Scent of Triumph: Book summary and reviews of Scent of Triumph by Jan Moran

Scent of Triumph

A Novel of Perfume and Passion

by Jan Moran

Scent of Triumph by Jan Moran X
Scent of Triumph by Jan Moran
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  • Published in USA  Mar 2015
    384 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

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Book Summary

Perfume is the essence of beauty, the heart of illusion, the soul of desire. It is my past, my present, my future. —from the journal of Danielle Bretancourt

When French perfumer and aristocrat Danielle Bretancourt steps aboard a luxury ocean liner, leaving her son behind in Poland with his grandmother, she has no idea that her life is about to change forever. The year is 1939, and the declaration of war on the European continent soon threatens her beloved family, scattered across many countries. Traveling through London and Paris into occupied Poland, Danielle searches desperately for the remains of her family, relying on the strength of Jonathan Newell-Grey, a British shipping heir and Royal Navy officer. Finally, in the wake of unspeakable tragedy, she is forced to gather the fragments of her impoverished family and flee to America. There she vows to begin life anew, in 1940s Los Angeles.

Amid the glamour of Hollywood's Golden Age, Danielle works her way up from meager jobs to perfumer and fashion designer. Still, personal happiness eludes her. Can her sheer force of will attract the elusive love she desires, or will it only come at the ultimate cost?

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Some of the recent comments posted about Scent of Triumph:

As an entrepreneur, what were Danielle's challenges and keys to success? Do you have entrepreneurial ambitions, or have you ever started a new venture?
I think that Danielle's talent and knowledge in the perfume business was an excellent choice to start a business. I don't think it was possible for her to get the money and clients as easily as the book makes it out to be. She bounce back from ... - kathleenb

Did you find Danielle's character inconsistent in the story?
Considering the time when Danielle lived, I didn't find it strange that she married Cameron. She was limited as a woman in what she could do. It seemed like a decision she thought about and decided it was the best thing to do in her position. She's ... - mariannes

Do you think parents have a sixth sense about the well-being of their children?
Absolutely. Women especially have insight. Never doubt intuition. In my life experience, when I feel something in my soul, it is almost always correct. - beelergirl

How do you think Danielle's keen sense of smell add to setting and characterization?
i do not like perfume smells especially the strong ones that linger on after someone lives the room. To be in the perfume making business, I would think someone would have to have a keen sense of smell. I liked the way the story flows as she does ... - JAKL1

How would today's modern communications such as mobile phones and email have changed this story? How have these technologies changed the way you communicate over the past decade?
The major difference in Danielle's life would have been keeping in touch with her family. Her love affair with Jon keeping in touch would have changed her life. - kathleenb

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Media Reviews

"A haunting, multilayered historical romance...It is a book to savor, like the most beautiful of perfumes. Inhale. Exhale. I was riveted from start to finish...and I'm only just now finding my breath." - Samantha Vérant, author of Seven Letters from Paris; A Memoir

"Utterly inescapable once you pick it up...a tale that rivals Danielle Steel at her romantic best while also providing a primer in the art of perfume!" - Allegra Jordan, author of The End of Innocence

"A well-spun and sweeping debut novel about a fearless, headstrong woman...a thoroughly engaging tale, rich in all five senses." - Michelle Gable, Author of A Paris Apartment

"Hard to put down...captivating. The tragedies of war, conflicts in family, love, and passion for perfumery paint a realistic, historical portrait of some of the fragrance industry's most famous women who created today's top cosmetic firms. A 'must read'..." - Marvel Fields, Chairman of the American Society of Perfumers

"From war-torn Europe to the sunny climes of Southern California, Scent of Triumph is a captivating tale of love, loss, determination and reinvention. A page-turner." - Karen Marin, Givenchy Paris

The information about Scent of Triumph shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Reader Reviews

Write your own review


Scent of Triumph
A great book filled with history, perfume education, love and family. I read the book in 2 days it was a page turner for me.

FrenchVillage Jacqui

A novel of passion, strength and determination
The beautiful looking cover drew me in and I immediately found myself in a very engaging book with a storyline that made it very difficult to put down. Danielle Bretancourt is a very strong woman who is determined to do the best for her family despite the horrific and traumatic situations they find themselves in. Her story is set in France, Poland and America during the years of the Second World War where happiness is difficult when family is fighting against family, undercover war work has to come before family and death and destruction are never far away. Danielle’s escape is in her perfume work and her skill and determination means she has the ability to change her life through her work. It is the first book that has ever made my nose tingle, as I could almost smell the fragrance descriptions as I was reading it.

