The Secret of a Heart Note by Stacey Lee
Release Date // December 27th 2016
Publisher // Katherine Tegen Books
Goodreads // Amazon // Book Depository
An evocative novel about a teen aroma expert who uses her extrasensitive sense of smell to mix perfumes that help others fall in love while protecting her own heart at all costs
Sometimes love is right under your nose. As one of only two aromateurs left on the planet, sixteen-year-old Mimosa knows what her future holds: a lifetime of weeding, mixing love elixirs, and matchmaking—all while remaining incurably alone. For Mim, the rules are clear: falling in love would render her nose useless, taking away her one great talent. Still, Mimosa doesn’t want to spend her life elbow-deep in soil and begonias. She dreams of a normal high school experience with friends, sports practices, debate club, and even a boyfriend. But when she accidentally gives an elixir to the wrong woman and has to rely on the lovesick woman’s son, the school soccer star, to help fix the situation, Mim quickly begins to realize that falling in love isn’t always a choice you can make.
At once hopeful, funny, and romantic, Stacey Lee’s The Secret of a Heart Note is a richly evocative coming-of-age story that gives a fresh perspective on falling in love and finding one’s place in the world.
Let’s Gab //
Sometimes, you just really need a feel-good book with a sweet main character and an even sweeter love interest. The Secret of a Heart Note completely delivered.
Going in, I had fairly high hopes. Many other bloggers had read and loved this book, and I wanted to as well. It definitely didn’t disappoint! It took me a long time to get through (I blame it on a mix of finals stress and getting sick), but it was a really great read nonetheless.
Plus, Stacey is a local author (yay bay area!!) which is always great.
The Secret of a Heart Note was a completely satisfying story. It had just the right amounts of well developed main and side characters, plot, romance, family, and fantastical elements.
Mim // I feel like we really were able to get to know Mim, her perspectives, motivations, and desires. I really appreciate a well written main character, and Mim was one of my favorites. She has lived a pretty sheltered life, but after begging her mother, she is finally allowed to go to high school. I feel like that made her a really sweet and genuine character, and I loved reading from her perspective.
Scents // The key aspect of the story is that Mim and her mother are Aromateurs, whose life’s calling is to mix together elixers from flowers and plants to help open people’s hearts and minds to the prospect of falling in love. This means Mim has an amazing ability to smell emotions and heart notes on people. Her powerful sense of smell creates an incredibly descriptive novel, which makes reading this book an experience of the senses in itself.
Romance // Mim has always known that falling in love in forbidden: fall in love and she would lose her nose. Court, the son of a woman mistakenly given an elixer meant for someone else, challenges her lifelong knowledge that she simply cannot let herself fall in love, ever. As she gets to know Court, she begins to realize that love might be out of her control, and might even be worth the sacrifice. Court is the jock of the school, the best soccer player, who is really sweet. I really like how they get to know each other as they work together to solve the problem of his mother’s accidental “fixing” by Mim. 10/10 adorable romance, basically.
Family // It seems like the family relationships are just as important as the romantic one, which I always love. Mim grew up with it being just her and her mother against the world. Her best friend Kali came in to the picture when she was closer to high school age, but besides that it’s always been just her and her mom. I loved seeing her and her mother’s relationship go through some rocky patches but come out stronger. They both opened emotionally, which was great. Her aunt Bryony comes into the story too, which I liked because her character was really fun.
Overall, The Secret of a Heart Note was absolutely lovely. It is richly descriptive, heartfelt, and genuine. The characters are wonderful and sweet, and you can’t help but root for Mim the whole time. I finished the story feeling content. In this fairly stressful time, I really appreciate a book that can leave me feeling happy, and The Secret of a Heart Note did just that.
If you’re in the mood for a feel-good book that is full of decadent descriptions and sweet characters, you’ll love The Secret of a Heart Note. I would recommend it to fans of Emma Mills and Nicola Yoon.
Goodreads // Amazon // Book Depository
Overall rating: 4 out of 5 roses
About the author // Stacey Lee is a fourth-generation Californian who graduated from UCLA and for her law degree at UC Davis School of Law. After discovering her synesthetic ability to smell musical notes, she dabbled in natural perfumery, collected over one hundred bottled botanicals (her favorite is clary sage), and found the inspiration to write this novel. Stacey plays classical piano and lives with her husband and two children outside San Francisco, California. You can visit her online at www.staceyhlee.com.