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Review: "Underlying Notes" by Eva Pasco

Underlying Notes may be purchased in ebook and paperback formats at BookLocker. You can also get more information at author Eva Pasco's Facebook page.

Hot flashes, a 25-year marriage, unfulfilled career ambitions, a restless retirement, a large stash of amber liquid hidden in the basement, and a husband whose life work involves garbage collection all set the scene for an unlikely romance. However, Eva Pasco has managed to weave all these elements into an amusing story line that wanders here and there at a steady clip—a story line as enticing and unpredictable as the heroine, Carla Matteo.

Married for 25 years to the still buff and attractive Joe Matteo, Carla harbors a secret that puts her husband into a tailspin once he accidentally discovers the evidence. Carla must then come to terms with an issue that she buried and put behind her way back in the ‘60s. Now fiftyish and menopausal, she begins to reflect on her own mortality, the quality of her marriage, and her addiction to the amber liquid in the basement, all while dealing with the all-too obvious symptoms of menopause—the hot flashes. Addressing these issues and the fact that she has done little to cultivate friendships in recent years, Carla focuses on the areas of her life that need attention now that her time is finally her own.

Ms. Pasco amuses from the first line, choosing to start her story with a poetic yet accurate description of a menopausal hot flash, awakening our heroine to a sleepless contemplation of the day to day troubles endured by her loved ones. Finally giving up on sleep, Carla makes her way to the basement where she has her “ladies”—the bottles of amber liquid, her “drug of choice”. Ms. Pasco again amuses with the revelation that these liquids are perfumes—ergo, the title, a reference to the hints of this and that present in the fragrance of the perfume.

“Evening in Paris”, “Tabu”, “Shalimar” and “Youth Dew” took Carla (and me) on a trip down memory lane. The smell of these fragrances evoked an era in her life, sometimes down to the moment. As she matured, Carla developed a hankering for “Paloma Picasso” although she was not beyond deserting Paloma for a romp with “China Rose.” The latter accompanied her on her Date with Destiny, and in true Pasco fashion, Destiny and “China Rose” found their rightful place in Carla’s life, yielding a touching and unique ending.

Below is a painting by Janice Tarver inspired by Underlying Notes.  It is for sale at Etsy.

The Perfume Stash by Janice Tarver


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