cover image The Scent Keeper

The Scent Keeper

Erica Bauermeister. St. Martin’s, $26.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-250-20013-6

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. [em](May) [/em]