SCENT OF DARKNESS - Margot Berwin
Cyril, New York, and New Orleans, Louisiana - The Present
Evangeline Lennon had one person who truly loved and took care of her: Louise, her grandmother. Eva's mother, Lorretta, was often sunk into depression or drink, ignoring Eva. Louise, on the other hand, took great interest in her granddaughter. The old woman lived in Cyril, New York, in a house she called Stone Crow, far from Brooklyn where her daughter and granddaughter lived. She moved from Louisiana in her sixties just for Eva's sake, and she was an aromata, or master in creating scent. Scent, she had told Eva, could control human response; therefore, those who produced perfumes were magicians, sorcerers without peer.
A shy girl whom most people ignore, Eva's life changes when her grandmother dies and leaves her Stone Crow. There she finds Gabriel, a handsome young man who works in town during the summer and spends the winter in New Orleans studying medicine. He is using Stone Crow as a haven of quiet where he can study, unaware Eva would arrive. He helps her deal with Louise's death and soon becomes her lover. She also finds a tiny vial of perfume, a last gift from Louise, in the aromata's private studio at Stone Crow, a room her grandmother would never let Eva enter. A last message came with the gift, telling Eva the scent would change her life forever. It scares Eva. Eventually she uses the tiny drop of perfume, and the scent does change her. It draws everyone's attention like a magnet, making them desire her, but it also invades her very being, so it will never wear off. Can she bear to be the center of everything, always wondering if someone likes her for who she is or if it is only her scent beguiling them?
Gabriel takes Eva to New Orleans when he leaves for school, and in that superstition and magic infused city, trouble finds Eva.
SCENT OF DARKNESS is a journey of self-discovery, leading to the question: can Eva survive the darkness enveloping her? Her voyage is very strange and will enthrall readers as it balances on the precipice between reality and supernatural. The story will leave readers wondering about how the perfume ends up doing what it does, but believing that is perhaps the true magic of the story.