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The Book of Lost Fragrances

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

The Book of Lost Fragrances is the latest release in M. J. Rose'

The Book of Lost Fragrances is the latest release in M. J. Rose's long, successful career, and the fourth installment in her Reincarnationist series. It is full of intrigue, mystery, a race for a historical artifact, family, and timeless romance. Although it is a part o...
The Book of Lost Fragrances is the latest release in M. J. Rose's long, successful career, and the fourth installment in her Reincarnationist series. It is full of intrigue, mystery, a race for a historical artifact, family, and timeless romance. Although it is a part of a series, the book is a standalone novel.

The story contains a host of minor characters from ancient Egypt, 18th century France, and modern day, but focuses mostly on Jacinthe L'Etoile and, to an extent, Xie Ping. Xie is an artist living in China who has a secret, and is trying to survive under the watchful eye and heavy hand of the Chinese government. Jac is a mythologist television personality whose family perfume business is on the verge of collapse. When her father's declining mental facilities forces him to retire and her brother goes missing, Jac's life begins to spin out of control. She only has days to find her brother and his mysterious, ancient Egyptian pottery shards that hold the potential to save the family business from financial ruin. Xie and Jac are on opposite sides of the world, but are thrust into the midst of intrigue, murder, and the age-old question of whether or not the possibility of reincarnation truly exists.

I found The Book of Lost Fragrances to be a beautiful and well-written novel. The story flowed seamlessly across time and continents to tell a story of the search for the scent of memory. I was never bored by the flashbacks of the past or by the steady change in character focus. I would be reading what is going on in modern day Paris, then suddenly find the book describing events in ancient Egypt. The only problem that I had with the book was something that slightly offended my old-fashioned sensibilities. It was not a huge deal, but it made me a bit uncomfortable. However, it served a purpose at the end of the novel. The ending would not have been as powerful if not for that particular plot point.

As I stated in my summary, the book contains a multitude of characters. I think in this instance they were beneficial to the pacing and wove the story together more completely. Each was necessary to develop a major character or better explain a scene. Jac may have been the diamond, but she would not have shown without the never-seen little girl, Elsie. The assassin for the Chinese mafia added another dimension to Xie, in my opinion. The relationships between the characters were also stunningly lovely threads that wove this engrossing story together. To say more than that could potentially ruin the surprise of how everything was tied.

In the end, The Book of Lost Fragrances is a story about love. It is about the love between strangers, the love between family, and that intense love of a sweetheart (for lack of a better word). Anyone who enjoys a love story without a lot of romantic elements, a murder mystery without the gore, and a treasure hunt without an insane amount of twists and turns will enjoy this book. I am thrilled that I had the opportunity to review it, and I look forward to starting the series at the beginning. This is a book that I will definitely read again.

*To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. It has in no way affected the outcome.

posted by KaylaBeck on March 28, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Intriguing!

The Book of Lost Fragrances by M.J. Rose is a novel that spans centuries as well as continents. With the heavy them of reincarnation, The Book of Lost Fragrances involves a handful of diverse characters all with a mysterious common goal. They're all after the same thin...
The Book of Lost Fragrances by M.J. Rose is a novel that spans centuries as well as continents. With the heavy them of reincarnation, The Book of Lost Fragrances involves a handful of diverse characters all with a mysterious common goal. They're all after the same thing but you don't know exactly what. This book takes on a slow but steady pace building the mystery that is not only historical but also spiritual.
The story centers around Jac L'Etoile and her brother Robbie. They come from a long line a perfume makers. Jac and Robbie are going through tough times. They've both had difficult lives, especially Jac. They know the power that certain scents have over us. They know how it can trigger a powerful memory. Their family has kept many secrets over the years and now the secrets are coming back to the surface.
The story is told from several points of view. This aspect keeps you guessing but also broadens the scope of the mystery at hand. At first the different characters can be a little confusing. As the story moves along the author slowly reveals not only how the characters are connected but are also the serendipitous nature of the story.
Overall this book is an interesting read. The historical elements as well as the mythological elements are very enjoyable. M.J. Rose teases the olfactory senses with her descriptive words and reminds us how powerful a memory can be.

