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.”
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.
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.