The Scent Keeper
By Erica Bauermeister
Published May 2019 by St. Martin’s Press
Emmeline lives an enchanted childhood on a remote island with her father, who teaches her about the natural world through her senses. What he won’t explain are the mysterious scents stored in the drawers that line the walls of their cabin, or the origin of the machine that creates them. As Emmeline grows, however, so too does her curiosity, until one day the unforeseen happens, and Emmeline is vaulted out into the real world–a place of love, betrayal, ambition, and revenge. To understand her past, Emmeline must unlock the clues to her identity, a quest that challenges the limits of her heart and imagination.
Lyrical and immersive, The Scent Keeper explores the provocative beauty of scent, the way it can reveal hidden truths, lead us to the person we seek, and even help us find our way back home.
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The Scent Keeper centers around a girl (Emmaline) who lives with her father on a remote island.
They spend their days foraging for food, telling stories and discussing scents. Once a season, Emmaline’s father takes out a machine and creates a scent on paper with it. Emmaline loves when her father opens one of the many jars and lets her smell it.
Things go awry when Emmaline is close to age 13, and she ends up living with a couple who runs a seaside getaway business. Suddenly she’s thrust into a world with people and it’s hard for her to adjust.
As the story goes on, Emmaline starts learning more about who her father actually was, and makes a lot of discoveries about who she is along the way.
I found this story to be enchanting. It felt magical when her father told her mermaids had parties on the beach and left them gifts (supplies they needed). Her father wove magical stories throughout her childhood and while she was enchanted by them, I was too. I can see why it’d be so hard to leave that life behind. And I can see why Emmaline would want to go back.
The scents in this book were described so beautifully, it was almost as if I could smell the scents right along with the characters in the story. I’ve never read a book before on the power and magic of scents and I found this to be such a unique read. There’s a definite arc from magical to scientific concerning scents in this story.
I loved how Emmaline approached understanding smells. She let the scents tell her their stories and I loved it.
The ending was felt pretty open for me. I wish I had a little bit more closure and I actually flipped the page a couple times trying to see if there was more story there.
The Scent Keeper is one of those magically unique books that I loved reading and can definitely recommend!