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The Perfume Collector: A Novel Kindle Edition
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A 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.
“A lovely tale of a young woman in London who receives a mysterious inheritance that brings her to Paris and eventually to an old perfume shop.” -- New York Daily News, The Summer’s Best Beach Reads
“A colorful, stimulating journey through time.” -- Kirkus Reviews
“A bewitching, compelling novel, full of dark desires, long-buried secrets, revisited memories, and new opportunities.” -- Booklist
“Dazzles the senses.” -- Publishers Weekly
“A compelling plot in a truly magical Parisian setting. . . . Charming read. Tessaro does a marvelous job of conveying the atmosphere of a fairytale trip to 1950s Paris. . . . Readers of the works of Emily Giffin and Laura Florand will enjoy. -- Library Journal
“Beautiful imagery and prose are the strong points of this seductive story that paints the most bewitching picture imaginable of perfume creation and the muses who inspire it. The themes are brilliant . . . and likely to leave readers feeling awestruck by the end of this classy and unforgettable novel.” -- Romantic Times
“This evocative novel spins you back a few decades to the ‘20s and ‘50s where a young bride suppresses her intellect to be the trophy wife her husband desires. She is devastated when he is unfaithful but could it be the making of her?” -- Glamour (UK)
“The Perfume Collector is a crackling, beautifully paced story that weaves the world of fragrance into the lives of two vibrant women in a way few have experienced. Inhale deeply―a new way of telling a story of the heart.” -- Kate Alcott, author of The Dressmaker --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- ASIN : B009NESIEE
- Publisher : Harper; Reprint edition (May 14, 2013)
- Publication date : May 14, 2013
- Language : English
- File size : 863 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Sticky notes : On Kindle Scribe
- Print length : 469 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: #159,182 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Reviewed in the United States on September 11, 2022
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Figuring out who this mysterious woman is, and why in the world she has left Grace a luxury apartment and a portfolio of stocks is what blends the two stories together.
Grace's marriage appears to be loveless, she doesn't seem to have confidence or know who she is. So I really liked the slow build up of Grace's power. Being in Paris, experiencing new things, the attentions of the Paris attorney, who appears to like everything about her—all of this was a delight to read.
I loved the detective work to find out who Eva was. The book alternates chapters between Eva's life, mostly in the late 1920's and early 1930's, and Grace in the present (present being 1955 in this book). I thought of Eva's life as the “inside” story, the pearl in the oyster. Eva starts as a maid in an expensive and snooty hotel that caters to the rich, the glamorous, the famous and the infamous. She is not supposed to have any interactions with the guests, but she becomes involved with several of them, and this determines the rest of her life.
Eva discovers she has a talent for math and for card games, and she is eventually taken in by an alcoholic gambler, who both uses her and saves her. Other guests who change Eva's life are Madame Zed, a perfumer, and her protege Valmont. Valmont becomes determined to create a perfume suitable for Eva (he is obsessed with her smell) and in doing so finds that she is gifted with the ability to make iconic and unique scents. He becomes another who both saves and uses Eva.
The themes about the perfumes were fascinating. I feel like I learned about what goes into making a scent, and the different levels and layers and top notes. I loved how there were key perfumes created at different times that became integral parts of the story.
This is one of those books that was so good, whenever I was doing something else I kept thinking about the book, and anticipating when I would get to read more: “I'll work for one more hour then I'll let myself read for a half hour” etc. I have purchased another of the author's books and enjoyed it as well—I'm now buying everything she has written (which is pretty much my highest praise possible for a book!)
This is a great book if you like historical fiction, romance, or mysteries!!
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on September 11, 2022
Top reviews from other countries
I was surprised it was full of Americanised spellings till I saw the author was probably sticking to her roots. She kept capitalising the word Hotel for some reason as well the whole way through which I found peculiar. Peaked was used when piqued was meant and a lot of "little" words were missing from sentences such as with "Trapped in the body of man with no musical ability" or "....from Scotland to empty house" or "..balanced on top of ladder". Annoying and careless.
There were a couple of HUGE ouches when names morphed into different ones-Waverley altering to Waverly and Grace to Graced !!
The really laborious times were having to keep flicking over to a translation page as there was a lot of French used. I got my O'Level but that was over 30 years ago so I needed to have to keep looking a lot up which was tiresome.
It had some very humorous little moments in it, a couple making me laugh aloud.
I'd try another by this author but if it has as many mistakes it will be my last time, sadly.
One of the challenges which the author took on is to convey intricate scents through the medium of words – how do you describe the smell of a perfume? Scents are portrayed in The Perfume Collector by reminding the reader of how a scent can trigger a memory of a particular place, or the emotion associated with a particular person. For more specific descriptions, the text refers to the natural smells a particular perfume contains - the smells of flowers and plants, of the air when it’s raining or when it’s snowing, of the various ingredients still used in perfumes with which the reader may be familiar. But it also talks about more exotic ingredients, which readers may not be able to associate with a smell they remember, and in these cases the surprise of learning that various unpleasant-sounding ingredients feature in perfume may make up for the limitations in the author’s ability to describe smells in writing.
Perhaps the ending is a little too easy to suspect before the reader reaches it, but The Perfume Collector is nevertheless an intriguing mystery with likeable characters.
I did enjoy the descriptions of the scents and the creation of the essential oils and accords which go to making perfume, even the less appealing aspects of the process. There is something very luxuriant about the idea of having a perfume created solely for one person; I will never be so blasé about my perfume again even though it is not individually created for me.
I was charmed by the story and spent a peaceful afternoon losing myself in it.
However, there were aspects that weren't developed enough for me. The perfume side of the story in general could have been much more informative - whilst we met several perfumiers, we never really got to learn how they plied their craft.
But for me, the characterisation was blatantly lacking. Grace and Eduard were so dull and boring that I couldn't have cared less whether or not they ended up together. Malory was so stereotypical I wanted to slap her at times! Eva, Lambert and Valmont, though beginning strongly, lost vitality along the way, almost as though the author got bored of them. Likewise Madame Zed. At first she came across as such a promisingly multi faceted old goat, but she kind of fizzled out by the end.
Kay Waverley should have had a name change when she became an actress - it would have made it much more interesting in the casino section.
But an enjoyable yarn none the less, and I'm another who could see this working well on TV.