Book Review: THE TASTE OF APPLE SEEDS by Katharina Hagena

Publisher: William Morrow & Company
Release Date: February 4th 2014
Source: Review copy from the Amazon Vine Program

The internationally bestselling tale of love, loss, and memories that run deep.

When Iris inherits her grandmother’s house in the country, she also inherits the painful memories that live there. Iris gives herself a one-week stay at the old house, after which she’ll make a decision: keep it or sell it. The choice is not so simple, though, for her grandmother’s cottage is an enchanting place, where currant jam tastes of tears, sparks fly from fingertips, love’s embrace makes apple trees blossom, and the darkest family secrets never stay buried…


When I read the blurb for THE TASTE OF APPLE SEEDS, I immediately thought of Alice Hoffman and her enchanting tales filled with magical realism. Though this book seemed to have all the right elements, unfortunately it didn’t live up to my expectations. It was originally written in German, so I’m wondering if it just didn’t translate well into English.

Iris inherits her grandmother’s cottage in northern Germany, and at first she doesn’t know whether to keep it. At its heart, this is a saga about the women of Iris’s family and their connection to the cottage and to each other. The house is filled with Iris’s family’s memories, but with the good comes the bad. A week’s stay in the house should help Iris decide what to do, and she spends her time there remembering. The story alternates between past memories and the present, and also between characters.

While the author did a beautiful job describing the sights, sounds, and tastes of this weird and wonderful place, the plot was weak and the story tended to ramble without direction. There is a big secret, the main memory that Iris is scared to remember, that is finally revealed at the end. While it was very sad, I was left thinking…and? Iris didn’t seem to learn anything from remembering, and I was just confused by all the unanswered questions. There was also a serious accusation made about Iris’s grandfather and his involvement in the Nazi party, but it never went anywhere.

I enjoyed most of the elements of magical realism, like the enchanted apple trees and the garden’s tear flavored currants, though I’m still trying to figure out Iris’s Aunt Inga’s special “gift.” I also liked the sweet romance between Iris and a long-lost childhood friend. It made me giggle how he was always catching her in awkward situations.

Though it had some memorable moments, ultimately I felt like I missed the point of this story. Gorgeous descriptions of rural Germany though.

Rating: 2.5 Stars

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book through the Amazon Vine Program in exchange for an honest review.