Past lives. Memories.Romance and loss. Secrets. Politics. M. J. Rose combines all of those in her latest novel of suspense, The Book of Lost Fragrances.
Giles L'Etoile, a perfumer, accompanied Napoleon when he opened a tomb in Alexandria, Egypt in 1799. It was there, at the tomb of a couple, wrapped together, that Giles recognized the scent of love. Over two hundred years later, the House of L'Etoile in Paris still created perfumes. However, Giles' descendants were never able to recreate the legendary scent, or find Cleopatra's book of fragrance formulas that their ancestor was rumored to have brought back from Egypt.
Robbie L'Etoile is doing his best to find that scent, but his sister, Jac, the one who has the perfumer's nose, won't help. She's cynical after turning away from family stories after her hallucinations following her mother's suicide when Jac was fourteen. It takes Robbie's disappearance to bring Jac back to Paris where she finds an old lover waiting to help her in her search for Robbie and the truth.
However, there are others searching for Robbie's secret formula as well. Robbie's search has caught the attention of the Chinese, the Tibetans, and others who are interested in the truth behind reincarnation. It's only the unbeliever, Jac, who holds the true secrets, though.
Rose's The Book of Lost Fragrances isn't an easy book to read with the complicated story lines involving China, Tibet, past lives and present troubles. It's evident that Rose has done extensive research on perfumes and their history. And, she adds history from various time periods, going back as far as Egypt. The history and legends involved in the book are fascinating.
I had some difficulties with Jac L'Etoile. With her cynicism and turbulent emotional issues, she isn't an easy protagonist to like. However, Rose skillfully brings all the story lines and characters together in a surprising, successful conclusion. It might not be the conclusion readers will hope for, but it perfectly fits the title, The Book of Lost Fragrances.
I have been a library manager/administrator for over 30 years, in Ohio, Florida, Arizona, and, now, Indiana. Winner of the 2011 Arizona Library Association Outstanding Library Service Award. I am a contributing Book Reviewer for Library Journal, Mystery Readers Journal, ReadertoReader.com and VibrantNation.com. Winner of the 2009 and 2010 Spinetingler Awards for Best Reviewer. First Fan Guest of Honor for Desert Sleuths Chapter of Sisters in Crime, Write Now! Conference.
It's an honor to be asked to review books, and I'm grateful to all the publishers, publicists, and authors who send me books. Thank you. Reviews will appear on my blog if I've had a chance to read, and finish, the book. If I do not finish a book, I won't review it, and I will not respond to emails asking when, or if, I'll be reviewing a book.
My reviews are only my opinion, and do not reflect the views of the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library.
I will not review self-published books, and, at the present time, do not accept books in e-book format.
Moments in History By Michael A. Black
When I was in grammar school I viewed history as something you read about in books. By the time I got into high school and then college I came to the realiza...
Splish, Splash, Splosh!: David Melling
Book: Splish, Splash, Splosh! Author: David Melling (@DavidMelling1) Pages: 22 Age Range: 2-5 Splish, Splash, Splosh! by David Melling is a medium-sized boar...
My Oct. 19, 2009 blog provides full disclosure that I only receive review copies of books, with no other compensation. All review copies are marked as such. If there any any questions, please feel free to contact me.