Thursday, August 1, 2013

Julie's Review: The Perfume Collector

Summary:   remarkable novel about secrets, desire, memory, passion, and possibility. Newlywed Grace Monroe doesn't fit anyone's expectations of a successful 1950s London socialite, least of all her own. When she receives an unexpected inheritance from a complete stranger, Madame Eva d'Orsey, Grace is drawn to uncover the identity of her mysterious benefactor. Weaving through the decades, from 1920s New York to Monte Carlo, Paris, and London, the story Grace uncovers is that of an extraordinary women who inspired one of Paris's greatest perfumers. Immortalized in three evocative perfumes, Eva d'Orsey's history will transform Grace's life forever, forcing her to choose between the woman she is expected to be and the person she really is. The Perfume Collector explores the complex and obsessive love between muse and artist, and the tremendous power of memory and scent.

Review: The Perfume Collector is a historical fiction novel that takes place in both the 1920s (Eva's story) and the 1950s (Grace's story) intersecting in a very obvious way. While any astute reader will figure it out quickly, I thoroughly enjoyed the journey. I enjoyed both characters immensely, but I will admit I wanted Grace to figure it out on her own rather than having it all laid out in front of her. I loved watching her spread her wings and find her true path in life.

This is the 2nd book I've read recently that has dealt with perfume making on some level. I have to say I am very much now intrigued about having a custom scent. I will say though that one perfume smells one way on someone and completely different on another because of body chemistry. I found it so interesting how a perfume should be subtle and bring out your natural scent, not cover it up.

Ms. Tessaro did a great job of evoking smells for me while reading this novel. There were times during the novel when you could smell the scents she was describing. It was a unique experience for me. The story of Eva isn't one that is unusual but it is one that I found myself wanting more of throughout the novel. She is a character that is intriguing. Grace is one that begins as a mousy young woman and then begins to find her legs as she blossoms.

For those who enjoy historical fiction, then this is one for you. For those of you who don't but enjoy a great story, then you should read it as well.

Final Take: 4.25/5

 Thanks to HarperCollins and the SheReads Book Club for my copy of the novel.



Beth Hoffman August 1, 2013 at 12:31 PM  

I've been curious about this book since I first heard about it. Your review is terrific, I'll definitely add this to my list!

DoingDewey August 6, 2013 at 12:57 PM  

I found Eva's character very intriguing as well! She just seems so precocious at the beginning that I liked her right off :)

If you're interested in the idea of making perfume, I'd recommend The Perfect Scent. It's the story of how two different perfumes were made and I thought it was fascinating companion read to The Perfume Collector.

Anonymous ,  August 24, 2013 at 4:47 PM  

I liked this one a lot. Eva's story in particular was really compelling to me. Glad you enjoyed it too!

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