posted by Marcie77 on March 15, 2012

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  • Posted March 28, 2012

    The Book of Lost Fragrances is the latest release in M. J. Rose'

    The Book of Lost Fragrances is the latest release in M. J. Rose's long, successful career, and the fourth installment in her Reincarnationist series. It is full of intrigue, mystery, a race for a historical artifact, family, and timeless romance. Although it is a part of a series, the book is a standalone novel.

    The story contains a host of minor characters from ancient Egypt, 18th century France, and modern day, but focuses mostly on Jacinthe L'Etoile and, to an extent, Xie Ping. Xie is an artist living in China who has a secret, and is trying to survive under the watchful eye and heavy hand of the Chinese government. Jac is a mythologist television personality whose family perfume business is on the verge of collapse. When her father's declining mental facilities forces him to retire and her brother goes missing, Jac's life begins to spin out of control. She only has days to find her brother and his mysterious, ancient Egyptian pottery shards that hold the potential to save the family business from financial ruin. Xie and Jac are on opposite sides of the world, but are thrust into the midst of intrigue, murder, and the age-old question of whether or not the possibility of reincarnation truly exists.

    I found The Book of Lost Fragrances to be a beautiful and well-written novel. The story flowed seamlessly across time and continents to tell a story of the search for the scent of memory. I was never bored by the flashbacks of the past or by the steady change in character focus. I would be reading what is going on in modern day Paris, then suddenly find the book describing events in ancient Egypt. The only problem that I had with the book was something that slightly offended my old-fashioned sensibilities. It was not a huge deal, but it made me a bit uncomfortable. However, it served a purpose at the end of the novel. The ending would not have been as powerful if not for that particular plot point.

    As I stated in my summary, the book contains a multitude of characters. I think in this instance they were beneficial to the pacing and wove the story together more completely. Each was necessary to develop a major character or better explain a scene. Jac may have been the diamond, but she would not have shown without the never-seen little girl, Elsie. The assassin for the Chinese mafia added another dimension to Xie, in my opinion. The relationships between the characters were also stunningly lovely threads that wove this engrossing story together. To say more than that could potentially ruin the surprise of how everything was tied.

    In the end, The Book of Lost Fragrances is a story about love. It is about the love between strangers, the love between family, and that intense love of a sweetheart (for lack of a better word). Anyone who enjoys a love story without a lot of romantic elements, a murder mystery without the gore, and a treasure hunt without an insane amount of twists and turns will enjoy this book. I am thrilled that I had the opportunity to review it, and I look forward to starting the series at the beginning. This is a book that I will definitely read again.

    *To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. It has in no way affected the outcome.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 20, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    a tale that takes you from the tombs of Egypt to the catacombs of Paris

    The Book of Lost Fragrances is a captivating historical fiction. It offers a tale of suspense with paranormal elements, religious oppression and a romance that spans the ages. Rose masterfully blends fact and fiction as she takes us from the tombs of ancient Egypt to the catacombs of Paris. I was fascinated by the history and drawn to the characters. Told from multiple points of view we travel from past to present as different groups search for the fragrance of lost souls. Believed to have been created by the perfumer of Cleopatra, this scent is said to help one remember their past lives. The main characters are Jac and Robbie L’Etoile. They are heirs to one of the oldest perfume companies in France; The House of L’Etoile. Their family business is in financial trouble when Robbie uncovers pottery with hieroglyphics. He asks his friend Griffin to decipher the ancient writing. When Robbie ends up missing and a man is found dead, Jac returns to Paris to search for her brother. Despite a painful past relationship, Jac and Griffin work together to find Robbie. We also meet a doctor who believes in past lives, Tibetan monks, a young man believed to be a reincarnated lama and members of the Chinese mafia and government. All of them are seeking the shattered remains of pottery. Each has a reason for wanting them and some of them will stop at nothing to obtain it. While at times the leaping from past to present and the multiple POV’s had me re-reading the beginning of a chapter, I urge you to read on. This seems to be a trend in a lot of books I have read of late and Rose beautifully weaves all of these chapters and timelines into a tale I will not soon forget. The characters have depth and I quickly became invested in their tale. I found the history of perfume, Tibet, Egypt and France to be fascinating. I even stopped reading to goggled some of the subjects. I became completely engrossed in this tale and was moved by the outcome. I want to thank netGalley and Simon & Schuster for providing me with this ARC in exchange for my unbiased review.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 15, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Intriguing!

