Author: Paula Martin
Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
Buy Link: Buy Fragrance of Violets Here!
Rating: You Gotta Read
Reviewed By : Erin O’Quinn
Abbey remembers Jack from their time together as innocent high-school age kids, two happy-go-lucky friends who used to be inseparable. But ten years ago, something happened to alienate not just Abbey, but the entire village where she lives in the lovely setting of England’s Lake District. Can she and the villagers learn to forgive and forget? And can Jack overcome the guilt he feels at his own past mistakes? Above all, can Abbey and Jack come together as lovers, separated as they are not just by the years, but by their own secrets and personal griefs?
Fragrance of Violets is like one of those photos one sometimes sees in an album, a snapshot of two lovely people somewhere in a garden or standing next to an evocative old pub, a glimpse of laughing, romantic memories one wants to treasure.
The novel takes us to a village in the Lake District of present-day England, a setting treasured by the villagers of the book, for it is redolent of their rich history. Like small-town people everywhere, they are close to being an entity unto themselves–a group of people who seem to have a common dislike for one person in particular. That person is Jack, a good-looking journalist in his late twenties, a home town fellow who once did something that the villagers will never forget or forgive. By mean of an article published ten years prior, he made it impossible for the townspeople to receive a grant to preserve one of their treasured buildings; instead, the needed funds had to be painstakingly raised by them, and they still resent it.
Returning after ten years, Jack finds that the bitterness has remained in the minds of most of the townspeople. He has come back after the death of his fiancée to try to recover from deep feelings of guilt that he has caused her death–an accident on a Los Angeles freeway some few months before the events of the novel.
The attractive young woman Abbey, too, has reasons for not welcoming back this engaging man, but her feelings are more personal. Even though she and Jack had been fast friends for years in their heady younger days, Jack had tried one night to forcibly seduce her. After she repelled his advances, he told her that she had encouraged him. He had also hurt her deeply by telling her that she was emotionally crippled by feelings of hatred toward her father, who had left his family and become a virtual libertine.
Abby would never forget or forgive this man, nor would the people of the town. Paula Martin then weaves a neat story of how Jack wins back not only the affections of the townspeople but also renews in Abbey feelings of attraction and at last, genuine love.
Fragrance of Violets is a nimble and well-told story that engages the reader not only in the fast-moving events but also in the portraits of two likable people who have careened off each other in the past, meet again in a shudder of sparks, then carom off each other again in misunderstanding and distrust. The pacing is just right, for at the end all conflicts are resolved and the lovers can come together in passion–and finally, in deep and honest love.