Our resident book and novel expert, Ashleigh Ray, received an advance copy of Jan Moran's latest book, Scent of Triumph, which was released on March 31. After reading the book from cover to cover, find out the scoop on whether Ashleigh thinks this book from Moran's collection is worth the read.
Overall Assessment: Overall, Scent of Triumph is an enjoyable book despite a few style preferences and choices made purposefully by the author. Moran created a story that captivates the reader. However underneath a more skeptical eye, the novel’s flaws will appear. 3 out of 5 stars to anyone who enjoys dramatic romance and historical fiction.
The plot of Scent of Triumph is engaging within the first few pages, drawing the reader in with the hint of romance in the midst of war. The events of the story take place during World War II after the Nazis invaded Poland -- strategically placing this novel under the label of historical fiction. While not usually the one to read historical fiction -- as it usually buries the reader beneath facts and dates that they could care less about, this story made us reconsider our stance against the genre. Moran made us interested in the lives of her characters. She had us rooting for their safety and for their happiness. Within the first few pages, we were ready to commit ourselves to the romance and drama of Danielle Bretancourt’s life.
Despite much praise, beware as the style of this book may catch you off guard.
The first line alone gave such an air of pretension that we had to put it down -- only to pick it back up to re-engage in more pretentious tones given off by the narrator. For the reader, this pretension may be derived from the overly dramatized tone and longer-than-necessary descriptions. This tone evens out as the story goes on, but the author still tends to over-describe the settings in her stories. Sometimes brevity is best. Some readers appreciate a nice balance between what the writer tells them and what they are allowed to imagine for themselves. Unfortunately, Moran dissolves the fun, leaving little to the imagination. However, we understand that this is only a matter of personal taste.
Another slight but looming issue comes from the main character. Despite Danielle’s virtues and talents, she seemed almost too perfect. She is the ideal woman living a charmed life. This is reinforced by the fact that she never really has to deal with the difficult situations in her life; instead, something convenient occurs to draw her away from the difficulty. This is a common theme with writers.
Whenever the author finds his or herself in a difficult plot line, he/she writes themselves out of it, rather than riding out the tension and seeing what comes of it. I think that Danielle would have been a much stronger character had she been given the chance to grow in these situations.
Other than these minor flaws, this book comes just in time for the summer -- heading the warmer weather with an enjoyable romance laced with historical fiction. We rate this novel 3 out of 5.