Scent of a Garden

Cover of "Scent of a Garden" by Namrata Patel
Namrata Patel
Sep 26, 2023

Hello and welcome to #NoWaitWednesday, where we spotlight a book that's ready and available on the New Release shelf at one of our Library branches. Hot, ready, and best of all - no waiting!

"Scent of a Garden" by Namrata Patel introduces us to Asha "Poppy" Patel, daughter of a family of successful hoteliers in Napa Valley, California. When Poppy was young, she discovered that while tending her grandmother's garden, she has a special gift for identifying scents - so much so, that as she grows up, her family steers her away from the family business and into a prestigious career working as a Paris master perfumer. Everything seems to be going well until Poppy gets COVID-19 and loses her sense of smell and takes a leave of absence back to California, where she is pulled in different directions from her well-meaning but ambitious family, only finding solace by restoring her grandmother's aromatic garden, which has been neglected over the years. While back home, she's also reunited with Neel, her first serious love that went sour when Poppy left for Paris, and her former best friend, Millie. While Poppy reconnects with her friends and family, she also tries to reconnect with her sense of smell, or else the dream job that she spent her entire life working toward will forever be out of reach.

But then again - is that what she really wants?

This novel is not only a delightful example of women's fiction but Patel has absolutely done her homework with her descriptions of both the lush and atmospheric Napa Valley hotel world as well as descriptions of the Paris perfuming scene - smells are lovingly described with care, passion, and flair. The novel also excels at describing the complex and interconnected dynamics of the expectations of a high-achieving immigrant family, as Poppy tries to please her mother, who wants her to go back to Paris, and understand her father, who wants her to take over the family hotel business. However, the parents aren't presented as monsters or mere obstacles to Poppy's character growth - they're presented as characters in their own right, who have strong points of view and want nothing but the best for their daughter.

Full of character work, self-discovery, and just the right amount of romance, "Scent of a Garden" should be on your to-be-read list. If not, then make sure you check out our New Release section the next time you're in the library - you'll be sure to find something that scratches that reading itch.

Reviewed by Gregg W.
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