Fleeing persecution in 1960s America, a Black couple seeks asylum in Ghana, but fresh dangers and old secrets threaten their newfound freedom in this hypnotic debut novel.
December 26, 1965, Alabama, the fateful night that triggers an avalanche of events that turn newly engaged couple, Melvin and Bernadette, into fugitives. A pitstop in the wrong part of town ends with blood on their hands, and Melvin decides they must flee the country in order to survive. Bernadette, who’s hiding a secret from her fiancé, reluctantly agrees. With a persistent F.B.I. agent on their trail, they travel to Ghana to seek the help of Melvin’s old college friend, who happens to be the country's embattled president, Kwame Nkrumah.
The couple’s chance encounter with Ghana’s most beloved Highlife musician, Kwesi Kwayson, who’s on his way to perform for the president, sparks a journey full of suspense, lust, magic, and danger as Nkrumah’s regime crumbles around them. What was meant to be a fresh start quickly spirals into chaos. Kwesi and Bernadette's undeniable attraction and otherwordly bond cascades during their three-day trek, and so does Melvin's intense jealousy. All three must confront each other and their secrets, setting off a series of cataclysmic events.
Steeped in the history and mythologies of West Africa, at the intersection of the civil rights movement in the United States, The Scent of Burnt Flowers merges political intrigue, magical encounters, and forbidden romance in an epic collision of love, morality, and power.