August 5, 2013

The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro



The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: May 2013
Categories: Historical, Literary

Description:

Kathleen Tessaro
A remarkable novel about secrets, desire, memory, passion, and possibility.

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.


My Thoughts:

This book was extremely readable. I'm not talking about easy reading, nor do I mean to call this book fluff. It was smooth. I'd read for an hour but it would feel like 5 minutes. It was that type of book. Smooth.

The main characters were almost opposite in their sensibilities. Eva was impetuous and brave. Grace was more cautious. It was interesting to compare the two. Their connection wasn't quite as mysterious as I had hoped but it was still intriguing to journey with Grace as she unraveled the secret of her past. Both of these women were captivating.
SheReads.org

Speaking of captivating? Paris in the 1950s! New York in the 1920s! I was enamored with the settings and time-frames. Seriously swoon worthy.

The passion for perfume in this book was contagious. I found myself thinking about the compelling nature of scent. Is there anything more powerful? The memories it brings with it, the way it takes you back to another time...ahh, fantastic.

What a pleasure it was to read The Perfume Collector. Do you plan on reading it? You should.

Nothing is more memorable than a smell. One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, yet conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake in the mountains. ~ Diane Ackerman

66 comments:

  1. I actually plan on reading this and have for some time. I am not sure that I have physically added it to my TBR though. I am awful about that. Thank you for the lovely review and reminder.
    -Dilettantish Reader

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    1. You're very welcome! It was a lovely book, I hope you'll be able to read it soon :)

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  2. The setting alone is enough to attract me!

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    1. Right?! Oooh, such good ones in this book!!

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  3. Enjoyed reading your comment about scent. It is very important. I have seen this book, but didn't know the plot. I like the 1950 setting and 1920 setting.

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    1. Thanks Tea :D I can't tell you how much I enjoyed reading about the setting in this book. Such great times/places!

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  4. I've been meaning to read this one! My Mother in Law recommended it and she's usually got pretty good book tastes. You made it sound extra delicious!

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    1. Your MIL and I should totally hang out! :D

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  5. I enjoyed this book too! I loved the mysterious perfume shop and the old lady above it. The mystery of the women and their relationships wasn't all that big, but that didn't matter.

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    1. You're right. The characters and settings made up for that bit of obviousness. I loved the old lady above the shop too! What a firecracker she was :D

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  6. I am SO glad you enjoyed it because so many people recommended it to me. Remember my post about books and perfume? Not sure if you were following at that time but perfume and books are two things I absolutely love. I am positive that I will enjoy this book! On my TBR list it goes :D

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    1. You know what? That really does sound familiar to me Melinda. You absolutely need to read this one!!

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  7. Actually I realise it is on my TBR list already ;)

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    1. Tah dah! I hope you're able to get to it soon :)

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  8. I've been looking for smooth! I just added this one to my bedroom TBR (the place to be) this weekend.

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    1. It was crazy smooth! I was constantly surprised by how much I'd read of this at one sitting. Gulp gulp!

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    2. SEE, that's the kind of book I need! To magically have read 50 pages in the blink of an eye.

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  9. Sounds like a great book. I was curious about it just from the title and cover but it sounds captivating.

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  10. I wanted the ARC for this one, but was not lucky enough to receive it. However I still plan to read it. I'm glad it was as good as I thought it would be. Loved th Ackerman quote. Her book on the five senses is really good.

    Cynthia @ The Things You Can Read
    http://thethingsyoucanread.blogspot.com/

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    1. I hope you're able to get your hands on a copy of this one soon Cynthia, it's a good one :D Thanks for visiting!

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  11. This book's title/cover doesn't make me think it's one I'd want to read, but I always read your posts. And NOW I'm thinking it sounds pretty darn good and I should look into it more! :)

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    1. I probably wouldn't have picked this one up if not for SheReads and I'm super glad :D

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  12. Woo, this sounds like one of those good old joyful reads! It seems like every review I've seen is loving it!

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    1. That's a good way to put it. It was easy but not EASY. You know what I mean ;)

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  13. This sounds really interesting! And I love the time periods too... might have to get this and add it to my ever-growing TBR shelves...

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    1. The time periods were super cool, loved 'em! Add it to the stack Sarah ;)

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  14. I loved this book as well. My favorite character was Madame Zed. She had some of the best lines and would be great in a movie.

    I hadn't read much about perfume before either but before this I read a marvelous memoir called Coming to My Senses. It's about a woman's discovery of perfume and it's place in her life as she prepares to get married. She talks about perfume back to the 70s so it was a great trip down memory lane.

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    1. I really liked Madame Zed as well, great character! I think I know the book you're talking about but I'm off to look it up because I'm very interested :)

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  15. I've heard so many good things about this book that I know I will HAVE to read it...and soon!

