Now, fourteen years later, she and her brother have inherited the company along with its 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 of 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.
Right off the start, let's get the shallow out of the way. The cover of this book is flat out gorgeous. I love it. I could just stare at the cover and be happy. Something about a vintage perfume bottle just speaks to me.
Fortunately, I could also open the book and get lost in the story and get lost (in a good way) I did. This book just ticks off all the "must haves" on my list - - reincarnation, history, mystery. Check, check, check. Author M.J. Rose throws a fresh spin on the topic of reincarnation, infusing actual historical events with a family perfumery. I admit I found the chapters and pages dealing with the perfumes and their concepts to be fascinating, particularly those going back to Cleopatra's era. Those sections left me with the feeling of how remarkable it was that today we still enjoy those things that people did circa 30 B.C. and that we still use some of the same flowers and trees.
I loved, loved, loved the concept of fragrance being the bridge to past lives and how our scents basically remain the same in each lifetime, allowing our souls/spirits to recognize loved ones, friends and those who have brought us harm.
The transition between the current day and two specific and different eras in the past was seamless. Having a story alternate between decades, much less centuries, can cause friction and frustration for the reader if there is too much stop and start. That doesn't happen here. I was equally happy in whatever century Ms. Rose took us.
Ms. Rose did a splendid job covering the story in Paris. Paris is on my bucket list and this book may have bumped it to the top. The city is rich with history and the book brings the decadent history out in full force. It's obvious from her writing that Ms. Rose is passionately in love with Paris and with the subject of reincarnation. She has done remarkable research on both, as well as the history of perfumes, and the affection resonates throughout.
While The Book of Lost Fragrances is the fourth book in the Reincarnationist series, it works flawlessly as a stand alone book. I have not read the previous three books and had no problem diving in and greedily devouring the tale. Of course this book succeeded in whetting my appetite for the earlier books in the series and I will certainly be adding them to my library. In short, this book was phenomenal and I would not hesitate to give it my highest recommendation.
The Book of Lost Fragrances is available for sale at major booksellers now, including Amazon. I am an Amazon affiliate. If you make a purchase through my link I will receive a small commission.
Review copy of this book provided by the publicist in exchange for a fair and honest review. In no way did the provision of this book affect the outcome of my review.
The Book of Lost Fragrances Scavenger Hunt
“A perfume that hasn’t been breathed for centuries,” L’Etoile whispered. As the others entered, Abu set to explaining that they were now standing in the funeral chamber and pointed out the brightly colored murals. One showed the deceased dressing a large statue of a man with a jackal’s head, placing food at the man-beast’s feet. Slightly behind him, a lithe and lovely woman in a transparent gown held a tray of bottles. In the next scene, she was lighting a censer, the smoke becoming visible. In the next panel, the jackal stood among jars, presses, and alembics, objects that L’Etoile recognized from his father’s perfume shop back in Paris. L’Etoile knew how important fragrance was to ancient Egyptians, but he’d never seen this much imagery relating to the making or using of scent before.
Please visit http://songberries.com/ for the next stop on the scavenger hunt.
What kind of research did you do while writing The Book of Lost Fragrances?
MJR: I met with perfumers, visited perfume factories, read about two dozen books on perfume and bought way more perfume than I should have.
Who was your favorite author as a child?
MJR: All the authors who wrote Nancy Drew.
What are you currently reading?
MJR: The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters.
Are any of the characters in the book inspired by people you know in real life?
MJR: The perfumer in the book, Robbie L'Etoile, was inspired by a perfumer I met in Paris, Olivier Durbano.
What was your favorite part of The Book of Lost Fragrances to write?
MJR: The end.
For more information on author M. J. Rose, please visit her website.
With thanks to Media Muscle and Book Trib for including me on this virtual book tour!