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The Perfume Collector: A Novel Paperback – February 4, 2014
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“Fragrance, fashion, and a puzzling bequest lead a 1950s British socialite into a whirl of Parisian intrigue in Kathleen Tessaro’s The Perfume Collector.” (Good Housekeeping)
“A colorful, stimulating journey through time.” (Kirkus)
“A bewitching, compelling novel, full of dark desires, long-buried secrets, revisited memories, and new opportunities.” (Booklist)
“Dazzles the senses.” (Publishers Weekly)
“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)
“A mesmerising novel of passion and scent.” (Woman and Home (UK))
“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 devasted when he is unfaithful but could it be the making of her?” (Glamour (UK))
“Through vivid descriptions, lively mishaps and devastating details, Tessaro serves up a witty, original, fast-moving debut.” (USA Today on Elegance)
“Witty…proves that confidence never goes out of fashion.” (Glamour on Elegance)
“A compelling plot in a truly magical Parisian setting, fascinating information about the way perfume is made, and great secondary characters make this a charming read. . . . Readers of the works of Emily Griffin and Laura Florand will enjoy.” (Library Journal)
“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. . . . Sigh.” (NY Daily News, The Summer's Best Beach Reads)
Top Customer Reviews
This story was truly a journey of self-discovery, and I was intrigued by every thing it had to offer. For one, the main characters. I liked Grace. My perception of the kind of person she was grew the more I read. Her personality came off as kind, accepting, but beautiful without understanding the meaning of the word and how she embodied that within herself. And towards the end you begin to see her character experience growth and start to acknowledge things she was apprehensive about in the beginning. I was happy that the author enabled Grace to breathe in a new found air of independence and come into herself a bit more. And as for Eva, well, I was completely taken by her. As oppose to the life of Grace, Eva's was no fairy-tale She experienced the good and the ugly, and the fact that she overcame so much was just impressive.
I enjoyed the time frame and moving from one to the other, getting the chance to learn about both women and establish the connection that became quite clear early on. The whole mystery of Grace finding out about Eva and the reason for her inheritance was really well written. By the time I figured it out I wanted to shake Grace and ask, "don't you see?" But her wanting to hold on to HER truth was evident throughout the pages, and the moment she caught sight of what was really real then it all gets even more interesting.Read more ›
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.
Madame first encountered D'Orsey, then a young maid at the New York hotel housing players from the "Ziegfeld Follies," as well as other famous guests. D'Orsey inspires Zed's assistant, a taciturn Jewish genius, to create a perfume for her; later, after getting into the kind of trouble she was warned against by her employer when starting, she becomes the gambling companion of a British nobleman and travels the globe, then the assistant of the Jewish perfumer; and finally, the disguised nanny to her real, illegitimate child.
You can probably connect the dots of the plot by this description, and if you can't, you'll still figure out Grace's secret before she does. The novel deals with themes ranging from the conflict between genius and the society it must live in; the sacrifices mothers make for their daughters, and the treatment of Jews in Nazi-occupied Paris. It also has intriguing things to say about the creation of perfume: scents being the "custodians of memory." I enjoyed the book, though at times it hopped from viewpoint to viewpoint without giving the reader any warning. It taught me something about scent creation and kept my interest until the last page.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I found it to be quite a page turner. I loved the interchange between the two time periods. It really deepened the story and made it a little more of a cliff hanger.Published 16 hours ago by Fran Randolph
I liked the weaving together of the past and present through Eva's and Grace's juxtaposed narratives.Published 18 hours ago by Jeff B
I enjoyed this book very much! The characters and setting came to life through the simple story telling. I would recommend it to a friend!Published 10 days ago by Cayce S.