Tag Archives: Book Review

Review: The Scent Keeper

The Scent Keeper

The Scent Keeper
By Erica Bauermeister
St. Martin’s Press, 9781250200136, May 2019, 320pp.

The Short of It:

If you’ve ever been fascinated with scent and the memories associated with it, you will enjoy The Scent Keeper.

The Rest of It:

Emmaline and her father live on a remote island in the Pacific Northwest. There, her father collects scents, memories really on little slips of paper that he keeps in wax-sealed bottles. He captures these scents using a special machine of his, one that has always been magical in Emmaline’s eyes.

As Emmaline grows older, she learns that there is more than just life on the island and suddenly finds herself imprisoned by these scents. A collection that holds her father’s attention more than anything else. In a moment of frustration, Emmaline makes a decision that not only affects her place on the island, but her future as well.

I was completely taken with the first half of this novel. I am a scent person. There is always a candle nearby, or a fragrant hand lotion, or perfume or something because certain scents make me happy and I surround myself with them. The first half of this novel was magical to me. The ties between scent and memory really gave me warm, happy feelings. Think about how you feel when you smell warm apple pie or cookies baking in the oven. Lovely, right?

Well, the second half of the novel was quite different. Although it still explored scent, it didn’t do so in the innocent way of memories. It was tied to money and manipulation which for me, was a real turn-off. I realize that the author was probably playing the two experiences off of one another but the story lost its magic when money was brought into it. It added a grittiness that I did not enjoy.

I love this author though. I’ve read three other books by Bauermeister so I am really familiar with her work. The Scent Keeper has a totally different feel than any of her other books so if you are looking for it to be similar you will be disappointed. Personally, I would have liked the second half to go a different way but I am not a bestselling author.

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

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Review: The Summer Demands

The Summer Demands

The Summer Demands
By Deborah Shapiro
Catapult, 9781948226301, June 2019, 224pp.

The Short of It:

Gave me all the feels of The Big Chill but with a smaller cast of characters.

The Rest of It:

On the verge of her fortieth birthday, Emily inherits an abandoned summer camp from her aunt. She and her husband move there, with the hopes of transforming it into an artist colony. The old, main house is full of charm and memories but the rest of the camp is in need of repair. They both realize it will take quite a bit of resources to get it to where it needs to be. What they don’t immediately realize though is that they already have their first guest.

I really enjoyed The Summer Demands. Emily and her husband are in a good place. Even though she is without a job and trying to find her way again after suffering a miscarriage, Emily is hopeful if not a little lost. But when she stumbles upon Stella, a twenty-something who is essentially squatting on their property, her first reaction is to help her, not oust her and she holds that secret for a little while before telling her husband.

It’s these moments between Stella and Emily that cause so much tension. Female friendships and intimacy, envy, jealousy and longing. Emily is a tad infatuated with Stella but when Stella meets Emily’s husband, Emily notices that everyone she meets is kind of infatuated with Stella. It’s just who she is.

Emily and Stella loll around the camp, swimming, watching movies, and soaking up the sun but as a reader you just know that this idyllic summer must end eventually, and it does. I loved the easiness of this novel. I loved the complexities of female friendships displayed here and I liked how the author explored things without making you feel too strongly about any one thing.

Plus, the setting was great. The lake and the sunlight filtering through the trees. It’s all so palpable. I really enjoyed The Summer Demands but it definitely falls into the “quiet novel” category which I enjoy very much.

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.