Remembering – The Inspiration behind The Fragrance of Geraniums


This time of year always brings out the nostalgia in my soul. Perhaps it’s the falling leaves’ gentle reminder that this life is a vapor. Perhaps it’s the school children running for the bus, reminding me of a time not so long ago when I, too, scampered off to a classroom. Perhaps it’s many things all combining.

At any rate, I can’t but think how appropriate it is that my 1930s novel The Fragrance of Geraniums should release now, in November, the month of remembering. For it is rooted in memories, you see… Memories that belong to me – Memories that belong to those I love.

One of the strongest memories from my early childhood has found its way into this novel – into its very title, in fact. When I was a very little girl, my mother worked as a caregiver for an elderly man whose wife was named Alaina. This peppery eighty-something-year-old woman didn’t mind it when my mother brought me (book in hand, of course) with her to work at her house. Actually, Alaina seemed to enjoy having this very small girl trail her steps through her large, old-fashioned home.

One cold day, Alaina brought me upstairs, where dimly-lit hallways linked rarely-used rooms. She needed to water her geraniums, she said. She turned the brass knob on one of the dark wood doors… We stepped over the threshold… And the fragrance of geraniums met us.

I will never forget that scent. One whiff of the spicy, almost bitter, yet tantalizing smell draws me back to that bookshelf-lined room with drawn shades and row upon row of geraniums waiting on tables.

Waiting for their chance to bloom once more. They’d been cut down – nearly ruthlessly to my childish eyes. Utterly deflowered. But Alaina’s experienced hands knew what to do with geraniums – knew that, if left to themselves, they would die from the New England winter – knew that bringing them inside was not enough. They needed pruning to display their real, brilliant beauty when spring came again.

And the fragrance of geraniums always reminds of that – of autumn, of closed-up rooms, of dark-green stalky plants snipped down – and of the exquisite beauty that brokenness can create in each of us, if we let the Master Gardener have His way in our lives.


About Alicia:

A fourth-generation New England native, Alicia G. Ruggieri writes stories about the possibility of redemption for all things through the Cross and the cost of true mercy. With a degree in Communications and History, Alicia loves spending her days researching, writing, and caring for her family, and she avows that every life would be enriched through the addition of just one more dog.

The Fragrance of Geraniums, a historical Christian fiction novel, released November 13, 2014. You can find it on Amazon for Kindle and in paperback:

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