I received The Scent of Rain from Thomas Nelson via Booksneeze in exchange for an honest review – thank you to them.
The synopsis: Daphne arrives at the church in her Monique Lhuillier gown to marry her beloved Mark, for whom she has given up her job as a perfumer, a professional "nose" – in Paris. He was unable to find work in France – for various reasons which become clear later – and so she has flown home to marry in the US and go to work at the same company as Mark, a small chemical company in Dayton, Ohio. However nice Dayton is, giving up a plum job in Paris for it (and for him) is a tremendous sacrifice, but she has herself convinced (or he has her convinced) that this is what she wants. She arrives at the church … and leaves again a little while after with her best maid Sophie, because Mark has stood her up at the altar. Crushed, and with, she believes, no way back, she has no choice but to go forward and excel at her new job with Gibraltar Products. The problem with that plan is that, suddenly, her sense of smell has deserted her. Before she even has the chance to take off her wedding gown she discovers that she has gone from having a highly trained nose capable of distinguishing thousands of unique scents to … having a nose capable of distinguishing not even her wedding bouquet.
I had a good time with the writing here. It's breezy and warm and funny, and very sweet. It is a Christian novel, but even when the Bible is quoted it is in context and with a comparatively light hand.
"God's in control, right?"
[edited for clarity]"Right now it feels like SpongeBob is in control."
None of the characters are perfect or consistently sweetness-and-light, which is never a bad thing.
Something like this would never happen to [Sophie], because the singing birds that flew around her head like a happy halo would never allow it.
It's a quick read, yet with a bit of heart to it. The widower with the adorable son is not exploited for pathos nearly as badly as a lesser writer might have done: their situation is in fact understated and touching.
However … This author's God takes a much more direct hand in folks' lives than anything I've ever experienced. The idea that if you turn away from what you're Supposed To Be Doing, what you're Meant To Be Doing, God will let you know with the clarity of a slap upside the head… In my life, God has never given any appearance of giving a flying fig that I'm under-employed at a dull office instead of writing or drawing or sitting up to my ears in books in some research library. So how am I supposed to interpret that in light of this book, to apply this book to my life? I'm not good enough at anything? Great. Thanks, Kristin Billerbeck's God. Suddenly what was a light, sweet book becomes really depressing.
Still, I liked it. It was sweet, and though the end was never in any doubt how it would come about was. I liked the main characters; they weren't perfect, but they were pretty believably human. The hateful are (somewhat) redeemed or punished; the good are rewarded. One of the best lines of the book was this, from the sister of the widower: "Now you're judging people by what they wear and they drive? If Spike doesn't drive a sedan, he's not husband material? Seriously, that's Christian?" That's a wonderful thing to find here.
And this book gave me the phrase "everyone and their turtle", which I have yet to use – but I will.
Other quotes I couldn't resist making note of:
As if Kensie would believe Daphne had any nightlife to speak of. On a Friday night, Daphne was either at the archery range or testing scents in her home office – maybe if she was really feeling wild, she'd knit.
He wouldn't blame Daphne if she wouldn't give him the hot air off her breakfast after the way he'd treated her.
"I have developed an aversion to all things tulle."
ETA: This will be the last review I do for Booksneeze. I just found they're promoting a book of, of all things, Sarah bleeding Palin quotations. The one review it's earned so far was so glowy and gushy that it made me even more nauseated than the knowledge of the book itself. That a website claiming to promote Christian books would include this thing on its shelves outrages me, and I want nothing more to do with them.