I had heard from a friend that The Perfume Collector was supposed to be fabulous, so I was eager to read it. As part of the review team at She Reads, I was sent the book in exchange for sharing it with you. There are also affiliate links in this post, just so you know. I just think it makes it easier for you to pick up the book if it sounds like something you would like to read. Check out other reviews at She Reads.
Grace Monroe, a newlywed raised in the studious world of Oxford and bland English food, is completely uncomfortable with the glamorous parties and socializing her new life demands. When a mysterious French benefactor leaves Grace a surprising sum in her will, she jumps at the chance to leave her overbearing husband and London’s glittering social scene behind. What she finds in Paris, however, changes everything she knew about her past and has the power to change everything about her future. Tessaro combines Grace’s story with that of Eva d’Orsey, muse to one of Paris’ most famous perfumers and possessor of quite a few unusual talents herself. Sliding seamlessly between the 1950s and the 1920s, Tessaro depicts New York, Paris, London, and Monte Carlo with lush, descriptive imagery and admirable authenticity. Grace is a beguiling heroine, uneasy in her current situation yet hesitant to fully uncover the connections she and Eva share. Fans of Anita Shreve and Maeve Binchy will find The Perfume Collector a bewitching, compelling novel, full of dark desires, long-buried secrets, revisited memories, and new opportunities. --Stephanie Turza
Let me begin by saying I could not put this book down. I read it in a couple of days, versus the last novel I read that took me three weeks. I'll add that it didn't take me three weeks to read The Firebird because I was busy. It truly took me 10 days before I could get into it. If I had not agreed to review it, I'm not sure I would have finished it. I am glad I did because it had a good ending, but it was long! Now that I've said that, I just looked back and realized The Firebird had less than 100 pages more than The Perfume Collector. For me, this is the difference between a good read and a great read. I never would have guessed The Perfume Collector had that many pages, and I thought The Firebird had many more than that!
I found this story spellbounding. The lives of the two strong female characters unfold as you read, and it is so well-written. I sometimes read a book and think to myself, "Why can't I write like that?" Such simple words that when put together make you stop and admire the author. This book was like that for me.
Eva d'Orsey and Grace Monroe are both fabulous characters. You will see Grace's childhood unfold, and she sees it more clearly as it is revealed to her. Eva d'Orsey led a glamorous life, but it was a sad life, too. The other strong female who comes into her life changes her life and Grace's forever. I love how this book goes from one point in history to another and back without making me stop to think too much. I don't think that is easy to do. There were no "I knew that would happen" moments in this book for me. It was such an easy read, and I found myself wanting more when it was over. Please come back and let me know what you thought if you read it. I'd especially love to hear what you thought of the ending!