The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro

the perfume collectorBlurb from, please scroll down for my review.

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.

My Review.

This is a delightful book, it is written from the point of view of the two main characters, Grace Munroe and Eva d’Orsey and from two different times, Grace Monroe´s is during 1954-55 in London & Paris and Eva d’Orsey´s is mostly in the 1920´s New York and a couple of other years and locations. Normally I am not keen on either of these two periods but there was something special about this book that made me want to read it. There are no fast paced moments, the author writes with passion, knowledge and description rather than thrills and twists in the tale.

“But Grace, you already have a job, you´re his wife”

I enjoyed both main characters, they are so different, with such different backgrounds you wonder what they have in common, and you don´t find out until the very end. Grace was such a delightful character (I have used delightful loads already haven´t I?), such an innocent person, but suddenly one day after receiving a letter from a lawyer in Paris and with the help of her best friend, who is quite the opposite character, flies to Paris and a whole new world opens up to her. There are some wonderful descriptions of Paris but especially of the flat that Grace visits. I also enjoyed Madame Zed´s character also, bit of a mysterious person really. The author has done a good job on the time periods and also the descriptions of the perfumes and how they can bring back moments in time. I personally preferred the 1920´s side of the story, I could imagine myself being in New York and seeing all the exciting and not so exciting stuff going on in Eva´s life. Grace´s story was slower.

“Well, when you do, you will have a nanny. A young woman who will get the children up, dress and feed them, teach them letter and numbers and manners… And then when you come home, they cannot wait to see you. You take them to the park and play and they are delightful. The same is true for a mistress. She roll up her sleeves, tends to the hard labour. She pretends this middle-aged man is fascinating, listens to his woes, massages his ego. She even goes as far as to reassure him physically. But that´s all it is. Flattery, And then he returns home, refreshed, grateful…” She paused. “….repentant. One can proceed with one´s own interests knowing that one´s spouse is perfectly content. “ (location 3454)

It did finish rather abruptly, I wanted to see into the future of Grace, I wanted to know what she was doing, who she was with, etc. The ending as such made me want more. Although I suppose the ending is open to the imagination of each reader.

Product Details

  • File Size: 535 KB
  • Print Length: 469 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0062257838
  • Publisher: Harper; Reprint edition (May 14, 2013)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English


The Perfume Collector

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