (even once!!!) the level of emotion that this book pulled out of me over and over again. I was absolutely blown away by the writing. I think it takes incredible talent to make a reader feel that depth of emotion without directly using a tragedy to trigger it. So basically, even just in the middle of the story, a random scene could make tears cascade down my face only because I felt that deeply connected to the story. The emotions were literally just a direct result of the incredible reading experience itself. It is such a special talent to be able to create that.
There’s a point in the story (maybe around the 70%-ish mark) where you might feel it gets a little bit slow, but just trust in the story. It’s part of the journey. I’ll admit that with as epic a build-up as this book had, I did honestly worry a little that the ending might not be able to deliver. But THIS ONE DELIVERED. Holy wow, did it ever deliver everything I could have hoped for and more. I was beyond impressed with how POWERFUL it turned out to be. Everything that happened in the entire story — and I really, truly mean e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g — happened for a reason. Everything she went through led her to the ending which I honestly did not see coming but loved SO much that at one point, I just stopped reading and sat there SOBBING my heart out. The tears wouldn’t stop. It was pure UGLY CRYING. Such a BEAUTIFUL story. Gah, I just teared up now thinking back to it. It was one of the most impactful endings I’ve read.
And I want to reassure you again: it is uplifting, not tragic. I promise.
I feel like I didn’t just read this book, I lived it along with Kate. Shock, happiness, confusion, elation, hope, despair, understanding, joy… I felt everything. Honestly, right now, I just want to go read it again!
While this is not specifically a romance, if I had to pick ONE word to tell you what this story was about, that word would be LOVE. Because Patrick literally dies in the first chapter of the book, it’s clearly not set up to be a “traditional romance” but I promise you, there is a love story, a VERY strong one, that is the central component. I don’t know how to explain it further without totally giving it away. The love they have is just EPIC and it is the core driving factor behind the story even though it’s not “specifically” a romance. As a hard-core romance reader myself, I’d say this is a book I loved beyond words.
And… for the love of all movie gods, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let this book get a movie deal. It would honestly make an absolutely amazing film. I could picture the whole story unfolding before my eyes as I read. It had this rich, vivid quality to it and a story I know would translate wonderfully to the big screen.
This is one of the very best books I’ve ever read in my whole life, and one of the most profoundly beautiful stories I’ve ever experienced. It’s the kind of powerful, captivating story you read even once and then never forget. I recommend it for everyone. And, for the first time this year, I’m rating a book 6 STARS!!
Is the dream sequence part of the story believable? Probably not but I think we all want to somehow be able to see and talk to our departed loved ones. Some people swear up and down that their loved ones send them messages so who are we to question this?
This book brought out all kinds of emotions. I couldn't help but put myself into Kate's shoes and ask how would I would feel if I lost the love of my life. Would I want to be able to see them again if only in my dreams? You betcha I would.
I was disappointed in the way some of Kate's family treated her though. There is no time line for grief and no one has the right to tell you when you need to let go. Dan was a douche and not the right guy for her.
I loved this book and highly recommend it. If you're the type of person that doesn't necessarily like books about "ghosts" and messages from the beyond, then this probably isn't the book for you. If you're into books about a love that transcends beyond the living, then definitely pick this one up. Just a warning though, you might want to have some tissues nearby.