The Perfume Collector
by Kathleen Tessaro
published by Harper
An inheritance from a mysterious stranger . . .
An abandoned perfume shop on the Left Bank of Paris . . .
And three exquisite perfumes that hold a memory . . . and a secret
London, 1955: Grace Monroe is a fortunate young woman. Despite her sheltered upbringing in Oxford, her recent marriage has thrust her into the heart of London’s most refined and ambitious social circles. However, playing the role of the sophisticated socialite her husband would like her to be doesn’t come easily to her—and perhaps never will.
Then one evening a letter arrives from France that will change everything. Grace has received an inheritance. There’s only one problem: she has never heard of her benefactor, the mysterious Eva d’Orsey.
So begins a journey that takes Grace to Paris in search of Eva. There, in a long-abandoned perfume shop on the Left Bank, she discovers the seductive world of perfumers and their muses, and a surprising, complex love story. Told by invoking the three distinctive perfumes she inspired, Eva d’Orsey’s story weaves through the decades, from 1920s New York to Monte Carlo, Paris, and London.
But these three perfumes hold secrets. And as Eva’s past and Grace’s future intersect, Grace realizes she must choose between the life she thinks she should live and the person she is truly meant to be.
Illuminating the lives and challenging times of two fascinating women,The Perfume Collector weaves a haunting, imaginative, and beautifully written tale filled with passion and possibility, heartbreak and hope.
I was very excited to start reading this book and I was definitely not disappointed! The author has given her readers a beautifully written work of historical fiction.
This novel intertwines the stories of Grace Munroe, a young british socialite in the 1950’s and of the mysterious Eva D’Orsey, who has made Grace her sole heir. When Grace is informed that Eva, a woman she has never heard of before, has passed away and left her entire estate to Grace, she travels from London to Paris, to learn more about her.
The author takes us through the lives of these to wonderful characters, bringing the setting of New York in the 1920’s and Paris in the 1950’s to life. She gives us a wonderful cast of characters, especially Eva and Grace.
As part of Eva’s story, we learn about the art of perfume making. I found this part so interesting. I would love to have a perfume that was made especially for me-that takes my nature and personality into account. While I was in Bermuda last month, we happened upon a small perfumery, called Lili Bermuda. They make only a handful of perfumes and they take you through each perfume and explain what the major factor is in the scent. Being the best husband in the entire world, John bought me the one I loved called Fresh Water. I love it, and I was reminded of that special feeling while I read this book.
I would definitely recommend The Perfume Collector!
Please head over to She Reads and see some of the other wonderful reviews of The Perfume Collector @ http://www.shereads.org/2013/08/august-book-club-selection-3/
4.5 out of 5