London, 1955: Grace Monroe is a young newlywed, eager to make a success of her marriage. However, with her intellectual curiosity and her unladylike talent for advanced mathematics, she finds the routine of elegant luncheons and exclusive parties among post-war London’ s social set more tiresome than exciting.
When Grace receives an unexpected inheritance from a woman she’s never met, she finds herself suddenly in Paris, embarking upon a journey to discover not only the identity of her mysterious benefactor but also the hidden secrets of her own past.
In a story that takes us from New York in the 1920s to mid-century Monte Carlo, Paris and London, Grace discovers a world filled with the evocative, intoxicating power of perfume; an obsessive, desperate love between muse and artist; and a trail of dark memories that may mean she isn’ t the person she thinks she is at all.
I have not read any of Kathleen Tessaro’s book, prior to this one, so I read this book without any expectations of a particular writing style. From the beautiful book cover, to the first pages, I was hooked. I was a little confused at first, so I did have to flip back to the first pages to see who I was reading about. It starts with Eva and at the tail end of her disease, with the next chapter beginning with Grace-a socialite, who seems quite disconnected from her husband and social circle. It isn’t until Grace receives an airplane ticket with news of her being the sole beneficiary, that she finally has some direction and decides to embark on an adventure.
While Grace leaves knowing her husband is having an affair, she somehow blames herself because of an unfortunate incident that happens to her. While there isn’t a lot of interaction and dialogue between her and her husband, the author does a superb job in showing what happens to Grace as she learns who Eva is.
It is quite obvious that the author did extensive research, prior to writing, but it doesn’t come off with more information and less interaction. Rather, it enhances the reader’s overall experience with this book. There is so much detail, and Eva certainly has an extraordinary (while difficult, too) life. I was mesmerized by the beauty of the story, loved the characters, and admired the way Eva broke all conventions by her role as a maid to later being a shopgirl…with other roles in between!
This is an absolutely fantastic historical book, that readers will love from page 1. Readers will want to know who Eva is, how she can smoke in the face of death, and how she bypasses barriers men and society place on women…certainly not meant for likes of Eva! My only desire is that the author would have included a little perfume collection to accompany this book
*This book was provided by TLC Book Tours, in exchange for an honest review.
About Kathleen Tessaro:
Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Kathleen attended the University of Pittsburgh before entering the drama program of Carnegie Mellon University. In the middle of her sophomore year, she went to study in London for three months and stayed for the next twenty-three years. She began writing at the suggestion of a friend and was an early member of the Wimpole Street Writer’s Workshop. Her debut novel, Elegance, became a bestseller in hardback and paperback. All of Kathleen’s novels including Innocence, The Flirt, The Debutante, and most recently, The Perfume Collector have been translated into many languages and sold all over the world. She returned to Pittsburgh in 2009, where she now lives with her husband and son.
Follow the rest of the blog tour to read what other bloggers are saying about this book!
- Hand Yelling The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro (mjroseblog.typepad.com)
- Kathleen Tessaro Shares World of Fragrance in Delightful Drama of Family Secrets Out May 16th! (gabixlerreviews-bookreadersheaven.blogspot.com)
- Look At What’s Coming Soon (mauriceonbooks.wordpress.com)
- Teachers Embrace Technology to Encourage Summer Reading (prweb.com)
- TLC Blog Tour: Dual Inheritance by Joanna Hershon Review + Giveaway (US Only) (literallyjen.com)