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Reviewed by Krystal Larson

How would you feel if everyone suddenly adored you? Would you appreciate that people stopped to actually SMELL you and gaze at you wonderingly? Or would you hate the attention? Evangeline is put in this situation when her grandmother gives her a scent. That scent seems to have an odd effect on people, making them literally fall in love with her. Evangeline or “Eva” thought that maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to have her crush finally take notice of her, but she realizes that she can never tell if he loves her for her…or for her scent. She wonders if she will ever find anyone who isn’t affected by the scent, until she meets Michael. The scent doesn’t seem to register for Michael; is it possible that he might actually like her for her? Meanwhile, she is still with her crush, Gabriel, who adores her.

I really liked Eva’s character at times and hated her at others. I realize that Gabriel was only “falling for her” because of the scent (or at least the author doesn’t suggest anything different), but I still didn’t like how Eva treated him. Gabriel was charismatic, kind, and loving, but Eva still seemed to obsess over Michael. While obsessing over a tall, dark and handsome man isn’t the worst thing she could do, Michael didn’t seem like a nice person. He was portrayed as the typical user and liked to use Eva’s strange “scent” to sell paintings.

Michael’s presence in the novel harmed Eva’s relationship with Gabriel and felt a little unnecessary, at times. I did enjoy how Eva went through a lot of character development. I got to know the “true Eva” along with Eva. Her character was dynamic and she changed over the course of the novel. Eva’s grandmother passed away and thus wasn’t really represented in the novel, however, her presence was alive in Eva. She cared for Eva when Eva’s own mother fell flat and Eva never forgot about her.

The plot of Scent of Darkness wasn’t the most unique and I felt like I had heard this same story before. That said, Margot Berwin did play out the plot nicely. It felt like all of the pieces fell into place and the ending was satisfying. There was a feeling of mysticism pervading the novel that I enjoyed, and that made everything slightly spooky. I did not like that the scent portion of the plot went fairly unexplained and would have liked to know a lot more about what was truly going on. Overall, this novel is recommended to adult readers.

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Krystal is a young college student who loves meeting new authors and finding great books! Her favorite place to read is the Botanic Gardens.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Pantheon. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.