Tag Archives: Coming of Age

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: Where The Crawdads Sing

Where the Crawdads Sing

Where The Crawdads Sing
By Delia Owens
G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 9780735219090, August 2018, 384pp.

The Short of It:

A coming-of-age story interwoven with nature and a touch of mystery.

The Rest of It:

I would say first and foremost that Where The Crawdads Sing is a coming-of-age story. But then, when you find yourself all wrapped up in the story, someone gets murdered.

Hmmm.

Kya and her family live in the marsh. They are considered by the rest of the town as “marsh people”. Poor, scrappy, wild. Kya’s father is a straight-up drunk who beats his wife and anyone else who comes between him and his drink. One day, Kya’s mom just walks away from all of it (her husband, the shack, her four children) and leaves them all to fend for themselves. Then her sisters leave. Then her brother. Kya, at the age of 5 is left to manage the household and when her father eventually leaves, she’s forced to make do with what she has.

The story follows Kya as she struggles to piece together an existence. Her one saving grace, is the marsh itself. Kya sees the beauty all around her each and every day, but when she becomes a beautiful, young woman, she gets the attention of the town’s number one player, Chase Andrews, and it leads to trouble.

I really enjoyed the first three-quarters of Where The Crawdads Sing. The writing was lovely and I loved Kya’s will to survive and all the environmental elements of marsh life made reading this story a real treat. But I didn’t care for the mystery thread which felt a little tacked-on to me. I also felt that the trial at the end of the book was almost an after-thought. It felt out-of-place to me.

This book has gotten a lot of attention and praise. It has been chosen for numerous book clubs and there is plenty to discuss, but if I had my choice I would have skipped the murder plot all together.

Have you read it? What did you think of it?

Source: Purchased
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.