Jaffareadstoo is delighted to be hosting today's penultimate stop on the
Sweet Breath of Memory Blog Tour
Published by Kensington Publishing June 2016
A little bit of blurb...
With its tree-lined streets, vibrant downtown and curbside planters of spring bulbs, Amberley, Massachusetts, seems a good place for Cate Saunders to start over. It's been two years since her husband, John, was killed in Iraq and life has been a struggle. Her new job as a caregiver doesn't pay much, but the locals are welcoming. In fact, Cate has barely unpacked before she's drawn--reluctantly at first--into a circle of friends.
There's diner-owner Gaby, who nourishes her customers' spirits as well as their bodies; feisty Beatrice, who kept the town going when its men marched off to WWII; wise-cracking MaryLou, as formidable as Fort Knox but with the same heart of gold; and, Sheila, whose Italian grocery is the soul of the place. As Amberley reveals itself to be a town shaped by war, Cate encounters another kindred spirit--a Holocaust survivor with whom she feels a deep connection. When revelations about John's death threaten Cate's newfound peace of mind, these sisters-in-arms' stories show her an unexpected way forward. And Cate comes to understand that although we suffer loss alone, we heal by sharing our most treasured memories.
What a treat it's been to spend the last few days in the fictional Massachusetts town of Amberley and to get to know a group of ladies who I would dearly love to call my friends. The warm and supportive nature of their friendship oozes with every word that this talented debut author shares with her readers.
From the very start of the novel I was drawn into the story of Cate, a war widow, who has troubles aplenty, but who is not used to sharing her feelings, that is, until she steps into Gaby's diner and gets enveloped by a group of women who are determined to unlock Cate's secrets. Taking a menial role as a care giver doesn't give Cate much in the way of income but what it does, is introduce her to people, who in the largest scheme of things, offer her a lifeline, and the means of getting her own life back on track.
Using warmth and wit, the author paints a wonderful picture of a supportive community who cherishes its inhabitants and yet, as secrets start to be revealed within the town, Cate as a burgeoning writer gets herself the story of a lifetime and at the same time discovers more about the value of friendship and also, much more about the heartbreak of loss.
Combining multiple stories and time frames isn't easy but this author moves effortlessly between past and present, taking the reader from the comfortable reality of small town New England, to the horrors of the Holocaust in 1945. Whilst at the same time providing a story which is rich in meaning and alive with a wonderful sense of time and place, all of which all combine to make Sweet Breath of Memory a real joy to read from beginning to end.
Best read with …An apple crisp with pistachio ice cream and a rich expresso