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Novel Appreciation "Hidden Scent"-- A Love Story To Remember

Updated on March 25, 2017

Paranormal Mystery Romance "Hidden Scent"


Young Kim’s father, a famous artist, suddenly dies in a drowning accident. He leaves all his fortune to a 22-year-old orphan, Ellin Yoon. A failed robbery attempt and the merciless slaying of the housekeeper unveil a deadly secret that the perished painter tried desperately to protect. As the body count continues to pile up, Young realizes his father has unleashed a supernatural phenomenon that kills. To save the one he loves, the hero comes face to face with the malicious, powerful, yet amorphous murderer...

Hidden Scent is a romantic, paranormal mystery that puts a prominent Chinese-American family on center stage.

Hidden Scent (Chinese Version-Fiberead Site)

"Hidden Scent" 《暗香》has been staying on the Amazon China Best-Selling New Novel List ever since it's release on October 28th, 2016

One day after the release of the English Version of the novel, an auspicious publishing company in China (Fiberead) acquires the right to translate Hidden Scent into Chinese. The book is now available to the Chinese readers worldwide.

Chinese Version - Hidden Scent 《暗香》

Author’s pick for the role of David Kim: Chow Yun-fat

Key Characters:

David Kim: an accomplished painter, who passes away in a drowning accident. In his youth, he leaves his birth country China, in searching of a better future in the United States. To steer his career onto a fast track, he marries a wealthy woman, whose family is well-positioned in the society. As result of the union, he easily gains recognition, fame and riches. As time goes by, a marriage without love starts to wear him out. Perchance, he meets a beautiful pianist and falls madly in love with her. However, she’s happily married with a young daughter. His infatuation with her drives his jealous wife to the edge, and one day, it all comes to a disastrous end…

Author’s pick for the role of Young Kim: Lee Min-ho

Young Kim: David Kim’s son and only heir, a 30-year-old novelist. His parents’ troubled marriage contributes to his miserable childhood. In addition to his suffering, he also harbors a horrible secret---he’s responsible for his older brother’s untimely demise. His gloomy life takes an unexpected turn after his father’s sudden death. Instead of his father’s massive fortune, he inherits a young woman, a bundle of “trouble” that he can’t seem to get rid of…

Ellin Yoon: a 22-year-old orphan, her parents pass away when she was 7. She has a rare medical condition, an ailment that is caused by sunlight. All her life, she spends in seclusion, receives no friends, no visitors. A mute housekeeper is the only person that lives in the mansion with her. Yet, despite of the isolation, Ellin remains optimistic. David Kim’s testament makes her the sole heiress of his wealth, and her new guardian is none other than Young Kim, one that is supposed to inherit the fortune…

Sandy Maze: the housekeeper, also David Kim’s loyal follower, faithful friend and secret admirer, a tragic figure in her own right. She knows how much David loves Ellin’s mother, still decides to stay by his side, conceals her feelings for him deep down inside. She looks after Ellin only because David needs her to do so. Her blind devotion takes a twisted toll as Young obtains the position as Ellin’s new guardian. Fearful of losing control over Ellin, she cooks up a murderous plot to eliminate the invader…

Author’s pick for the role of Jennifer Park: Joan Chen

Jennifer Park: Young’s mother, David Kim’s estranged-wife, she’s born into wealth, independent and bossy. She loves talented David even though she knows that he married her for her family status and wealth. David’s obsession with Ellin’s mother drives her to insanity. In a heat of raging jealousy, all hell breaks loose…

The Hero’s Fear:

The story begins with David Kim’s sudden death and the discussion about his funeral arrangement. Hero, Young Kim, the son of the perished painter is known to have a fear over funeral. In 30 years of his life, he has never been to one, and has no plan to attend one. It all starts with his older brother’s violent death 8 years prior. For long, he harbors a terrible secret---he “kills” him. The speculation torments Young to a degree that he believes he should spend the rest of his days in misery as payment of his sin. The second reason he refuses to go to a funeral is rather a touching one, he thinks if he does not attend, the person might still be alive, living happily somewhere in the world, save they cannot meet again. He keeps the deceased alive in his heart and memory. That is his way of dealing with the death of a loved one.

The Messages in the Dreams:

In Hidden Scent there are many dream sequences described vividly in details. Some recall the long forgotten memories. One in particular, after meeting the heroine for the first time, Young has a dream that night. He dreams of a boy proposing to a little girl as compensation for causing her to fall and scarring her face. The following morning, he returns to the mansion and notices a similar scar on Ellin’s face. Is it a simple coincidence or had they indeed met before?

Young also keeps having a reoccurring nightmare: a huge outdoor swimming pool ripples in the sun. The body of a little girl slowly sinks to the bottom of the pool. In a flash, the once crystal clear water smears in red. In reality, the swimming pool that haunts Young’s memory is no longer there. His father has long got rid of it. What does the man try to hide? Does that secret somehow connect to Ellin’s childhood memory loss?