    The Book of Lost Fragrances by M.J. Rose is a novel that spans centuries as well as continents. With the heavy them of reincarnation, The Book of Lost Fragrances involves a handful of diverse characters all with a mysterious common goal. They're all after the same thing but you don't know exactly what. This book takes on a slow but steady pace building the mystery that is not only historical but also spiritual.
    The story centers around Jac L'Etoile and her brother Robbie. They come from a long line a perfume makers. Jac and Robbie are going through tough times. They've both had difficult lives, especially Jac. They know the power that certain scents have over us. They know how it can trigger a powerful memory. Their family has kept many secrets over the years and now the secrets are coming back to the surface.
    The story is told from several points of view. This aspect keeps you guessing but also broadens the scope of the mystery at hand. At first the different characters can be a little confusing. As the story moves along the author slowly reveals not only how the characters are connected but are also the serendipitous nature of the story.
    Overall this book is an interesting read. The historical elements as well as the mythological elements are very enjoyable. M.J. Rose teases the olfactory senses with her descriptive words and reminds us how powerful a memory can be.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 5, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Once again, I am fascinated and impressed with Rose's knowledge

    Once again, I am fascinated and impressed with Rose's knowledge of reincarnation. By now, everyone knows about my interest and belief in the subject and I truly never tire of reading about it, whether it be in a fictional context or in non-fiction (although some may argue that it's all fictional). What I like about Rose's portrayal of the subject is her incorporation of it with history, as well as the current events of the day.

    In this book, the fourth installment in The Reincarnationist series, we are treated to ancient Egypt, another subject of endless fascination for me, and the culture's use of fragrance as a link to past lives, particularly during the Ptolemaic period. From there, we are whisked forward to present day China and the endless struggle between Tibet and the Chinese government to control the reincarnation of the next Dalai Lama. As usual, there is mystery and intrigue, which adds a suspenseful element to the story. For me though, the historical aspects of the story are sufficient to keep my interest. Add in a bit of alchemy, and you have a well-rounded and interesting story of history, science, and mysticism.

    The beauty of this series is that you really can read the books without having read the earlier books. I still have not read the first and second books in the series (although they are on my shelf), but I had no problem reading the third, The Hypnotist, and the fourth (this one) books as stand alone novels. Rose is a talented author, with a gift for writing about a subject of whic she is clearly passionate. I sincerely look forward to any and all future offerings from her, whether it be more books in this series, or a new set of books down the road.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 28, 2013

    Wow where to start to talk about this amazing book that I loved;

