The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro

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

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.

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 thoughts on “The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro

  1. 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.


  2. 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!


  3. 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.


  4. 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 😀


  5. 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


  6. 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.


  7. 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 🙂


  8. 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…:(


  9. 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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