The most disturbing dream sequence comes towards the end of the story: late at night, Young pursues Ellin to a snow covered open field. As he catches up with her, the snow under his feet instantly melts. He falls through into a lake... the real trouble is the drowning incident is no mere dream. This scene mirrors the accident of his father – death by sleepwalking, or perhaps a greater power is at work here, controlling the mind?

Swan Lake

Fairy-tale Connection:

Not all people want to admit the fact---a child lives inside each of us. Undeniably, no matter how many years have spent, we are always able to recall fondly those classic fairy tales and childhood bedside stories. In Hidden Scent, one of those tales that holds a special meaning is the story of Swan Lake. Like the swan princess, Ellin has to cover herself from head to toe whenever she’s out in the sun (due to a rare medical condition). She has no friends, no family, lives alone in a castle like mansion. Her only companion is a grave-mannered housekeeper, who hardly smiles and does not speak a word. She hungers for freedom, yet powerless to change her bleak situation. David Kim’s unexpected death brings Young into her dull life. As the hero gradually uncovers his father’s secret, Ellin’s prospect for a brighter future starts to look up. Parallel to the story line of Swan Lake, Young too has to defeat a terrible threat. And worse for him, the danger comes from multiple directions. He has to first conquer his own inner demon, confront not only his own fear, but also his father’s troublesome past. To save the woman he loves, he makes the ultimate sacrifice…

Mysterious Fate:

Fate works mysterious ways. David Kim makes up lies to preserve his image, whether for Ellin’s sake or for his own egoism. In the end, the lies snowball into a huge scandal. It pushes his poor wife to the edge of madness; sends his own child into the abyss of self-destruction; hurts the young girl he tries to protect and kills the one woman he truly loves. As his son, Young is forced to deal with the dilemma. Expose the truth will shatter his father’s reputation, and most importantly, it will destroy Ellin, who respects him as her hero, her savior. Every wrong is accompanied with a consequence. Young learns it the hard way - to break free from the vicious “curse”, he has to risk everything, including his own life.

Song "暗香" Hidden Scent

A Perfect Story for Big Screen

The title "Hidden Scent" is inspired by a popular Chinese song “An Xiang” (暗香). It brings out an artistic conception that fits the story line seamlessly.

The hero and heroine are second generation American-Born Chinese (the so called ABC) – with Asian background, and Western education. It’s interesting to learn about the cultural differences between West and East, and how they mingle perfectly together in this not so racial defined story. Young and Ellin both like cooking, developing Chinese style American food (less oil but tasty); enjoy music performed by international artists such as Sarah Brightman, Helmut Lotti, and Andre Rieu; read literature from countries outside of US; view the world with an open mind. In a way of thinking, they are more like American than Chinese.

In a traditional Chinese family, parents and grown children often live together. It’s not difficult to find a family with several generations living under the same roof. It helps preserve a tight relationship among family members. However, it can also spark conflicts within the group (due to different life style and interest). In the story Hidden Scent, Young and his mother share a close bond, but unlike a typical Chinese family they do not live together. He believes an old western saying: absence makes the heart grow fonder. Give each other space may be the best way to preserve a good relationship. He respects his mother, and tries his best to be an obedient son, but when it comes to love, he makes his own decision. Being a second generation Chinese-American, Young respects eastern philosophy, at the same time embraces western way of thinking. He's open-minded enough to accept the existence of supernatural phenomenon, on the other hand, he's courageous enough not to give in to fate. He believes anything is conceivable as long as one dares to challenge the so-called “impossible”.

Peter Jackson
Peter Jackson
Ang Lee
Ang Lee

Hidden Scent is not a traditional Chinese tale or a simple ghost story. It’s a paranormal mystery romance with depth. Beyond the color of the skin, beyond ethnic background, what we have here is a heartwarming tale about love, forgiveness and self-sacrifice, themes that surpass language, racial barrier and culture differences.

Today, stories with “Chinese Elements” are in popular demand. However, due to the gap between western and eastern viewpoint, very few projects actually satisfy the public’s interest. Hidden Scent combines eastern philosophy and western humanism, puts “Chinese Elements” to an apt use. Comparing to Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club and The Kitchen God’s Wife, Hidden Scent deviates from the path of exploring Traditional Chinese Culture, instead, casts a prominent, yet dysfunctional Chinese-American family in the heart of man-made disarray and adversity. Everyone has a secret to hide. In the process of uncovering the truth, morality is in danger of being forfeited.

Author’s pick for directing the project:

1st choice: Peter Jackson, his best-known work includes “The Lord of the Rings” Trilogy and “The Hobbit”.

2nd choice: Ang Lee, his work includes “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and “Brokeback Mountain”, he has yet challenged paranormal genre.

"暗香”, the song that inspire the novel Hidden Scent

Author's Pick for the Leading Roles

  1. David Kim: Chow Yun-fat (周润发)
  2. Jennifer Park: Joan Chen (陈冲)
  3. Young Kim:
  • 1st choice Lee Min-ho (李敏浩)
  • 2nd choice Jung Kyung-ho (郑京浩)

Hidden Scent Novel (English Version)


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