    Wow where to start to talk about this amazing book that I loved; The Book Of Lost Fragrances by M.J. Rose…
    It has a complicated, twisty-turny, back and forth in time plot which all resolves seamlessly; a credit to M. J. Rose’s ability to craft a story.
    It has lovable, wounded, flawed characters.
    It brings you into other worlds and gives you a realistic-seeming taste of them. For instance, I was vaguely aware that Paris, France has catacombs underneath. This book made them real for me.
    It also has an element that I love, love, love; the world of fragrance, aromatherapy, scent.
    I found that world fascinating.
    The book speaks of fragrance in the sense of perfumes; both perfumes custom-made to suit the individual; a company that mass-markets fictional perfumes with names like Rouge and Noir; and medicinal perfumes.
    “This was one of the scents from The Game of Impossible Fragrances. In the scent vocabulary that made up her and Robbie’s secret language, this was Fragrance of Loyalty, Jac’s favorite. Adding notes of bergamot to a rich earthy base of oakmoss, she’d come up with a chypre—a type of warm, woody scent first made famous by the legendary perfumer Francois Coty in 1917. Fragrance of Loyalty was neither feminine nor masculine, and could be worn by either brother or sister. And that was as it should be, she said, so they both could use it to signal when something was wrong and they needed help.” The Book of Lost Fragrances by M. J. Rose.
    This book does not have a HEA, everyone gets married, ending. The ending is happy and hopeful but the soul mates, ‘Ames souers’, do not ride off into the sunset together.
    I highly recommend that you read this book when you want to be completely drawn into another world. Taken away. Transported.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 12, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    don't know if this is as contradictory as it seems to me, but th

    don't know if this is as contradictory as it seems to me, but the premise of the novel and Chapter 1 had me hooked immediately, but it took me a while to fully invest in the storyline. Once I did though, I couldn't put the book down. The story flowed seamlessly between past and present, and from present to present in a completely different part of the world, both transitions I usually find very difficult to navigate. The plot and characters are incredibly fleshed out and very intriguing. This story covers romance, loss, family, mystery, suspense, intrigue, history, and much much deeper elements and I closed the book feeling enjoyably satisfied.

    This has something for everyone. Side note: The ARC provided to me by Historical Fiction Blog Tours included an author's note section full of pictures and stories of her research for this novel. It was awesome! I hope this is included in the book store releases because it drew me in at the beginning and was great to go back to once I finished the novel!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 20, 2014

    The Book of Lost Fragrances is one of those rare reads that pull

    The Book of Lost Fragrances is one of those rare reads that pulls you in from the first page, and keeps you at the edge of your seat until the end. M.J. Rose is a wonderful author, who has a real knack for storytelling, and for pulling the reader into the story. With beautiful, atmospheric descriptions, the author describes both settings and characters sublimely.

    Jac is our main character. She’s always been haunted by the past. After her mother’s suicide she moves to America, leaving her parent’s perfume company into the hands of her brother Robbie. But when Robbie hints at an earth-shattering discovery in the family archives, and then goes missing, Jac is plunged into a world she thought she’d left behind. She has to discover an ancient family secret, a perfume that unlocks the mysteries of reincarnation. With a large cast of side characters, and a journey through time, this book combines mystery, history, and romance into an intriguing read I fell in love with right away.

    I also liked the premise of finding a scent powerful enough to stretch through time. Kind of reminded me of “Perfume”, the murder mystery novel about a serial killer obsessed with scent. I loved that one, and I loved The Book of Lost Fragrances as well. Guess I’m a perfume lover of sorts.

    It’s hard to review books you loved, since there’s nothing I can find in this book that upset me, or that I thought could be improved. If anything, it was a tad too complicated at times, especially keeping characters apart. Some names were similar, and sometimes I had trouble linking names to characters. The whole: “who’s that again?” thing. Also, it started out a little slow.

    But all in all, a wonderful, amazing read that I thoroughly enjoyed. I look forward to reading more books by this talented author! I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Posted May 9, 2014

    Absolutely super

    This is a really good book.

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  • Posted February 16, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    MJ Rose delivers another suspenseful tale with ┬┐The Book of Lost

    MJ Rose delivers another suspenseful tale with “The Book of Lost Fragrances.”

    A brother and sister have inherited the House of L’Etoile, and then discover the perfume company is in serious financial difficulty. They need a hit fragrance to save the corporation or else parts of it will have to be sold off, something Robbie does not want to do. Robbie feels that delving into the 250 year old family business history will uncover an ancient perfume formula that will save the day. He has the professional talent, but not the nose to sort through formulas that he knows the family possesses, somewhere hidden. His sister, Jac, has the nose, but not the interest in investigating something that she considers a fantasy. She is more pragmatic and wants to sell off bits to save the whole. Neither of them suspects at first that the lost fragrance could save more than just the business.

