I've been writing books about perfume for the last four years and am seeped in it. I expected to be either disappointed or jealous. I wasn't disappointed and I can't be jealous because the of hours of pleasure I got reading The Perfume Collector.
Even though I guessed "the secret" almost right away - it didn't matter - the characters were so engaging and the writing so lovely.
Perfume, Paris, passion, style, elegance, a certain "je ne sais quois", charm and good old fashioned storytelling along with a lump in my throat on the last page. The Perfume Collector is delightful.
Perhaps the greatest compliment I can give Tessaro is when I finished I immediately ordered one of her backlist to start tonight on my iPad.
As readers of this blog know I don't review - I just shout about a book I enjoy.
From the flap copy:
London,1955: Grace Monroe is a very fortunate young woman. In spite of a sheltered upbringing in Oxford, her recent marriage has thrust her into the heart of London’s most refined and ambitious social circles, where alliances are formed and reputations made. However, playing the role of the sophisticated socialite her husband would like her to be doesn’t come naturally to her - and perhaps never will.
Then one evening, a letter arrives from a law firm in Paris. Grace has received an unanticipated inheritance. Only her benefactor, Frenchwoman Eva d’Orsey, is a complete stranger to her. Grace dismisses it as a mistake. However, when later that same night, she suddenly suspects her husband of infidelity, her world is thrown into chaos.
Fleeing London for Paris, Grace searching for information about the mysterious Eva d’Orsey. What she uncovers is the remarkable history of an unconventional woman who inspired one of Paris’s greatest perfumers. Only Eva’s past and Grace’s future intersect. And soon Grace must chose between the life she thinks she ought to live or becoming the person she truly is.
Told in three distinctive perfumes, the story weaves through the decades, from 1920’s New York to Monte Carlo, Paris and London; revealing the complex, obsessive love between muse and artist and the tremendous power of memory and scent.