Erica Bauermeister, the national bestselling author of The School of Essential Ingredients, presents a moving and evocative coming-of-age novel about childhood stories, families lost and found, and how a fragrance conjures memories capable of shaping the course of our lives.
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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
The Scent Keeper unfolds like a fairy tale, full of magic and doom. Erica Bauermeister’s novel follows young Emmeline, who lives on a remote Canadian island with her father, where he teaches her to capture memories by bottling their corresponding fragrance. But when tragedy forces Emmeline into the outside world—where people are either wicked or kind—she discovers the dark truth behind her seemingly fabled childhood. Bauermeister leads us by the nose as she explores the powerful link between smell and recollection, but the moral of her evocative story suggests that our modern obsession with preserving every single moment also risks trapping us in the past.
In this magical novel, Bauermeister (The School of Essential Ingredients) transports readers to a secluded island in the Pacific Northwest where a girl is raised alone by her father. Emmeline has always lived alone with her scientist father on an island where he collects and studies scents that he preserves in small glass bottles. Emmeline is completely shut off from the modern world and believes mermaids bring them supplies. That fantasy is shattered when Emmeline sees a man named Henry leaving packages on the beach, and, angry about having been lied to, she begins throwing her father's vials over a bluff. Her father plunges to his death trying to recover one special vial. In the book's second part, with the help of Henry and his wife, Colette, Emmeline, now a teenager, clumsily navigates her new reality living in a small coastal town outside Vancouver. While Emmeline adjusts to simple things such as using a stove, she helps Henry run his boardinghouse, starts studying with Colette, and yearns for the scents locked in her father's vials. As she gets older, she slowly begins to uncover the past her father had been desperately been trying to seal away. Blending fantasy with a realist family drama, Bauermeister's novel will enchant fans of Katherine Paterson.