Friday, August 19, 2016
Guest Book Review: Sweet Breath of Memory
Years ago I read a novel called Friendship Bread by Darien Gee, about several women coming together in a small town where their new friendship helps heal them from their pasts and allows them to grow into stronger women. As I read Sweet Breath of Memory, I was reminded often of this book and its similarities.
Ariella Cohen’s novel tells the story of Cate Saunders, a newcomer to Amberley, Massachusetts, who needs a fresh start. Having just lost her husband to war in Iraq, she is eager to find a job and a home. Immediately upon arriving, she is welcomed by the town’s mayor, Sheila, who also runs the town’s Italian bakery. Sheila soon introduces Cate to her best friends, diner owner Gaby and mechanic MaryLou.
As Cate soon discovers, each woman in town has a background they’ve been keeping a secret, including the woman who used to live in Cate’s new apartment. Her diary entries keep appearing, leading Cate and her friends to some troubling discoveries about the past.
For me, reading stories of friendship amongst women can be as comforting as a cup of tea. My only struggle with this novel was how Cohen tried to balance many women’s backgrounds at once. Each character had a lot on their plate and had a significant backstory. I thought she took on too much at once instead of just focusing on one or even two characters.
These characters are thoroughly drawn out, with each woman having qualities Cate attaches to. Cohen manages to balance the atrocities of war with a heartwarming small town tale, where secrets shared lead to friendships Cate never could have expected.
Thanks to Kensington for the book in exchange for an honest review.
Caryn Strean is a mom by day and reader by night. Asking her to name her favorite book is like asking her to choose a favorite child. Her friends call her The Book Whisperer. Caryn can be reached on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.