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.
"Nuanced observations soften the blow of the contrived banter, familiar form, and one particularly overindulgent shopping-day passage." - Publishers Weekly
"A bewitching, compelling novel, full of dark desires, long-buried secrets, revisited memories, and new opportunities." - Booklist
"A colorful, stimulating journey through time." - Kirkus
"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
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Rated of 5
An enjoyable read
The story is told in alternating chapters by Grace Munroe, a young English woman looking for a resolution to her marital problems and Eva d'Orsey, her mysterious French benefactor. As Grace tries to discover why this woman she never met or even heard of has left her a legacy, she comes to see herself and her marriage more clearly. While the story is interesting, the perfume descriptions reminded me of the terms used by serious wine-tasters, which I don't find very illuminating. The solution to the mystery was also somewhat predictable, but I still found the book enjoyable.
Born in Pittsburgh, Kathleen Tessaro emigrated to London where she worked as an actress in films, television, and theater, while training to be a drama teacher and voice coach. She is the author of the novels Elegance, Innocence, and The Flirt. Kathleen currently lives in Pennsylvania.
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