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Monday, March 4, 2013

TLC Tour Stop and Review: Scent of Darkness by Margot Berwin

Publisher: Pantheon
Hardcover 240 pages
Book Source: TLC Book Tours

From the tour home page:
In Margot Berwin’s hotly anticipated second novel she takes us somewhere darker, deep into the bayous of Louisiana, to a world of fortune-tellers, soothsayers, and potent elixirs: a magical, seductive story about the power of scent–and what happens when a perfume renders a young woman irresistible.
Evangeline grows up understanding the extraordinary effects of fragrance. Her grandmother, Louise, is a gifted aromata, a master in the art of scent-making and perfume. When Eva was a girl, Louise carefully explained the way lavender under her pillow would make her dream of the man she would marry; eucalyptus would make her taller; almondine, fatter; and jasmine, she promised, would wrap her entire life in a mystery. When Eva is eighteen, Louise passes away and leaves her the ultimate gift—a scent created just for her. The small ruby vial of perfume with a stopper thin as a human hair is accompanied by a note in Louise’s slanted script: “Do not remove the stopper, Evangeline, unless you want everything in your life to change.”
From the moment Eva places a drop on her neck—the essence of fire, leather, red velvet rose and jasmine—men dance closer to her; women busy their faces deep into her hair; even the cats outside her bedroom cry to be near her. After a lifetime spent blending into the background, Eva is suddenly the object of intense desire for everyone around her. Strangers follow her down the street, a young boy appears at her door asking for a favor, and two men, one kind and good, the other evil and seductive, fall deeply, madly in love with her.

My  Thoughts:

As the synopsis above points out, the moment Evangeline opens that bottle everything changes.  And so did this book.  Up to this point I was interested, curious even.  I wanted to see how events would progress and wrap-up.  But that is not the case, or maybe I didn't get it.  I never understood what was going on.  The big “thing” was there in the mist so to speak.  In addition, my growing disenchantment with Scent of Darkness stems from my growing dislike of Evangeline.

Yes, Evangeline is a wallflower, lacking self esteem, and only ever blooms when she is with her grandmother Louise.  Then everyone wants Evangeline once she opens that bottle.  That’s a difficult situation to be in.  I get it.  She becomes trapped by her new scent.  But why would her dear Grandmother unleash this madness on her?  Doesn't make sense.  Moving to New Orleans doesn’t help either, and it exacerbates the problem of her scent.  I thought this issue would make Evangeline grow and take control of her situation; become assertive.  No, instead she floats along, making extremely poor decisions.

I could not accept that Evangeline’s actions were due to power and magic.  Good vs. Evil.  New Orleans is the perfect setting for that type of story but I felt this book missed the mark in that respect. With respect to Michael Bon Chance, the man was icky from the moment he was introduced.  I understood where the author was going with him and kind of playing him off of Gabriel.  However, Bon Chance was never that dark and hot dangerous stranger to me.  He reminded me of a dirty older desperate man, which I think he was anyway.

I kept hoping Evangeline would change for the better, but no, that did not happen.  What should have been a spell binding and mysterious story, ended up being, to me, boring, predictable, and unfinished.  The only saving grace were the characters of Levon and Gabriel.  Without them, I would have never finished the book.  Also the fact it was for a tour played into my actions to slog through.  I am sorry for the negative review, but I was very eager to read this book and was disappointed in the overall story.  

To connect with the author, please visit her on  Facebook page or on her Twitter account

To see what others thought of Scent of darkness, please visit one of the other tour stops below:

Margot’s Tour Stops

Monday, February 4th: Broken Teepee
Tuesday, February 5th: Tiffany’s Bookshelf
Wednesday, February 6th: Olduvai Reads
Monday, February 11th: girlichef
Tuesday, February 12th: Luxury Reading
Wednesday, February 13th: Let Them Read Books
Thursday, February 14th: Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile
Tuesday, February 19th: Conceptual Reception- author Q&A
Monday, February 25th: Queen of All She Reads
Monday, February 25th: Great Imaginations
Tuesday, February 26th: A Dream Within a Dream
Wednesday, February 27th: Under My Apple Tree
Friday, March 1st: Romancing the Book  - author interview
Friday, March 1st: Romancing the Book
Friday, March 1st: Urban Girl Reader
Monday, March 4th: Jenny Loves to Read
Wednesday, March 6th: Kahakai Kitchen
Wednesday, March 13th: Boekie’s Book Reviews

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