The Scent of Forever


SUSPENSE/THRILLER:  Emotionally stuck, bestselling author Ann McConnell’s fertility issues dominate her life. They revealed the weaknesses in her marriage to Mike and led to their divorce. Ann’s best friend Maggie, who’s also an author, provides encouragement and comic relief as a loyal, sarcastic, uninhibited instigator of mischief. Together their friendship establishes the emotional foundation for this story about obsession and possession. Set in the U.S. and Scotland, “The Scent of Forever” follows Ann’s internal journey from passive and depressed divorcee to assertive self-advocate while she travels in search of answers to solve the mystery of the golden torc she finds buried on her ancestral property in Pennsylvania. 

Ann’s search leads her to Iona, where she encounters two men, painter William McDonnell and Nigel Lynch. Both challenge her in very different ways.

Julie Doherty seamlessly interweaves relationship drama, infertility grief, a treasure hunt, and supernatural elements with themes about parental rights and the entrenched nature of generations of everyday misogyny and predatory sexual behavior of the powerful against the powerless. While Ann’s infertility struggles and their consequences resonate as current and authentic, especially given recent public discussions, many plot threads such as maternal versus non-maternal women read as outdated. Ann’s ex-husband exhibits no redeeming qualities, making her seem like a helpless victim. Sexist attitudes and insults abound from both male and female characters. Fortunately, those outdated tropes don’t negate this story’s strengths. Flawless integration of mythical lore and scientific research about sensory memory with contemporary dilemmas and brisk narrative pacing make this a read to finish in one sitting. A provocative tale for fans of stories about spiritual growth across multiple lifetimes. 

Cardyn Brooks