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.
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.
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.
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