The Scent Keeper #ericabauermeister @StMartinsPress #fragrance #family #love #selfawareness #memories #magicalrealism #fictionfriends #duoreviews @JanBelisle @absltmom

Jan and I so enjoyed this book. It was a peaceful story, one so needed in the time of turmoil we find ourselves in. It allowed us many hours in which to relax into this book being transported into a world where all has been blocked but our sense of peace and scent. Do yourself a favor, if you are looking for a well written, lovely story, do pick this one up.


“Scents were like rain, or birds. They left and came back.”

The Scent Keeper

Jan’s review

Scents have the power to evoke memories and powerful emotions. Certain smells can transport me to special moments in time and place. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could bottle them and save them forever? Emmaline and her father live in a remote island where they are immersed in nature, and they did just that.

“I think one of the most fascinating things about perfumes is how they change with each person’s skin chemistry. I’ve always thought of them as verbs, not nouns. Truth, I’ve found, is much the same.”

Much like sommeliers are super-tasters, they are super-smellers. The cabin is lined with small drawers, each holding a vial containing a scent. Each vial contained not just a scent, but a memory. When I was in college I did a research paper on the power of subliminal messages and I loved this aspect of the story. 

Emmaline has many questions but she knows not to push her father too hard. Events transpire that catapults Emmaline into a different world. I loved Emmaline and her journey of self-discovery as she makes peace with her past and figures out her future. The cast of supporting characters were interesting and provided depth and context.

“The air would be filled with the scent of new leaves and the hope of more light.”

This plot is one best discovered on your own so I don’t say more than that. This is a book about family, and acceptance of your parents, flaws and all. The theme of compassion and forgiveness of yourself and others runs throughout.  “All those stories, all those lives, each one an entire world to the person living it, and yet I knew none of them. Maybe that’s how it always is, I thought–we all just go along, catching glimpses of one another, thinking we know everything.” 

Magical realism is not a genre I typically gravitate toward but I’m so glad I took a chance on this one. I absolutely loved it. If, like me, you didn’t care for Where the Crawdads Sing, don’t be dissuaded by the comparisons. I found the two books to be completely different. 

I was captivated by this magical world, one that remained firmly rooted in reality. This is a beautifully written story, full of warmth and heart. I loved escaping into Emmaline’s world.  Marialyce and I enjoyed this book as a buddy read and it’s one we both highly recommend. 

Marialyce’s review

What brings joy to your heart and mind? Is it the sight of someone you love, the look of the holidays, or is it the smells which engender in your heart and mind the things that you love? Think of the smell of turkey roasting in the oven (bet your mouth has started to water!), of pine, the scent of Christmas trees, of a winter’s day, of a new baby, so warm and sweet smelling like the best flower ever, or the outdoors on a crisp autumn day. Don’t these smells make you come alive? You could close your eyes and still feel that love and longing for the times these smells gave to you. Look outside and inhale the air. Smell the smell of Spring, the flowers, the trees, the air filled with the promise of awakening.

“I listened, while the scents found their hiding places in the cracks in the floorboards, and the words of the story, and the rest of my life.”

In the book, The Scent Keeper, we learn the importance of scent in the life of Emmaline. She had been taken away to a deserted island by her father, hidden away from the sights and smells of the congested world and allowed to grow with his love and his desire to imprint on her and others, the scents that he had tried to capture in his scent machine.

“Back before there was time, I lived with my father on an island, tucked away in an endless archipelago that reached up out of the cold salt water, hungry for air.”

Emmaline’s life was ever so different. Her dad educated her always with the idea that our nose is a wonderful vehicle into your past and present. She adored him and when fate intervened into what some might have called their idyllic life, (for who in these days would not wish to dwell on a deserted island), Emmaline must grasp onto a future that holds many secrets, surprises, and the chance of love. She is blessed with not only a deep abiding respect for scent, but also the innate ability to puzzle out what she smells in the many blended scents she eventually becomes exposed to.

This wonderful story made me feel just that ….wonderful. I adored the background setting of the sea, its mystery, its beauty, its danger and yes, the smell of the ocean that even now I can sense as I am writing this review. It was a tender story, believable as a journey in finding oneself, the mystery we all have experienced as we travel down the road of life. In Emmeline, this author has given us a wonderful character who is placed on a pathway to not only discover who her parents were, but also to find her place in a world that once seemed so foreign to her. It’s a beautiful story that I highly recommend.

and here’s the author:

Erica Bauermeister

Erica Bauermeister is the NYT bestselling author of four novels — The Scent Keeper (a Reese’s Book Club pick), The School of Essential Ingredients,, Joy for Beginners, and The Lost Art of Mixing. Her memoir, House Lessons, will be published by Sasquatch March 24th, 2020. She is also the co-author of 500 Great Books by Women: A Reader’s Guide and Let’s Hear It For the Girls: 375 Great Books for Readers 2-14. She currently lives in Port Townsend, Wa with her husband and 238 wild deer.

13 thoughts on “The Scent Keeper #ericabauermeister @StMartinsPress #fragrance #family #love #selfawareness #memories #magicalrealism #fictionfriends #duoreviews @JanBelisle @absltmom

  1. I got this audiobook simply because it was selected by Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine book club and she hasn’t missed yet for me. But, I wasn’t certain if it would be a great read so I’ve put it off. Jan, I love magical realism and you loving it in this story when it isn’t normally something you like got my attention.

    Two lovely, lovely reviews💜

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Loved both of your reviews, Jan and Marialyce. 🙂 Magical realism is a genre I haven’t read before, so, can’t say if I will pick this book. But a story based on the power of scent – that’s intriguing.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Such beautiful reviews ladies. They say that scent memory is one of our strongest. I do love the sound of this. I’m not sure what Magical Realism is, I will have to do some research.

    Liked by 1 person

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