Book Review: The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro
May 22, 2013 22 Comments
This is yet another book about a secret history. Yawn! Aren’t there too many books about that already? Well, who cares? This book is fantastic! I loved every page of it (and there are quite a few).
The Perfume Collector: What it is about
What the publishers say: “London, 1955: Grace Monroe is a fortunate young woman. Despite her sheltered upbringing in Oxford, her recent marriage has thrust her into the heart of London’s most refined and ambitious social circles. However, playing the role of the sophisticated socialite her husband would like her to be doesn’t come easily to her—and perhaps never will.
Then one evening a letter arrives from France that will change everything. Grace has received an inheritance. There’s only one problem: she has never heard of her benefactor, the mysterious Eva d’Orsey.
So begins a journey that takes Grace to Paris in search of Eva. There, in a long-abandoned perfume shop on the Left Bank, she discovers the seductive world of perfumers and their muses, and a surprising, complex love story. Told by invoking the three distinctive perfumes she inspired, Eva d’Orsey’s story weaves through the decades, from 1920s New York to Monte Carlo, Paris, and London.
But these three perfumes hold secrets. And as Eva’s past and Grace’s future intersect, Grace realizes she must choose between the life she thinks she should live and the person she is truly meant to be.“
The Perfume Collector: What I thought
I enjoyed reading this book so much! It was a very quick read, and I found it hard to put it down. Grace inherits a lot of money as well as a beautiful apartment in Paris. Wonderful! We readers get a look around the apartment and while it’s meant to be sold, I hoped Grace would be able to keep it and maybe live in it herself.
Most of the story is about Grace trying to find out why she has been left all this wealth. She doesn’t know the deceased and rather than accepting the inheritance just like that, she wants to find out who this Eva d’Orsey is. In a sense, the book is a mystery in which Grace, step-by-step, tries to find out how Eva knew her. Her search brings her to an abandoned perfume shop and an old lady who lives above it.
It’s also the story of Eva, who we find 30 years earlier, in the 1920s, working as young woman in a New York hotel. Here she meets all kinds of guests, some of which play a role in her further life. Most of these guests are flamboyant types and it’s good fun reading about their antics while staying in the hotel. Eva isn’t supposed to talk to the guests, but she does make some life-long friends there.
There is a really good sense of place and time. I especially loved reading about the hotel where Eva worked and about the perfume shop. The story is build up well, and I couldn’t stop reading and finding more about Eva and about Grace’s search for Eva’s history.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Number of pages: 464
First published: 2013
I got this: from Harper for review
Genre: historical fiction