Posts Tagged ‘the book of lost fragrances’

He struggled to separate out the notes he recognized from the ones he didn’t, searching for the ingredients that gave the blend its promise of hope, of long nights and voluptuous dreams, of invitation and embrace.  Of an everlasting covenant ripe with possibility.  Of lost souls reunited.

Tears sprang to the perfumer’s eyes as he inhaled again.  This was the kind of scent he’d always imagined capturing.  He was smelling liquid emotion.  Giles L’Etoile was smelling love. 

(from The Book of Lost Fragrances, page 6 in the advanced reading copy; finished version may be different)

The Book of Lost Fragrances is the fourth book in M.J. Rose‘s series about reincarnation, preceded by The Reincarnationist, The Memorist, and The Hypnotist.  These books can be read on their own, as each has a different story, but they are connected in some way to one character who factors into each.  I enjoyed the first two books in the series, but The Book of Lost Fragrances blows them both away.  Rose has a way of drawing you in from the first page, tantalizing you with a glimpse of history and the promise of a multi-layered story with characters whose past and present lives are fascinating.

It’s hard to sum up The Book of Lost Fragrances, as there are numerous twists and turns, and the way Rose ties the characters and plot threads together around a memory tool is amazing.  The book centers on Jac L’Etoile, who comes from a long line of Parisian perfumers.  Her father has lost his mind to dementia, and Jac and her younger brother, Robbie, are left with a failing business.  Jac insists that they must sell off two of their signature perfumes in order to stay afloat, but Robbie has his heart set on finding a book of perfume recipes from ancient Egypt during Cleopatra’s reign — a book of lost fragrances that was said to have been taken from a tomb by one of the L’Etoile ancestors in 1799, a book that could give the House of L’Etoile a much needed boost.

Jac doesn’t believe the book exists, and she doesn’t believe the shards of ancient pottery found by her brother contain a fragrance that triggers past-life memories.  It seems that Jac is the only one who doesn’t see the importance of the pottery shards, but she is forced to rethink her beliefs when she realizes that people are willing to kill in order to get their hands on what might be an actual memory tool.

In The Book of Lost Fragrances, Rose takes readers on a journey through present-day Paris and the catacombs under the city, ancient Egypt, Paris during the French Revolution, China, and Tibet.  It’s obvious that Rose has done a lot of research about perfumes, reincarnation, and the connection between scent and memory.  I never stopped to consider the different layers of a fragrance before reading this book, and like one of the characters, I realized how easy it can be to go through life without paying much attention to the scents we encounter on a daily basis.  I was drawn to the parts of the story that took place in the past and how they were connected to the events in the present through scent.

Rose’s characters are flawed and conflicted, especially Jac, who is forced to confront her biggest fears, her inner demons, and a former lover she fought so long and hard to forget in order to keep her brother alive and ensure the pottery doesn’t end up in the wrong hands.  Rose’s descriptions of the scents that assault Jac at every turn put readers in the scene, opening their minds to the significance of the sense of smell.  I almost felt like I was sitting at the perfumer’s organ with Jac, staring in awe at the bottles of fragrance and fascinated with the idea of being able to mix the different florals and woods together to create a unique scent with the power to bind people together for eternity.  Rose includes a little something for everyone in The Book of Lost Fragrances — history, romance, action, and suspense.  She is a skilled storyteller, and I enjoyed going along for the ride.

Book 13 for the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

Disclosure: I received a copy of The Book of Lost Fragrances from Atria for review purposes. I am an IndieBound affiliate and an Amazon associate.

© 2012 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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I am thrilled to welcome M.J. Rose back to Diary of an Eccentric.  I had the chance to interview her back in 2008, when the second book in her series about reincarnation, The Memorist, was released.  The latest book in the series, The Book of Lost Fragrances, centers on fragrances, the art of making perfume, and how scents can trigger memories.  I will be reviewing the book tomorrow, but let me just say that it’s a book that kept me on the edge of my seat.

Today, M.J. Rose is here to talk about a lost fragrance, and if you think the description of this perfume is enticing, you definitely want to check out The Book of Lost Fragrances.  I’ll admit to sniffing my fragrance collection after finishing the book and trying to pick apart the layers of scent.

Please give a warm welcome to M.J. Rose:

M.J. Rose: I’ve been fascinated with lost fragrances since long before I started writing The Book of Lost Fragrances … since I found a bottle of perfume on my great grandmother’s dresser that had belonged to her mother in Russia. Here is one of those lost fragrances that stirs the senses and the imagination … (researched and described with the help of the perfume writer Dimitrios Dimitriadis)


An exceptionally beautiful leather chypre created in 1937 by Jacques Guerlain. Soft florals tumble over a buttery leather accord which evoke thoughts of paper-thin hand-made gloves of extraordinary quality. Built over a classic Guerlain chypre base of sandalwood, amber and oakmoss … this perfume is pre-WWII finery at its best. A scent to be worn with cashmere, pearls and soft furs, but sadly one that has been out of production for the last 60 years.

About M.J. Rose:

M.J. Rose is the international best selling author of eleven novels and two non-fiction books on marketing. Her next novel THE BOOK OF LOST FRAGRANCES (Atria/S&S) will be published in March 2012.  Her fiction and non-fiction has appeared in many magazines and reviews including Oprah Magazine. She has been featured in the New York Times, Newsweek, Time, USA Today and on the Today Show, and NPR radio.  Rose graduated from Syracuse University, spent the ’80s in advertising, has a commercial in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC and since 2005 has run the first marketing company for authors – Authorbuzz.com.  The television series PAST LIFE, was based on Rose’s novels in the Renincarnationist series. She is one of the founding board members of International Thriller Writers and runs the blog- Buzz, Balls & Hype.  She is also the co-founder of Peroozal.com and BookTrib.com.

Rose lives in CT with her husband the musician and composer, Doug Scofield, and their very spoiled and often photographed dog, Winka.

For more information on M.J. Rose and her novels, please visit her WEBSITE. You can also find her on Facebook.

About The Book of Lost Fragrances:

A sweeping and suspenseful tale of secrets, intrigue, and lovers separated by time, all connected through the mystical qualities of a perfume created in the days of Cleopatra–and lost for 2,000 years.

Jac L’Etoile has always been haunted by the past, her memories infused with the exotic scents that she grew up surrounded by as the heir to a storied French perfume company. In order to flee the pain of those remembrances–and of her mother’s suicide–she moved to America. Now, fourteen years later she and her brother have inherited the company along with it’s financial problems. But when Robbie hints at an earth-shattering discovery in the family archives and then suddenly goes missing–leaving a dead body in his wake–Jac is plunged into a world she thought she’d left behind.

Back in Paris to investigate her brother’s disappearance, Jac becomes haunted by the legend the House of L’Etoile has been espousing since 1799. Is there a scent that can unlock the mystery of reincarnation – or is it just another dream infused perfume?

The Book of Lost Fragrances fuses history, passion, and suspense, moving from Cleopatra’s Egypt and the terrors of revolutionary France to Tibet’s battle with China and the glamour of modern-day Paris. Jac’s quest for the ancient perfume someone is willing to kill for becomes the key to understanding her own troubled past.

Disclosure: I am an IndieBound affiliate and an Amazon associate.

© 2012 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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