Thoughts on The Perfume Collector


the perfume collector

Not to dwell on it again, but the winter was rough on me emotionally and I didn’t do too much aside from work and sleep (and read, of course, but not nearly as much as I normally do).  I essentially abandoned my book clubs as well.  However, the last few weeks the weather has gotten a little bit milder, the sun is shining a little bit longer, and I’m feeling much much better – well enough to return to the land of the living and be sociable again, especially at book club!

The April selection for one of my book clubs is The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro, a book that I heard many good things about (Judith at Leeswammes really enjoyed it) and since it is set partially in Paris it was probably the perfect book to get me back into the book club routine.

The novel is set mostly in 1955 London and then Paris, with flashbacks to New York.  Grace Munroe, a young woman with an unsatisfying life as the wife of an ambitious man, receives a summons to travel to Paris where she is told she is the beneficiary of the estate of Eva d’Orsey, a woman she has never heard of.  Rather than take the money and return to London immediately, Grace enlists the help of her Parisian attorney, M. Tissot. to find out who Eva was and why she chose Grace to inherit her wealth.  As readers we go back to Eva’s humble beginnings as a maid in a prestigious New York hotel, how she became the muse of an up and coming perfumier, Andre Valmont, and the decisions she made that led to her wealth and to her connection to Grace.

Although I found parts of the story predictable, it did not affect my enjoyment of the story and I was still surprised how some of the events unfolded.  And the theme of perfume was very interesting — I don’t wear perfume myself but reading about how a talented individual can create a personal scent for someone else made me think twice about it.

This novel is light in tone but with enough of a plot to hopefully make for a good discussion.  I cannot wait to talk with the others about it.



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5 Responses to Thoughts on The Perfume Collector

  1. gsjonuk says:

    You might enjoy this CBC ideas: The Seduction of Scent (Encore Sept 24, 2013)
    I loved one story about a famous french perfume master that charmed Marie Antoinette.

  2. Chris Wolak says:

    I just finished The Collector of Dying Breaths by MJ Rose, a thriller that features perfumers and is also set in France. Must be something in the air!

    • bibliosue says:

      Indeed, Chris! There is a non-fiction book I read (actually listened to) a few years ago called The Secret of Chanel No.5: The Intimate History of the World’s Most Famous Perfume by Tilar Mazzeo which was fascinating.

  3. Leeswammes says:

    Glad you enjoyed the book, Suzanne. I hope there is enough to discuss for the book group. It’s not a book with lots of literary themes… Have fun!

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