Danielle is torn between remaining in Europe to search for her young son who has disappeared in Poland or taking her remaining family to the safety of America and to a new life that must be built from scratch. Wherever she is she never gives up on her goals no matter how low she gets and she often puts her happiness second to making the right decisions for her family. There are men in her life and she is a passionate woman, but it seems that circumstance always puts the right man in the wrong place at the wrong time. There were many very moving parts to this book that made me cry.

This book is more than just a romance novel and would appeal to those who enjoy reading about the French perfume and fashion industries and those with an interest in historical fiction set during the 1930’s


Scent of Triumph by Jan Moran
An evocative historical romance about a young wife and mother who is also a perfumer and member of a famous family perfume house. The novel follows her through occupied France and Poland as WWII darkens the fortunes of her family, and on into the Golden Age of Hollywood, as she works to restore those fortunes. An intriguing blend of history, romance, and family saga, Scent of Fortune is well worth reading, not least for its evocation of character, place and history through the medium of fragrance and its impact on our memories.


Implausible Romance
This is the story of a French perfumer and her family in Europe in 1939-41. Everybody is attractive, rich and wonderfully kind and unprejudiced. Then bad things happen. Then the main character leaves for LA with the remains of her shattered family. She starts poor and ends up rich and fabulous. You can see the plot "twists" coming a mile away and I swear the main character has manic-depressive disorder because within 2 pages she goes from being thrilled about something to thinking she's made the worst decision of her life. While reading the book I was so aware of the author's presence she could have been in the room with me. I never felt involved with the characters and their situations. I felt the author was manipulating her characters as if they were puppets.

This review sounds so harsh and I'm sorry for that, but this is a very pedestrian novel and I was very disappointed in it.


Just a Romance
I was enticed to read this book by the cover and the description. It turned out not to be a historical novel of WWII as I expected but a Romance set during the time of WWII. Reading about Sofia, the grandmother, was inspiring. You would expect her to crumple due to her pampered background instead she was courageous. Danielle was a phenomenally talented hard working woman. So it was not surprising that she was able to use that talent in all her circumstances. It was wonderful how Nicky was able to turn into a leader of other children and avoid German's. Danielle's marriage to Max seemed realistic but her second marriage to Cameron did not nor did her long running affair with Jon. The book had too many sub-plots is made for an annoying read. Even finding Nicky towards the end of the book was tying up loose ends with a tidy bow. The whole book was fantastic and improbable. I usually read a book in a day and a half. This book took days because I kept putting it down. If it wasn't a Book Browse book I wouldn't have completed it. I would not recommend this book to anyone.


I was excited to read this book, however, my excitement diminished fairly quickly.

I enjoyed reading of Danielle's perfume lineage, her exceptional olfactory gift, her amazing intuition. I was taken with Sofia, her strength, her courage. Her presence was short lived but powerful and affecting. Reading of Nicky and his plight was emotional. The ravages of war clearly depicted.

The narrative was too dramatic for my taste and all predictable. Multiple subplots served as a distraction, most left frayed. I felt as if I was reading a arduous task to weave multiple books into one attempt at capturing a solid plot. Too much going on for my taste, bottom line. Every character has heavy issues, at every corner doom dwells. Implausible and overdone. I could not relate to Danielle at all in regards to Nicky's missing status. Danielle lacked emotion, her demeanor drove me nuts, her manner was less than vanilla, bland would be generous.

Simply a matter of taste and this particular book wasn't my cup of tea. The majority will disagree and find Moran's effort exceptional. Admittedly I am in the minority.

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Author Information

Jan Moran Author Biography

Jan Moran is the author of Fabulous Fragrances I and II, which earned spots on the Rizzoli Bookstore bestseller list, and other novels. A fragrance and beauty industry expert, she has been featured on CNN, Instyle, and O Magazine, and has spoken before prestigious organizations, including The American Society of Perfumers. She earned her MBA from Harvard Business School and attended the University of California at Los Angeles Extension Writers' Program.

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