Title: The Perfume Collector: A Novel
Author: Kathleen Tessaro
Format: Hardcover, Paperback and eBook
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Genre: Historical Fiction
About the Book:
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.
With an eye for creating and interweaving the threads of a story through the evocative and intriguing use of three classic perfumes, Tessaro manages to tell a story in multiple parts, from variant perspectives to leave an impression that lingers like scent on the air.
Introducing Eva at the end of her life, and Grace in the midst of her marital crisis: the intersection of these two stories with the rather obvious connection between the two lives is told through the story of three scents and their development: over several decades in each woman’s life.
The one miss on characterization for me was in the two male characters that were prevalent in Grace’s life: her husband and her Parisian Solicitor. Both could have enhanced their impact in Grace’s journey with more development and strength of presence.
This is a fascinating look at the creation of perfume, and the elements that go into making that one scent that can trigger memories of those who encounter it. Additionally, Tessaro manages to make a beautifully evocative, if not particularly suspenseful story as Grace investigates Eva’s past and helps to find her own new purpose in life. The story is easy to read and not particularly taxing to the reader as they are far ahead of Grace in discovering her mystery. If you have read and appreciated her books Innocence, The Debutante or The Flirt – you will enjoy this just as much.
I received an eBook from the publisher via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.