The Perfume Collector: Book summary and reviews of The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro

The Perfume Collector

by Kathleen Tessaro

The Perfume Collector
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' rating:

  • Published in USA  May 2013
    464 pages
    Genre: Novels

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this book

Book Summary

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.

Read a Sample

Click to the right or left of the sample to turn the page.
(If no book jacket appears in a few seconds, then we don't have an excerpt of this book or your browser is unable to display it)

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

"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

The information about The Perfume Collector 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

SandraH

Delightful, well wrought and mysterious love story
Kathleen Tessaro's "the Perfume Collector" is told through the lives of two women who struggle to find their niche, their place in life.
Eva d'Orsey, an orphaned 14 year old immigrant is put into service at the Warwick Hotel by her uncle who has decided that she is old enough to fend for herself. The Warwick caters to celebrities, the well-to-do and the hangers-on. Her story begins in 1928 and is juxtaposed with that of Grace Munroe a naive young woman from a sheltered background who has married an up and coming young lawyer and become part of sophisticated social life of 1955 London.
The book opens with Eva making a will that names Grace as the beneficiary of her considerable wealth. What follows is the story of Eva's attempts to rise above her humble beginnings through cunning and compromise. Her ability to use and understand numbers makes her a valuable asset to gambler Walter Lambert and also leads her into the acquaintance of Madame Zed, a woman who creates exquisite perfumes and Valmont her prodigy.

We follow Eva as she manipulates her way through a life filled with compromises from 1928 until 1954 when she leaves an expensive apartment and her stocks to Grace.

Grace is an unhappy young wife, bored with being a socialite who finds out that her husband has been cheating on her. Confounded by the letter from Eva's solicitor asking to come to Paris and claim her inheritance, Grace decides to do just that and escape her unhappy life.

From this point on we follow the lives of Eva and Grace in alternating chapters. While it isn't particularly difficult to figure out their relationship, that isn't what makes this novel worth reading. It is the tangles and complications which had caused their decisions, the fascinating people that enter their lives, how creating exquisite perfumes ties them together and romance that keep one reading.

Tessaro's story may not be new but is delightfully told. I loved the desperate Eve as she manipulates her way through seemingly impossible problems and the unhappy Grace who wants more than an empty life filled with pleasing her husband and fitting into the shallow life of a socialite.

Jana

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.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

More Information

More Information

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.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

More Recommendations

Readers Also Browsed . . .

more novels...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One Month Free Membership

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Underground Airlines
    by Ben Winters

    "The Invisible Man meets Blade Runner in this outstanding alternate history thriller." - PW Star

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Book That Matters Most
    by Ann Hood

    An enthralling novel about love, loss, secrets and friendship.

    Read Member Reviews

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Spinster
by Kate Bolick

A bold, original, moving book that will inspire fanatical devotion and ignite debate.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Lady Cop Makes Trouble

The Kopp Sisters Return!

One of the nation's first female deputy sheriffs returns in another gripping adventure based on fact.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Manners M (T) M

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.