the perfume collector
A secret history of scent, memory and desire ... from the Sunday Times bestselling author of Elegance and
London,1955: Grace Monroe is a very fortunate young woman. In spite of a sheltered upbringing in Oxford, her recent marriage has thrust her into the heart of London’s most refined and ambitious social circles, where alliances are formed and reputations made. However, playing the role of the sophisticated socialite her husband would like her to be doesn’t come naturally to her - and perhaps never will.
Then one evening, a letter arrives from a law firm in Paris. Grace has received an unanticipated inheritance. Only her benefactor, Frenchwoman Eva d’Orsey, is a complete stranger to her. Grace dismisses it as a mistake. However, when later that same night, she suddenly suspects her husband of infidelity, her world is thrown into chaos.
Fleeing London for Paris, Grace searching for information about the mysterious Eva d’Orsey. What she uncovers is the remarkable history of an unconventional woman who inspired one of Paris’s greatest perfumers. Only Eva’s past and Grace’s future intersect. And soon Grace must chose between the life she thinks she ought to live or becoming the person she truly is.
Told in three distinctive perfumes, the story weaves through the decades, from 1920’s New York to Monte Carlo, Paris and London; revealing the complex, obsessive love between muse and artist and the tremendous power of memory and scent.
"Wrap yourself in a luxuriant mood, and take your time reading this book. It will fill every moment with nuance and elegance. And go shopping for a new perfume. Now."
Whom You Know
“The Perfume Collector is a crackling, beautifully paced story that weaves the world of fragrance into the lives of two vibrant women in a way few have experienced. Inhale deeply--a new way of telling a story of the heart.”
(Kate Alcott, author of The Dressmaker)
“Fragrance, fashion, and a puzzling bequest lead a 1950s British socialite into a whirl of Parisian intrigue in Kathleen Tessaro’s The Perfume Collector.”
“A colorful, stimulating journey through time.”
“A bewitching, compelling novel, full of dark desires, long-buried secrets, revisited memories, and new opportunities.”
“Dazzles the senses.”
“Beautiful imagery and prose are the strong points of this seductive story that paints the most bewitching picture imaginable of perfume creation and the muses who inspire it. The themes are brilliant . . . and likely to leave readers feeling awestruck by the end of this classy and unforgettable novel.”
“A mesmerising novel of passion and scent.” (Woman and Home
“This evocative novel spins you back a few decades to the 20s and 50s where a young bride suppresses her intellect to be the trophy wife her husband desires. She is devasted when he is unfaithful but could it be the making of her?” (Glamour (UK))
“A compelling plot in a truly magical Parisian setting, fascinating information about the way perfume is made, and great secondary characters make this a charming read. . . . Readers of the works of Emily Griffin and Laura Florand will enjoy.”
“A lovely tale of a young woman in London who receives a mysterious inheritance that brings her to Paris and eventually to an old perfume shop. . . . Sigh.”
(NY Daily News, The Summer's Best Beach Reads)