    During the years since her mother’s death, Jac has suffered with unsettling dreams she does not understand. For a long time she (and others) thought she was mentally unbalanced and she never believed that she might be reliving the distant past. Her struggle with her own past, her trust issues, and her conversations with family ghosts – create a multi-layered, vulnerable lead character. We want her to make the right decisions, to be happy, trust, and find love again.

    M.J. Rose believes that who we were influences who we are today, and her four books in the Reincarnation series apply that concept across the centuries. “The Book of Lost Fragrances” deals with the power of a love that endures from the time of Cleopatra. Fragrance is employed as a memory tool to not only bring reincarnated lovers back together, but also as an aid in returning to a difficult time when one can undo mistakes and therefore ease the pain of the future. In “The Book of Lost Fragrances,” governments and religious institutions race to find this tool before it falls into the wrong hands.

    The brother and sister have an interesting dynamic and as we learn the business and history of perfumery from the inside out, their interaction rings true on every level, even after a murder is committed and Robbie is suspected. A former lover adds tension and intrigue to the mystery. Dr. Malachi Samuels, a scientist working to prove that reincarnation exists, is a recurring character in the four books, continuing his search for ancient memory tools, sometimes involving others in dangerous schemes, always under scrutiny by the FBI.

    Supporting characters are well written in this enthralling tale that addresses issues in Tibet and China, the Dali Lama, the French Revolution, lost and found again lovers, Cleopatra’s perfume formula book, and more. Students of archeology will be drawn to the ancient Egyptian pottery shards in the storyline.

    Rose always does impeccable research in order to build the historical foundation for the ‘Reincarnation’ books. Each title spans several centuries and countries and she has openly admitted loving this part of her process. While working on “The Book of Lost Fragrances,” Rose sent the manuscript to a perfumer in France, who designed a fragrance (Ames Soeurs) inspired by the book. She subsequently showed the fragrance in NYC when the book was being launched.

    The B of LF was on the ‘Indie Next List’ in 2012 and was named one of the Top Ten Mystery/Thrillers for 2012 by Publishers Weekly. While it is part of a series, it is a solid stand-alone title. Just don’t let it be.

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  • Posted August 29, 2013

    This book was pretty disappointing and very upsetting. If I'd ha

    This book was pretty disappointing and very upsetting. If I'd had any idea the extent of the content, I would've passed. The focus on reincarnation isn't just a plot point, it's constant. Made worse by the seeming fact that no one in the whole thing can be happy in their present lives because they are so consumed by past lives. Top that off with the rape of a convent of nuns, monks setting themselves on fire, and I just could not enjoy the read at all.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2013

    Very good story telling

    Was hooked from the very first paragraph!! Couldnt put ut down.. cant wait for the sequel.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2013

    Good read

    I got this book because it was recommended by Steve Berry on Facebook. It is a good read about a brother and sister in the perfume business in Paris. A business that has been in the family for generations. It is about the searce for a fragrance that can cause you to remember past lives. It is a good read with interesting twist and remembered lives going back to Cleopatria's time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2013

    Rich characters, suspenseful, romantic. A book you can lose your

    Rich characters, suspenseful, romantic. A book you can lose yourself in. Beautifully written.

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  • Posted February 12, 2013

    I love historical fiction that teaches me something along with a

    I love historical fiction that teaches me something along with an intriguing and entertaining plot, and this was a wow — the business, power, mystery and intoxicating magic of scent on our subconcsious. The characters were as vivid as the perfumes (and describing smell is not so easily done as she would make it seem!), and I loved the path of history from the tombs of Egypt to the catacombs of Paris. A great read!

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  • Posted December 27, 2012

    What a wonderful read! Paris, the catacombs, a lost secret and s

    What a wonderful read! Paris, the catacombs, a lost secret and somehow we tie in the Dalai Lama and the current Chinese policy against reincarnation. Absolutely spell-binding! And now I want a perfumer's organ and someone to make a scent for me...

