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Lorraine Haas
The Scent of Gardenias
The Scent of Gardenias is the heart-wrenching story of a young woman who seeks to escape an impoverished life. After eloping with an older man, tragedy strikes when he is killed in World War II. Now with a child to support, Margaret Rose continues to make poor choices by marrying again. A chance encounter with nurses in training takes her far from home, but she soon finds that life away from home is wrought with deception and heartache. Editor quote: "The Scent of Gardenias is a coming-of-age story full of love and loss. Impoverished Margaret chases the mirage of happiness behind a strong man and a white picket fence, but her dependence only brings her misery. This historical fiction set during WWII is sure to inspire women with its honest look at overcoming the sexist abuses of power, oppression, and hardships of that era." Marirose S., Line Editor, Red Adept Editing
Plot/Idea: 9 out of 10
Originality: 8 out of 10
Prose: 9 out of 10
Character/Execution: 9 out of 10
Overall: 8.75 out of 10


Plot: This is a wonderfully engaging story that is rich in detail with colorful characters that readers will come to love or hate. The depiction of life during wartime is authentic, and readers will fully empathize with Maggie as she struggles to adjust in the days after the Pearl Harbor bombing.

Prose: The author is a gifted writer whose prose effortlessly captures the historical era.

Originality: The Scent of Gardenias is a standout work of historical fiction that offers relatable characters, moving circumstances, and insight into a critical time in America's past.

Character/Execution: Characterization is one of the many strengths of this work, as each individual comes alive on the page. Headstrong and resilient Margaret, mean as a snake J.T. Locke, honorable Edsol, and a host of others bring texture and richness to the unfolding story.

Blurb: Filled with delightful and engaging characters, The Scent of Gardenias is a poignant page-turner.

Date Submitted: May 04, 2022

Novels Alive

Against a backdrop of poverty in the 1940s, Margaret Rose dreams of a different life. The choices she makes unfold within the pages of The Scent of Gardenias by Lorraine Haas.

Packed with family angst, the storyline highlights the main character’s tenacity and resilience against overwhelming odds. Margaret is a relatable character who strives for a better life but experiences a number of obstacles.

The writing is exceptional, providing a clear mental picture, so readers are transported to young Margaret’s side as she cuts her own switch for punishment. As an adult, her pain is palpable upon discovering her husband is unfaithful. Through it all, she pushes forward.

Her desire to become a nurse, born out of necessity in dealing with family injuries and few options for paid medical care, provides a possible career path. What stands out, though, is that just as it appeared the tide had turned, something always happened. The author deftly navigates a time period when women had few options for success.

The Scent of Gardenias provides a rich tale of historical fiction highlighting the trials of a woman who bucks the norm to blaze her own path. 

Five Stars

Readers' Favorite

I couldn’t put down The Scent of Gardenias.

Lorraine Haas writes about the struggles Margaret “Maggie” Rose Locke faces during World War II in her novel The Scent Of Gardenias: A Strong Woman Overcoming Circumstances Novel. Maggie wants to leave behind her childhood home and oppressive father. Lorraine Haas left out no details about Maggie’s teenage dreams to get away. The development of Maggie’s character is exceptional, and I could see how she grew as a person. This is a story about becoming self-sufficient despite facing adversity. I recommend this book to readers who enjoy a strong female character living in a difficult era that is realistically portrayed.