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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Review: The Scent of Scandal

The Scent of Scandal
by Carole Matthews

Seeking a refuge from the trials of urban London and memories of her ex-lover, Hugh, Rose sets up housekeeping and her business as an aromatherapist in a small country village, but she soon discovers that her eccentric neighbors have become convinced that she is running a bordello.

The Scent of Scandal is a story about average everyday people doing the right thing for the wrong reasons or doing the wrong things for the right reasons. There is humor, real emotion, character growth and an entertaining cast of secondary characters that flavor the story to perfection.

Rose had a successful aromatherapy practice in a large city and made some wonderful business decisions, but on the personal front, her choices have left her feeling at a loss. Her beau turns out to be a snake - a very mated snake and that put her in the position of the "other woman" - a title that she is emotionally waffling over. She uproots everything and in a brave or cowardly move, leaves her practice, her friends, her entire support network to move to this little rinky-dink town without telling a soul. She should be safe now,right? ROTFL! Her troubles are just beginning.

My favorite person delivering trouble is Dan. What a sweatheart. Such a confused and sexy hunk who's life is in a rut. He doesn't know it until his meets Rose and the sparks fly, taking him by surprise. He is in a relationship, but not. It's a strange arrangement that amazed me. On one hand, it shows he is a man not afraid of committment but on the other hand, he needs to grow up a bit and determine what he really wants out of life.

When he finally comes to the conclusion that it's Rose he wants, every time they get close, they get interrupted. The misunderstandings and the manipulations by an old prune of a neighbor - as well as the town gossip - all conspire to make them work even harder for any kind of relationship. When the snake from her past, Hugh, shows up, even more misunderstandings fly. What's a girl to do?

Rose has to make choices and many of them are hard. I felt she was very brave to do what she did. She not only made the choice, she followed through. Even though it hurt both her and Dan, it eventually had a positive and healthy affect for their future relationship. In a way, I think they both grew up.

The small town dynamic was fascinating to read about too. Rose's arrival shakes up the entire town to various degrees and no one seems the same by the time the story concludes. There were Happily Ever Afters in one form or another for quite a few secondary characters and I appreciated the fact that it did not dilute the story at all. I enjoyed how they all revolved around Rose and in a way, Dan too. And when the town came around and accepted Rose-the outsider, well, it was a great feel good moment that I reveled in.

The Scent of Scandal leaves you smiling right up until the very end. It's a book chock full of details too numerous to mention in a short review and I feel I haven't done it justice. I can only say that I enjoyed the experience and plan on reading it again because there are so many levels to appreciate. Once is not enough.


Reviewed by Xeranthemum