Review: The Book of Lost Fragrances, M.J. Rose
Title: The Book of Lost Fragrances (Goodreads)
Series: Stand alone
Genre: Historical fiction, romance, fantasy
Published: Atria Books, March 13, 2012
My copy: Ebook ARC from NetGalley
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 moves to America, leaving the company in the hands of her brother Robbie. 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. (Goodreads)
The storyline of The Book of Lost Fragrances sounds a little odd when the events are described: An ancient Egyptian artifact can help the people of Tibet in their struggle against the oppression of the Chinese government. A French perfumer and his sister discover an ancient and secret scent that allows visions of past lives. These facets of the story have been woven together masterfully by the author to form a complete and satisfying story.
The Book of Lost Fragrances is not really a typical work of historical fiction as most of the action happens in the present day. The story isn’t just about ancient scents and helping to free Tibet. It’s also about complex relationships between the characters – between lovers, between parents and children, brothers and sisters, friends and enemies. It also explores the intricacies of faith and staying true to beliefs.
This story has a more gentle progression than other books I’ve read recently, but it is still very suspenseful. I spent the second half of the book worrying about the characters and I had to keep reading to find out what happened to them. I really enjoyed the mixture of the stories of past lives with the present. I also found to be fascinating the idea of conditions such as scizophrenia actually being past-life flashbacks.
Read this book if you enjoy stories with complex characters and adventures across time periods.
Read this book to your little ‘uns? It’s not really for them. There are a few adult scenes but nothing too graphic.
There is a blog tour going on for The Book of Lost Fragrances at the moment. Although I’m not a host, I’ve been interested to see others’ opinions of the book. You can see all the tour stops at Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.