Scent of Water by Sinmisola Ogunyinka

Scent of Water

Genre Fiction: Inspirational romance and suspense.

Blurb “Paediatrician Esam Bassey thought she had everything she ever wanted in life — a thriving career, a house of her own, and a children’s ministry that provides her with a sense of purpose and meaning. All of that changed one day when a prisoner named Mike Dabi appears in a disturbing dream. With her once staid existence transformed into a realm of mystery and uncertainty, the timid, lonely paediatrician sets out to discover its meaning — and ends up finding love in the unlikeliest place.”

Dialogue Well written in English language and several Nigerian languages.

Themes Love, God, Religion, Injustice, Betrayal, Good vs Evil and Culture.

Editing Some errors.

Plot Esam Bassey, a beautiful paediatrician is already a widow in her mid-thirties after a loveless 7-year marriage. Her life is routine, work-church-home. One night, she has a dream about a prisoner. She later sees the same prisoner on TV. This leads her to visit the prison in Calabar with her church’s prison outreach where she sees the same prisoner from her dreams, Michael Dabi, serving a sentence for a conviction for manslaughter. Esam is drawn to Michael for inexplicable reasons considering how rudely he treats her and rebuffs her attempts to befriend and help him. Her persistence pays off, and she is able to gain his trust but things are complicated as Michael is married. Fate brought Esam and Michael together, in saving Michael, she also found and saved herself.

What worked? This is an engaging inspirational romance story with an intriguing and unusual plot set in Calabar and Lagos. Written in third person, in an easy to follow manner, Scent of Water is a well-researched, well-written, multi-layered and intriguing book. Although it is inspirational romance, it touches on several aspects of life; the culture of the Efik people, the health system, the workings of the Nigerian prison and justice system, the cultural dynamics of an arranged marriage and widowhood.

The strength in this book is its plot and characters (except from some characters we didn’t have to know about). The characters for both our protagonists were well developed. They were multidimensional and real. Michael’s character was unpredictable and his story as it unfolds is compelling. We see Esam change from the quiet widow paediatrician whose decisions were always made for her to a strong-willed woman.

Most scenes were well-written and thought out so you can picture it playing out as though it’s a movie. In fact, Mo picked this book as one of ten books we’ll love to see on TV.

Mo I liked that the themes didn’t take a secondary role to one another. This is as much a romance as it is a suspense story. This is a story about redemption, healing, love and a second chance at life for both our major characters. And ultimately, the message of hope that this book represents.

Lady B Having read so many contemporary romance novels over time, it’s nice to find one with an unusual plot. Sinmisola’s writing draws you in and makes you feel. She is a talented storyteller. The story is inspirational romance so there is a lot of reference to Christianity as a backdrop to the it.

What didn’t work?

Mo The first two thirds of the book was well written but the remaining one third – as well intentioned as it is – seemed to lose steam compared to the flow of the rest of the book. It became inharmonious.

Sinmisola made use of a lot of detailing, but sometimes these descriptions tended to run off.

Lady B I think the book would have been better if parts of it were removed. In the middle of the story, it veers off into a sub plot about two characters who don’t tie into the story in anyway. This killed the momentum of the story and added nothing to it.

There seems to have been a mix up on timing at the end. A loan repayable in months was paid up about 2 years later but still paid on time.

Lastly, there was a factual error about a divorce which should have been an annulment.

Number of pages 854 on Okadabooks.

Publisher Authorhouse Inc.

Damage N500 on Okadabooks.

Rating 7/10.

Scent of Water is available on Amazon and Okadabooks.

What do you think about inspirational romance novels? Have you read Scent of Water? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

4 replies

  1. I don’t usually read inspirational romance just because I find most of them very ‘preachy’ and not actually telling a story. I don’t ever want to be preached to in any fiction I read, I just want a story that shares a message if it’s inspirational fiction.
    I however am very intrigued following this review and I’ve added this book to my TR pile.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I don’t read a lot of inspirational romance either. This one has a good plot overall. I hope you enjoy reading it when you get to it. Please let us know what you think. Cheers.

      Liked by 1 person