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  16. Dang it! I almost picked this one up at the library today but put it back. What was I thinking?

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    1. Oh noes Brooke! You need to get your butt back to the library! ;)

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  17. This sounds great. Paris in the 1950s and New York in the 1920s? Count me in.

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    1. Right?? Exactly! Fantastic settings :D

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  18. I loved the setting too! And Grace trying to find her place in the world was a great opportunity to watch some character growth, although at the end of the book, I'm not sure she had changed as much as I had hoped.

    I really like your description of this book as "smooth" and am wondering if the feeling you're describing corresponds to those books that suck me in so much I take almost no notes and then am left struggling to articulate why I liked them in my review :)

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    1. YES! It was exactly like that, lol. I rarely take notes as it is and this one left me NO TIME because I was gobbling it up at a crazy rate, lol.

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  19. I'm not sure if I'm going to read this, but your review has made me more interested in it. :-)

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    1. I didn't think it would be as enjoyable as it turned out to be. I was pleasantly surprised...love when that happens!

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  20. I'm a little late on the SheReads this month but will have my review up by the end of the week. Maybe earlier if it's that smooth! I can't wait to get into it (I'm only on chapter 2 - I know, I know, bad blogger!)

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    1. I can't wait to hear your final thoughts on this one Alison...no matter when you get around to posting them, lol. ;)

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  21. You had me at Paris in the 50s. Looking it up!

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    1. I can't say enough about how much I enjoyed the settings in the this book ;)

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  22. This book is getting a lot of great buzz and it sounds like it's for good reason. I need to check it out!

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    1. You really do need to check it out! It's a great read :D

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  23. Smooth is a great way to describe this kind of book. I wasn't jumping to get this one, but the story of a muse and an artist sounds like it has potential...:(

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    1. It wasn't something that I thought I'd go ga-ga over, to be honest. Tah dah, I enjoyed it a LOT. :D

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  24. I hadn't heard of this one, but now you've got me tempted. Especially by the "smooth" description -- I just finished a book that left me flipping back through the pages to keep track of what was even going on.

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    1. Even with dual narratives and two different settings I didn't have to do that :) You should definitely check this one out Michelle :) Thanks for visiting!

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  25. You've got to stop reviewing all these good books; you're overloading my TBR list! ;-)

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    1. Muahaha! This is my MISSION IN LIFE! ;)

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  26. This one seems to be getting a lot of press lately, and it sure sounds good! I love the sound of this one. I'm not a big perfume wearer, but I do love sampling scents and am always on the lookout for the perfect one for me. But what really draws me to this novel is the historical aspect of it. I do love historical fiction! Great review, Jennifer.

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    1. After reading this one I want to find the perfect scent for me :) But when I really enjoyed was the historical aspect of this book. Thanks!

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  27. I think I would rather go to Paris in the 1950's than go to Paris now - same with New York in the '20's.

    It always amazes me how much our senses can trigger memories. For me, sound is the most powerful. I can hear a certain song or a certain noise and I'm right back in the moment I originally heard it.

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    1. Same here. What I wouldn't give for a time machine ;)

      I know just what you mean, there are certain songs that make me feel 16. I should listen to them more often, ha!

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  28. You are soooooo right about the book being "readable." After having read that in your review a few days ago (I skimmed before I finished the book), I can't get that word out of my head as a way to describe The Perfume Collector. I am not a fan of long books, always thinking, "can't they cut out 100 pages and say the same thing?" but this book, I could have read 400 more. It was soooooo readable!

    -Rebecca @ Love at First Book

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    1. I tried to get that across without making the book seem like fluff ;) It was so damn readable though, that's the perfect word for it!

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  29. This does sound good -- the settings especially. There seems to be a trend these days about writing about perfume and perfumers.

    Joy's Book Blog

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    1. It's a great read. I think this is the first perfume themed read for me. :)

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  30. I totally get what you mean when you say the reading experience was "smooth". It was that way for me as well. I liked Grace but absolutely fell in love with Eva. What a great story!

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    1. Sooo smooooooth! It read so easy..but it wasn't an easy read. You know what I mean ;)

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  31. As a slow reader I was worried about its size but it was "smooth" as you say. Ways appreciate a wonderful backdrop and his filled the bill a couple times over. I am so glad to be part of the She Reads Club to not have missed this read.

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    1. Same here :) I don't know if I would have picked it up otherwise. Thanks for visiting!

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  32. I had no plans to read this book and didn't know anything about it until I read your review. Now I am very interested in this book and looking forward to it. The power of bloggers' reviews, and the value of them. I thoroughly enjoyed your review and have put this book on my tbr list. I love the setting, the mysterious inheritance and the perfume issue. I don't wear much perfume as I cannot really smell but I'd love to find a beautiful scent. This book intrigues me in that way, too. But it's your review and enjoyment of this book that really piqued my interest. Thank you!

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