Scent of Darkness: A Novel by Margot Berwin
Evangeline is eighteen years old when her grandmother gives her the ultimate gift-a scent she has created just for her. From the moment Eva places a drop on her neck, her entire life changes. Previously unnoticed, she becomes the object of intense desire for everyone around her. Men dance close to her; women dip their noses deep into her hair; even the cats outside her bedroom cry to be near her. Gabriel, the quiet student Eva has admired from afar, falls head-over-heels in love with her. But soon the gift begins to control Eva’s life: strangers follow her around, sniffing and touching her at every turn. When Eva meets Michael, an artist who barely registers her smell, Eva wonders if he is the one person who can love her for herself. Or is her scent impossible to escape? A bewitching, wildly imaginative novel steeped in the mythology of perfume, Scent of Darkness seduces the reader’s every sense.
I have always been curious about smells and the attraction we feel to them or associate with them. Certain smells trigger memories for me some good and some bad. In Scent of Darknesswe are taken on a strange journey with one woman and the two men in her life. One represents good and the other evil. While the tale was engaging enough, it did leave me scratching my head.
The tale begins when we meet Evangeline and her grandmother. We are taking back to childhood memories of the two and specific shared moments. Louise her grandmother is a scent maker, and keeps a room off limits to Evangeline. Upon her death she leaves her home to Evangeline and a gift that she can choose not to accept. Gabriel is a young man that she has a huge crush on, but feels he doesn’t return her feelings. Together they clean out the home and eventually make their way to the forbidden room. Here they find the gift for Evangeline; a vial filled with a fragrance that will change her fate, it comes with a warning. From the moment she places the precious drops on her neck things begin to change; Gabriel falls madly in love with her and takes her to New Orleans. The tale that unfolds takes a weird and wild twist when she meets a painter named Michael.
The characters were each unique although we never really get to know them. They are each chosen to represent something and I think the author makes what clear. We meet a young boy who I found interesting as well as his grandmother who will eventually help Evangeline. A tarot card reader warns her and forbids her to return. All of the characters helped propel the tale and the message. I liked Gabriel, although I never got to know him and what I learned of Micheal gave me the creeps.
My feelings are so mixed on this. I appreciated how the author used foreshadowing and characters represented things and perhaps even lessons placed within the pages. The writing was lovely, and I certainly did not struggle to read this as the tale unfolded beautifully. The subject matter and strange turns were bizarre and unique but left me feeling off kilter. I love paranormal, the occult and believe scent attracts us but I wanted more depth from the characters. I understand the how and why of the tale and I think I understand the author’s intent but as I closed the book all I could think was, “Eek Gads that was strange.”
This is a unique tale filled with lessons, good, evil and one woman’s journey to choose the right path. Filled with paranormal woo-woo Scent of Darkness is a tale you will ponder.
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Christy@Love of Books: Tamara Ireland Stone: Time Between Us