Sara Sheridan: On the Scent of Untold Riches

There cannot be many novelists in the world who have a sideline in perfume production, but Sara Sheridan is one of them. The Edinburgh-based author runs a company named Reek whose scents celebrate ‘powerful, unapologetic women’ and their often-overlooked stories. This passion for the evocative qualities of perfume has been of particular use in researching The Fair Botanists, a thrilling historical novel that Sheridan launched at the 2021 Edinburgh International Book Festival. It is 1822 and at the newly created Botanical Garden in Edinburgh there is high excitement as an Agave Americana plant is busy throwing up a vast flower stem in an extraordinary, once-in-a-generation event. Observing this unfolding spectacle are Belle Brodie, who’s passionate about the art of perfume creation, and newly widowed Elizabeth, intent on making a new life in Edinburgh. What is the secret behind Belle’s fascination with the flowering Agave? Packed with entertaining scandal and intrigue, The Fair Botanists is a major achievement for this beloved stalwart of the Edinburgh literary scene, and Sheridan discusses it in this event, filmed live at the 2021 Book Festival, with journalist Jackie McGlone.

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