Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Scent that Book!: Beautiful Creatures & Beautiful Darkness

Scent That Book! is a new, reoccurring feature here at Feminine Things. It is premised on the idea that even books require perfuming, whether the authors realize that or not.

Reading is sexy!
Dear reader, do you read a lot? I read…a lot. I’ve always been a big reader. I was the kid who always carried around a book like a safety blanket; I was like the Rory Gilmore of my Houston suburb. My reading slowed to a trickle during college and then law school. In the last year, though, I’ve returned to fiction with ferocity. I read two to three books a week, usually in the two hundred to five hundred page range.

Something I’ve been noticing. These books will have passages that describe scents, usually the specific way a person smells, and my little sniffa brain immediately begins distracting me with an internal hunt to place the scent in the panoply of perfumes I know. Then I thought – why play a game alone that could be so much more fun with friends?

Thus here we are, the first in a new series I’m calling Scent that Book. I’ll give you a passage from a book with some scent related items mentioned. You help me figure out what perfume you think might be similar.

First up:  Beautiful Creatures, and its sequel, Beautiful Darkness, also known as the first two novels in  The Caster Chronicles, are books by Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia. Beautiful Creatures was named it one of the top ten books of 2009 and the top pick for best teen book by Here's a brief description:
Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small southern town of Gatlin has ever seen. Lena has wavy black hair with large green eyes. She wears a necklace made of pieces of junk and carries around a tattered journal. She is gossiped about, picked on and neglected because of the fact that she is the niece of Macon Melchizedek Ravenwood (Otherwise known as Old Man Ravenwood), the town's shut in. Lena is struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps, and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten south, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Lawson Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape Gatlin, is haunted by dreams in which he is trying to save a beautiful girl he has never met. He has brown hair and blue eyes and lives with his care taker and house keeper Amarie "Amma" Treadeau and his depressed father who has shut himself in his study since his wife's death. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.
Without giving away too much detail, here are two snippets of scent description from Beautiful Darkness:
I was caught in her drag, struck by the current that bound us together and kept us apart. I leaned in to kiss her mouth, sand she held the lemon in front of my nose, teasing. "Smell." "Smells like you." Like lemon and rosemary, the scent that had drawn me to Lena when we first met. (pg. 32) 
Lemon and rosemary, Lena Duchannes' signature scent. So what do you think, dear reader? What scent might capture all the magical turmoil of Lena Duchannes (rhymes with "rain") and her star-crossed love affair with Ethan Wate in tiny Gatlin? I was thinking maybe Guerlain Jicky at first because Lena's power is supposed to go back generations, but now I'm thinking Miller Harris Le Petit Grain, the oak-moss, vetiver, and patchouli leaves at the base reflect some of the story elements that I'll let you discover on your own.

Ah, yes, but as all star-crossed stories go, Lena and Ethan struggle with forces working against their love, and teenage temptation rears its head. Enter Liv, who is described below.
But I didn't answer her. I pushed her shiny blonde hair away from her face and leaned down, our faces only inches apart. She inhaled softly, our lips so close I could feel her breath and the scent of her skin, like honeysuckle in springtime. She smelled like sweet tea and old books, like she had always been here. (p. 211)
Honeysuckle, sweet tea, old books. Like a cross between CB I Hate Perfume In the Library and Jo Malone Honeysuckle & Jasmine, or better yet DSH Perfumes Wild Honeysuckle? Though that, sadly, misses the sweet tea aspect, which if you're from any part of the South, you know won't do a'tall. I've never tried elizabethW Sweet Tea but maybe that would do. I dunno. It's stumper, Liv, the English would-be librarian.

So now its your turn. You've got a few words about the universe, the characters, and some notes. What do you think?

You can read more about Beautiful Creatures and Beautiful Darkness here.


taffynfontana said...

For Lena Guerlain Imperiale for its citrus and rosemary scent.

Diana said...


Great suggestion! Thanks for playing along. :)