Every woman in town is buzzing about “him”—the new man on Pepper MacNeil’s mail delivery route—and it’s easy to see why. Standing high atop his old Georgian fixer-up, bare-chested and muscles gleaming, John Smith is a sight to behold. Besides knowing how to shingle a roof—and unhinge the local ladies—he can’t help flirting with his friendly neighborhood mail carrier. Pepper is charmed, and definitely interested. But when she finds a perfume-scented letter in John’s mail, she wonders what kind of romantic secrets he’s hiding. Pepper has secrets, too. But is she ready to open her heart to John? Fortunately, when it comes to love, this man can deliver…
This blurb came from Amazon.
Originally published in 1986 as Jasmine Sorcery, the newly released digital version received a new title hoping to avoid genre confusion with all of the paranormal romances. This is the second of two Barbara Delinsky classics that I volunteered to review. You can find my review of the first one Straight From the Heart here.
I have to say that I fell in love with the neighborhood and most of the supporting characters in the very first chapter. I loved how all of them men and women had to find out if Pepper had met “him” yet. I also really liked how Pepper’s mental image of “him” was fleshed out and changed with each succeeding neighbors’ comments. Then when Pepper got to see “him” for the first time seeing her thoughts were just icing on the cake. Those same neighbors provided a sense of continuity and caring as Pepper and John’s world changed.
Again, John met the requirements for category hero; older, burned by marriage once, knew what he wanted when he spotted it, and willing to be patient about getting it. John provided me with several laughs as he plotted his way into Pepper’s heart. I was surprised by his blind spots given how much attention he paid towards enticing her. Pepper had so much that she didn’t talk about or skated over during their “getting to know you” conversations that I would have expected John to be a little more cautious about pushing her emotionally.
Pepper was quite a contradiction. She interacted with people easily in a manner that led them to open up to her yet she never opened up to them beyond the surface. Even her bond with her good friend was tightly restricted when it came to Pepper’s feelings and much of her past. She had such a drive and desire for romance when it was expressed in great works of music yet she had shut down that entire portion of her life so she was both worldly and innocent at the same time.
I much preferred John as a character because he lived life and did everything possible to make things happen while Pepper pretty much let life live her. Whenever she seemed to be getting too attached she would leave and start over someplace else. Start entirely over including changing jobs to one that had nothing to do with her previous job. Granted some of John’s methods to get information would be illegal and stalkerish today, it was evident that he would have been horrified at that description. Pepper did show some gumption towards the end of the book when she decided to try to answer some questions left lingering from her childhood but she still struck me as emotionally immature.
I did enjoy most of John and Pepper’s interactions together and the lovely small town setting. Ms Delinsky provided me with some laughs and an overall entertaining if light read.
I give The Scent of Jasmine a C+/B-
Links to purchase