The Scent Keeper

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The Scent Keeper book cover

by Erica Bauermeister


Publication Date: May 21, 2019
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Hardcover: 320 Pages

In The Scent Keeper, 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.


Emmeline and her father live on a remote island in Canada. Her father teaches her about nature and especially smells. Then the unthinkable happens. Her father dies and she has to become me accustomed to civilization and the mystery surrounding her life.

This story is in three parts. In the first section, Emmeline is a little girl living with her father on a remote island. In the second part, she is living with a couple and going to school. In the third, she meets her real mom.
The beginning of this book is very obscure. As a reader, you really have no idea what is going on. You have no idea why Emmeline is being raised on a remote island. You have no idea who these people are. There is no background. Now, if the whole book had been written like the second section it would have been a 5 star read for me. The part where she is coming of age and growing up is superb. I was captivated. And the last section was just sort of blah. I was not a huge fan of her mother.

Now that all of that is out of the way. As a reader, you need to know not all the parts of this book are equal. It sounds like I did not like this book. Oh but I did! This book is a really good read. Reminds me of Where The Crawdads Sing. Emmeline is someone your heart just breaks for. I woke up this morning still thinking about her. This story takes you on a ride you will not soon forget.

I received The Scent Keeper from St. Martin’s Press for my honest review.


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“Told in a lyrical, haunting prose, the story provides fascinating information about the ways in which different fragrances can impact human behavior and the struggles of finding one’s own identity. An artfully crafted coming-of-age story that will take the reader on an exquisite olfactory adventure. ” – Kirkus

“This coming-of-age story delights the senses, immersing the reader in the sights, sounds, and scents of the
wilderness and city life. Fans of Mary Simses and Jennifer Close will fall in love with Bauermeister’s plucky heroine, the layers of family secrets, the lush settings, and the painfully tender relationships.” – Booklist

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“Woven through [Emmeline’s] life’s journey is a multi-layered story of fragrance and its evocative power, as strong and tenacious as this sensuous novel’s plucky heroine.” – Shelf Awareness, Starred Review

“[A] magical novel…Blending fantasy with a realist family drama, Bauermeister’s novel will enchant fans of Katherine Paterson.” – Publishers Weekly

“For lovers of ChocolatThe Scent Keeper evokes emotion and magic through the senses.” –Jennie Shortridge, author of Eating Heaven

“A fascinating, totally original and captivating tale about how the love that separates us is also the love that keeps us together.”―M.J. Rose, New York Times bestselling author of The Book of Lost Fragrances

“The author hits it out of the park with the most superb sense of place I’ve read in a long time. It’s a coming of age tale, featuring a young heroine as narrator who makes serious mistakes, learns much from them, and ultimately redeems herself. Beautifully and masterfully written. I highly recommend it.” – Elizabeth George, New York Times and international bestselling author





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