Before I even start to describe this book, first let me tell you that it’s already in my top 10 books of the year and whilst it is still early in the year, I can’t see this one moving in the rankings.
The Scent Keeper is one of those books that just seems to stand out from being in a specific genre and I believe it has the ability to allure any reader with its varied and unique style. So what’s it about?
Emmeline lives on a small island with only herself and her father being the population. Their cabin, their vegetable patch and the bounty that can be foraged from the island allow them to live a wonderful, simple and yet nourishing life. Anything else that they may require comes from black boxes that appear on the shoreline, which as a young girl, Emmeline believed were delivered by mermaids.
Her father has taught her from a very young age the power of scents, and whilst it is useful in the present day being able to sniff out berries, it also keeps the door to their past open. With his scent machine, her father captures the scent of the season and stores it in a glass bottle, which he places alongside the hundreds of bottles already lined up around the cabin. As the years go by Emmeline becomes more curious of what the older bottles contain and why some bottles hold their scent and others don’t. Her curiosity and her father’s adamancy to not tell her everything begins to weaken their strong bond, and as her curiosity only grows as she gets older, I could tell that disaster was imminent…
Now on the main land, Emmeline is thrown into a world that she’s never lived or experienced before. She’s learning first hand the cruelty that other children subject on one another, that adults don’t always protect their children and the structure of modern day life. Now that she knows what her father was sheltering her from, she’s full of remorse and longing to be back on her island…
Now, I’ve not given any spoilers as everything I’ve mentioned above is covered in the blurb, but gosh, there is still so much more that goes on in this book, Bauermeister had even lulled me into a false sense of security on the boundaries of this tale, and then she smashes through them, making me experience the shock of a world that felt outside of the realms of this book. Hopefully, I’m not misleading you into thinking this is a hardcore fantasy book, as other than the mystery around the scent machine, there’s no more levels of fantasy weaved into this tale… what I’m trying to say is this story will take you on the most incredible journey as Emmeline adjusts to life in the “big, bad world”. It will have you rooting for a romance that seems to always be close to blossoming and then pulled away from your grasp.
The Scent Keeper is an unforgettable story that offers the reader a time to reflect, to sympathise, to empathise and to grow.
It will nourish your heart and your mind.
The Scent Keeper is out now in paperback and eBook versions from St. Martin’s Press, be sure to check out the cover… it is gorgeous!
Until next time, stay safe, Chloé x