Book: The Scent of Jasmine

"The Scent of Jasmine" by Jude DeverauxWould you risk your life–on the love of a lifetime?

Charleston, 1799: A daughter of Southern gentility and a gifted painter, Catherine Edilean Harcourt has no lack of suitors at home in Virginia, waiting to fulfill her dream of marriage and family. But Cay’s adventurous spirit, fostered by growing up with her three brothers, is piqued while visiting her godfather in South Carolina. Bedridden with a broken leg, he asks Cay to fill in for him on an urgent task: on her way to a fancy dress ball, she must deliver a packed horse to an old friend’s son–who also happens to be an escaped convict charged with murdering his wife! Cay agrees to the plan, which doesn’t go at all as planned . . . whereupon she finds herself fleeing Alexander McDowell’s captors, riding blind into the night with the fugitive Scotsman. Though she should fear him, Cay finds herself overwhelmingly attracted to Alex, and drawn into his tale of misguided justice and his innocence as they seek refuge in the steamy Florida everglades. Will trusting him be the worst mistake of her life? Or will falling in love be the salvation both of them have been looking for?

The last time I read a Jude Deveraux novel, I was looking to cleanse my book-reading palate. My other reason, I was trying to study romance. This time, there’s no palate to cleanse as I haven’t been reading a lot–but I am still trying to study romance. And I picked Jude Deveraux once more because I find it easy to read her book. It took me around six hours to finish this one.

The Scent of Jasmine is the fourth book off her Edilean series, and it is this book that makes Miss Deveraux’s formula for a successful series most apparent.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that almost all of Miss Deveraux’s books have something to do with a feisty heroine, a wronged hero, and a comic relief here and there. Usually, the setting has a lot of people you would grow to love as well, people you would want to read about next. But that’s where The Scent of Jasmine changed courses.

The book centers on the two main leads. And while you do get introduced to other characters, they play very minimal roles. This time, Miss Deveraux doesn’t support her leads with quirky and lovable characters you’ll grow to love as well. The author just gave the basics for a love story to work: a man and a woman. Sure the feisty heroine and the wronged hero archetypes are in full force, but Miss Deveraux still manages to weave her magic and make this story seem something you’ve only now encountered.

So no, when I wrote that this book made the author’s formula very apparent, it wasn’t because The Scent of Jasmine was very formulaic–though, aren’t all romance novels that? What I meant was that the book takes off in a refreshing way that makes you see how standard her previous books were. The book still has the author’s voice, but she’s also breaking her mold at the same time.

And because of this, I want to read whatever Miss Deveraux writes next–even if it’s just to see how she tops this one.