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  • Posted August 12, 2012

    This is the second or third book I've read by M.J. Rose. It was

    This is the second or third book I've read by M.J. Rose. It was a interesting mystery with paranormal added to it. My favorite kind of book! I find the whole idea of possibly having lived a previous life very interesting. This book weaved back in forth from the past and present with ease.I don't think you'll be disappointed!

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  • Posted June 26, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    It’s surprising how enthralling a story about perfume can


    It’s surprising how enthralling a story about perfume can be but M. J. Rose has crafted a tale that’s almost lyrical in the telling, moving effortlessly from one time period to another and from one place to another and back again and, yet, with an air of nearly unbearable suspense at times. Of course, the truth is that this is not just about perfume. An enduring love in ancient Egypt, the terrible cruelties that took place in France during the Revolution, a modern-day Tibetan calligrapher who may hold the key to identifying the next Dalai Lama, a brother and sister whose Parisian childhoods took very different directions, an important man bent on having what he wants at any cost—all flow together in a seamless, almost hypnotic way that defies easy explanation. The perfumes themselves take on a life of sensuality and the reader can almost smell the heady fragrances. It’s as if the author takes the reader by the hand and crosses into a realm of enchantment and mystery.

    I first encountered M. J. Rose a number of years ago when she was going to be participating in the Virginia Festival of the Book and my bookstore was handling the sales for all the mystery authors. I hadn’t been familiar with her work before so I read a couple of her books and, to be honest, they weren’t my cup of tea, so to speak, but there was something about them that has stuck in my mind, not the stories but the writing itself. I remember thinking at the time that I wished she would write something, well, different. Then, in 2007, The Reincarnationist was published and it was, oh, so very different. The Book of Lost Fragrances is the fourth in her collection of Reincarnation novels and, in my opinion, this is her breakthrough book. Will every reader agree with me? Of course not, but it will be in the top 5 of my best books read in 2012 list.

    I’m not sure it’s possible to accurately classify this novel (or any of the others in the collection). Certainly, it’s a mystery—more specifically, a thriller, with murder, secrets, gangs and stalking in the forefront—but it’s also romance, historical fiction, political intrigue and more than a dollop of fantasy. All I can do is urge book lovers to look in every section of their favorite bookstores to find this must-read book.

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  • Posted May 30, 2012

    Fun Book

    Perfect summer reading. Light and fun. It also teaches you alittle about the fragrance industry that is interesting.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 29, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    THE BOOK OF LOST FRAGRANCES by M.J. Rose is a suspense/thriller

    THE BOOK OF LOST FRAGRANCES by M.J. Rose is a suspense/thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat. It weaves reincarnation,intrigue,perfumery,a book of scents,suspense,legends,Egypt,family secrets,murder,mystery,and romance.What an intense thriller that you can almost smell the fragrances from the pages of “The Book of Lost Fragrances”. Jac L’Etoile haunted by visions of a past and exotic smells,her mother’s suicide,she embarks on a career as a mythologist T.V. personality. Her brother Robbie,takes over the family business,the House of L’Etoile,learns a family secret but suddenly goes missing.Jac goes to Paris to look for her brother and finds a discovery of her own. Filled with passion,history,and suspense,you will not regret picking up “The Book Of Lost Fragrances”. A fast paced story. Ms. Rose pulls the reader into the story with her vivid descriptions and her intriguing characters. Received for an honest review from the publisher. Details can be found at Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster,Inc.,the author’s website,and My Book Addiction and More.
    RATING: 4
    HEAT RATING:Sweet: No sex or scenes of physical intimacy except some kissing. No graphic violence or profanity.
    REVIEWED BY: AprilR, My Book Addiction and More

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  • Posted May 12, 2012

    Highly Recommended

    A sumptuous feast of an ancient Egyptian perfumer's secret, past lives dotting the landscape and a current mystery/suspense all woven beautifully together.

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