Book Review – Secrets of Aromatherapy by Jennie Harding.

3 out of 5 stars

I would like to thank Quarto Publishing Group – Ivy Press for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book, via Netgalley, in exchange for an open and honest review.

Now this is another one of those books I read all the way back at the start of the year (yes, it’s April and I am already thinking of January as eons ago) but am only now leaving a review. Sorry, it seems to have slipped through the cracks and so I have no real excuses as to why it’s taken me so long to pull my finger out and chat about it. It’s not that it was a terrible book or anything like that… I just forgot. Part of my perfectly imperfect role modelling. 😉

Okay, so I found the first part of the ‘Secrets of Aromatherapy’ quite interesting – The history of aromatherapy itself, how it’s been brought into the modern day and so on. But when the book discusses different herbs, and how/ when to use them, I found the formatting a little too cluttered and chaotic. Plus there was no real method to its organisation for me… but this is ME and maybe I missed something and should have been paying more attention in the section that discusses how the book is laid out? I just found ‘Secrets of Aromatherapy’ jumped about to different plants and herbs with no real connection. Maybe because I am into herbalism I was seeking an alphabetic list (by Latin or English names)? Maybe if it worked on parts of the body or moods grouped together? I don’t know. Each page held interest to me, but I just got annoyed in the higgledy piggledy organisation. For me, this is not a book to thumb through to find the right section; you would need to refer to the index each time.

BUT! Please don’t take this as a negative or meaning the ‘Secrets of Aromatherapy’ is a terrible book. No, it was an enjoyable read… I just had to ignore its seeming lack of consistency in where things went. Jumping back and forth between herbs and applications/ treatments just didn’t gel with me. The actual information – very good. How it was laid out – not so good.

I also do feel ‘Secrets of Aromatherapy’ is more a book for those already into remedial massage and the use of Aromatic herbs and oils. As I beginner I often got lost in how to massage, treatments, etc. Yes there were some clear, step by step instructions… but I just didn’t feel comfortable in giving them a go as I know you can actually do more harm than good with such remedies of you don’t know what you’re doing. And as I will raise my hand to the “I don’t know what I’m doing” question, I feel this book is better suited to be left to those with more experience in Aromatherapy. We newbies need a more basic book.

All in all, lovely images, some really good information, but not the best layout and not at my basic skill level.

Secrets of Aromatherapy

Would you recommend this book to others?

Maybe? I would definitely mention it if the topic of Aromatherapy arose in conversation and even say nice things about it. But this isn’t one of those books I am going to use as a conversation starter with anyone silly enough to meet my frantic gaze when I’m in a book sharing mood.

And I would mention the issues I had with it and state I feel you need to know what you’re doing when it comes to aromatherapy to get the best out of this book.

Would I buy this book for myself?


Sadly no. I mean, if I saw it in the library I might re-read it and see if I could improve some of my knowledge and skills regarding aromatherapy… but this is not the book for me. And not because it is a bad book, but because I don’t feel I am at the right skill set to use it. Those already working in aromatherapy will no doubt get far more out of it than I did.

In summary: An interesting look into aromatherapy, where it comes from and how to use it today.

Until next time,



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