Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Perfume Collector - Kathleen Tessaro

The Perfume Collector
This book has been On Reserve since its release last summer. Something about it totally captured my interest.  

When Trish of TLC Book Tours offered it up on a list of potential tours for early 2014, I jumped at the opportunity to get it off my to-read list and into my hands.

The story centers around two women. Eva, a young French girl, works at a hotel in 1920s New York City. Her interactions with regular guests open her eyes to the world. Years later, Grace Monroe of England receives a mysterious inheritance and heads to Paris to unravel the mystery.

I found the book positively enchanting. Tessaro created wonderful, colorful characters. Her story contained just enough intrigue to get you hooked and enough substance to keep you hooked.

In some ways, the book felt almost old-fashioned to me. Perhaps this is simply a reflection of all the dystopia I have been reading lately, but something about the cadence and story of The Perfume Collector transported me back in time several decades. Putting aside my own reading habits, I credit Tessaro for truly carrying her reader to the novel's setting.

I enjoyed reading a story that centered around three of my favorite cities, too. New York, London, and, of course, Paris always capture my imagination. Tessaro nails it when she writes, "The French [are] fluent in the language of beauty."

Kathleen Tessaro
One surprising result of reading this story was my newfound desire to experiment with perfume.  As one character says, "Perfume should tell a story...It's the very intimate element of a woman, just like her signature or the sound of her voice." I have worn the same scent since high school and never given it much thought. Yet, now that I have read about the intricacies of perfume creation and seen these characters place so much value on scent, it makes me want to head to the nearest Sephora and try every scent on the wall. Or, better yet, have someone create a custom scent for me despite the fact that that option is pretty much guaranteed out of my price range.

Ultimately, the book is about more than historical cities or the allure of perfumery. It is about relationships. Tessaro has written a beautiful story about how we are all "trying too hard and failing too often", but also about how we seek renewal and fresh starts. The book does not fit under a neat genre label because it stands alone. It is a book about people.

This is not a book I am going to recommend to my sweet husband. Not only am I certain he would not reach page 100, but this is one of those books with which I feel an almost intimate connection. You know those books that become like friends? The ones where something in the story connects and makes you feel a part of it? This book is for me - and all of you, as I thoroughly recommend it. Just don't expect to get your hands on my copy. I am keeping this one, with its newly marked and highlighted pages, for my own collection.

Pages: 464
Date Completed: January 19, 2014

*To read others' thoughts on The Perfume Collector, check out the full tour schedule.*

1 comment:

  1. Aah, books that become like friends are the BEST. I'm so glad this was that kind of book for you!

    Thanks for being on the tour. I'm featuring your review on TLC's Facebook page today.