- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
Posted February 25, 2013
I received a complimentary copy of this book as a part of a book
I received a complimentary copy of this book as a part of a book tour in exchange for a fair and honest review.
A coming of age tale set in both New York and New Orleans, Scent of Darkness by Margot Berwin was not at all what I expected. Mixing an interesting cast of characters, symbolism from the New Orleans Bayou and the physical sense of "scent, Ms. Berwin's tale is at times dark, haunting and strangely erotic. While developed somewhat slowly, the romance in this book takes both the characters and reader slowly by surprise.
An only child, "Eva from the longer and more beautiful Evangeline", grows up spending her time between two homes; the house she shares with her self-involved mother Loretta, and her summers spent with her grandmother Louise. A perfume maker or aromata, Louise teaches Eva about the power of scent and how scent is tied to our memories. Upon her grandmother's death, Eva inherits her house and a "special scent" with a note that warns her :
"Don't remove the crystal stopper, Evangeline, unless you want
everything in your life to change"
Removing the stopper and wearing the fragrance opens Eva's world and thrusts the shy, young woman into the spotlight. It also grants her secret wish of drawing the attention of Gabriel, a young medical student she's been attracted to from first sight. Following Gabriel to New Orleans, Eva begins to wonder if Gabriel is really drawn to her or just to her scent. Just when Eva thinks her life is just as she wants, another man is drawn into her life because of her scent, artist Micheal Bon Chance.
While neither Gabriel or Michael's characters are fully developed, everything is told from Eva's perspective, and we learn enough about both characters to see they present two completely different futures for Eva's life. The symbolism of their names also takes on special meaning during Eva's journey through life. Adding in the lure of scent, a touch of bayou magic and a little fortune telling, Ms. Berwin, brings Eva's journey full circle when she makes her final choice.
Which man and future will Eva choose? You'll have to read Scent of Darkness to find out. I enjoyed it and look forward to reading more of this author's work.
"Change can be sudden, or slow, like a dream, It can rip out your heart or
bring you peace, But it can never stop being what it is, Evangeline,
Which is something that never stops being.
In other Words,
In the battle between holding on and letting go
Chance will win, every time"
So, my name is Eva from the longer and more beautiful Evangeline. I had something very special once, something that I took for granted and lost. I set out to find it again, and as so often happens, it was right there in front of me. Or should I say it was right there inside of me, running through my veins like a blessing or a plague.
I closed my eyes and dreamed of Louise, an aromata from New Orleans who gave me nothing I did not already have.
1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 31, 2013
A sensual tale that bewitches the mind, tantalizes the heart, an
A sensual tale that bewitches the mind, tantalizes the heart, and stimulates the idea of a person's scent and how it truly effects others.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
The premise of scent intrigued me from the start. We've heard of pheromones and how they invisibly affect people, but I'd never thought of scent and its abilities. Many vivid descriptions were used throughout the book to draw the reader into the plausibility of this theme.
Mentions of the Bayon and New Orleans, Cypress swamps and marshes carry an eerie and mysterious scent of its own. The reader is drawn to more intrigue as the setting deepens, permeating a strange yet teasing aroma.
Eva has a soft, distant, and almost guarded relationship with her grandmother. Although there is current action between the two, most was given in hindsight and Eva remembering specifics about her grandmother. The story soon amped up with mystery, using Eva's memories and a bottle of scent her grandmother had made just for her. This scent seems to become apart of her, drawing attention to her and making her irresistible to her boyfriend, Gabriel, and a strange male character, Michael--Gabriel's landlord.
Michael seemed quite charming, at first. But, to be honest, soon he gave me the creeps. He was one of the people you'd meet in a grocery store line and just know you should stay away. But of course, Eva soon becomes entangled with him, but in a way you'd never expect. I won't give it away, but it is a bit strange--creative, but strange.
There was something distant about Eva though, like a piece or ingredient about her was missing or a more intimate thread between Eva and myself. In the author's defense, this could have been her intention. Leaving the characters on the surface for most of the book made me calculate my own conclusions, kind of the same way we do in life. And as the story progress to the final 30 pages, I realized that might have been it afterall. Once I reached that point in the story, all three characters deepened, as each shared with the reader what he/she had learned about the world and each other.
Gabriel made up a bit for those misgivings, at least for me. I liked the safe sense he gave me as I read and how much he truly cared for Eva. To this end, questions about life, death, and the in-between braided through Eva's thoughts and actions.
There was something deep and profound about this read, an element about life unseen and what that means. It even made me ponder how that applies to me, to each of us.
In the end, I'd say it was a solid read and I'd recommend it to older YA readers, the age categorized as New Adult, and readers who enjoy pondering life and its meanings.