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Introducing Sinmisola Ogunyinka, an Inspirational Author. To get her books and many more of Sinmisola Ogunyinka's books, please visit Amazon or her website.
The Scent of Water is a dreamy book that will leave you with a goody-goody feeling after you turn last page. A well-written, well-thought out Nigerian Inspirational romance, pretty much like a blast of cool fresh water on a hot sunny day.
The story: Scent of Water, set in Calabar and Lagos, captured the life of a single young lady and an inmate in a federal prison. What started as a dream and a deep conviction to follow through with the dream, after she saw a physical manifestation of it, turned into a pursuit of love and destiny. Unlike most romance novels that set up an eligible or available bachelor with a Spinster, what sets this novel apart from the norm is that we cannot immediately romanticize the idea of a God-loving beautiful woman and a thin, underfed scraggly looking criminal. He unfortunately is our hero and that debunks the idea of the gooey goody feeling inside. Nobody wants a prisoner as a romantic hero.
That exactly is what will draw you in. You will be hungry to see the transformation of this condemned criminal; physically, morally and spiritually. How would he change and would we accept the change? Would it be believable enough for us? Would he eventually fit into the romantic stereotype? Then the question of how he got into the prison and why the heroine, Esam, had the dream the way she did would be uppermost in our minds.
Esam had a dream about a condemned prisoner. It was so vivid it startled her out of sleep. She dismissed it as just a dream until she saw a replay of the same dream, the same person she saw in the dream, the hero, Mike Dabi, on network television. There and then she knew it was no ordinary dream. She was on a quest to find the meaning of her dream and how it became connected with this stranger in the prison. That conviction was what drove her to meet with Mike Dabi, the prisoner and our eventual tall, dark and handsome hero.
What you will love about the plot is the uncertainties in the beginning, several cliffhangers in the middle and of course an amicable end. The twists and turns came with Mike's past as a chronic unbeliever, a convicted murderer, drunk-driver and a one-time millionaire with a gold-digging wife. Esam's past as a faithful child of God full of zeal, a widow who was traded off in marriage to a man twice her age, raped several times by her step-son and unable to bear children. Sinmisola brought these two characters together in a clever way.
There's nothing in the snippet below to set off a romantic rendezvous:
“You are in God’s agenda. I know; that’s why he sent me to you. He wants to deliver you…”
“Who do you think you are?” He stood up slowly, glaring at her.
“I saw you in my dream. God revealed you to me. He wants to help you. He loves you… ,” she said, pleadingly looking at him.
“Stop it!” he screamed, covering his ears. “I don’t want to hear about your God.”
“Sit down, 1106.” The warden stood up and started toward them.
“Get out of here before I kill you, and don’t ever come back!” Mike banged on the table. The warden reached him and slapped handcuffs on his wrists, pushing him away.
“Please, please give God a chance.” Esam broke down and wept as the prisoner was led away.
As you can see, there can be no sparks, physical contact or candle-lit dinners. So what exactly can bring these two together? A dream. That's what. Sinmisola cleverly crafted scenarios upon scenarios where we are unable to tell the outcome of the story. The intrigue of money laundering, the Nigerian justice system, betrayals, lusts, greed, men and women who preyed on their spouses and family for the sake of money; against a godly family who live daily by faith, who believe in the power of prayer, who are full of integrity, hope and love for their fellow mankind.
The only issue with the plot was the information dump in the middle when Esam's twin sister was on an investigative mission to Ilesa. It was good geography of the western parts of the country but it was a tad long and felt it was not absolutely necessary to the plot nor did it move the plot forward in any way.
The Style/Voice: This is where we believe Sinmisola will be set apart from many contemporary African Inspirational writers. She has this uncanny ability to delve deep into the emotions of her characters, skillfully connect with her readers and reveal them to us. She has used her writing skill to opt out of the Authorial intrusion and engage us scene after scene rather than narrate the story in a lifeless way. Her delivery of the scenes are apt and remarkable.
As she moved slowly from Mike and Esam's first tense meeting, as showcased above, to the softening of their hearts towards each other, we are carried along every step of the way. She employed the right words and body language to convey their emotions and really, you will feel every emotion the characters felt. Her command of the English language is commendable.
She has a unique voice in not shying away from the good, the bad and the downright gory episodes in the life of her characters. She is bold and assertive in her writing and presentation. She made a clear distinction between the way she presented the hero and heroine through their dialogue, attitude and body language.
Her prowess lies in creating a dreamy but realistic romantic atmosphere, with the sensitivity of our Christian faith, without being graphic. She knew where to put a full stop to suggestive scenes. That is the challenge a lot of Christian Inspirational writers face; how to write romance without being too explicit in the love scenes that would make you squirm. It also was not full of verbose language or adverbs, common to most romance novel, that merely force you to feel the emotions. And my most favorite part of it is when the emotional walls broke down between the two of them. The Epilogue was apt and fitting.
The Message: The message of hope, grace, forgiveness, love and redemption is at the core of this book. How does a condemned prisoner end up not just regaining his freedom but getting back all he lost, acquitted from a life sentence for a crime he did not consciously commit, being forgiven by God and accepted into God's intimate circle. Plus, falling in love with a virtuous and godly woman. The answer is GRACE. There is nobody that God cannot redeem, no matter your past. You are not gone past redemption.
Please grab a copy of her book from Amazon and Debonair bookstore, Lagos.
You can get her books from Amazon or visit her website to learn more about her.