Customer Reviews for

The Perfume Collector: A Novel

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

27 out of 32 people found this review helpful.

An incredible journey through time, passions, smells and ambitio

An incredible journey through time, passions, smells and ambitions. A delicate and accurate portrayal of chosen women in the last century.

This novel amazed and intoxicated me. 
It reads like a police investigation to find out the reasons behind the legacy left for Gra...
An incredible journey through time, passions, smells and ambitions. A delicate and accurate portrayal of chosen women in the last century.

This novel amazed and intoxicated me. 
It reads like a police investigation to find out the reasons behind the legacy left for Grace by a stranger. 
Therefore, an immersion into Eva's memories. An adventurous woman who begins her journey as a maid in a New York hotel as a teen, to her professional gambling life. She was also a muse and mistress to influential men. Full of unexpected happy or unhappy events. Full of memorable encounters. Full of devouring  and heartbreaking passions. A wonderful and moving slice of life!

But also, a wealth of informations about odors and the manufacture of perfumes. On the status of women in the 20s to 60s. Women's relationship to money, to men in the prosperous and most troubled years of the past.

A moving and captivating story.
I was touched by these strong and vulnerable women who were not afraid to make choices...

Lucie
newbooksonmyselves.blogspot.fr

posted by lucieparis2011 on May 15, 2013

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Most Helpful Critical Review

19 out of 55 people found this review helpful.

Booksintheburb, thank you so much for mentioning this. I fear t

Booksintheburb, thank you so much for mentioning this. I fear that some people are so excited after reading the book, that they tell the entire story in their review. Isn't it obvious that a review should not give everything away? Oh well.....just a thought...

posted by 18632532 on January 1, 2014

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  • Posted May 15, 2013

    An incredible journey through time, passions, smells and ambitio

    An incredible journey through time, passions, smells and ambitions. A delicate and accurate portrayal of chosen women in the last century.

    This novel amazed and intoxicated me. 
    It reads like a police investigation to find out the reasons behind the legacy left for Grace by a stranger. 
    Therefore, an immersion into Eva's memories. An adventurous woman who begins her journey as a maid in a New York hotel as a teen, to her professional gambling life. She was also a muse and mistress to influential men. Full of unexpected happy or unhappy events. Full of memorable encounters. Full of devouring  and heartbreaking passions. A wonderful and moving slice of life!

    But also, a wealth of informations about odors and the manufacture of perfumes. On the status of women in the 20s to 60s. Women's relationship to money, to men in the prosperous and most troubled years of the past.

    A moving and captivating story.
    I was touched by these strong and vulnerable women who were not afraid to make choices...

    Lucie
    newbooksonmyselves.blogspot.fr

    27 out of 32 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 12, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Note: I received The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro book

    Note: I received The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro book as part of the SheReads network.




    As a non-perfume wearer, I must admit I was hesitant when I first read the synopsis of this book. Perfume? Muse? It all seemed, to be honest, a bit hokey. But because SheReads has yet to disappoint me, I forged ahead anyway. Boy, am I glad I did!




    Not only is this book anything but hokey, it is not really about perfume at all. While The Perfume Collector is carried by the undercurrent of the perfume world, it could just as easily have been any other ‘elegant’ collector’s item (books, thimbles, animal figurines, tea sets….) Rather, the story is about hopes, dreams, disappointments, loves lost or found, and family. The fact that the underlying theme of perfume could be easily substituted is demonstrative of the power of the characters and their stories.¿
    Unlike most books that switch between timeframes, The Perfume Collector doesn’t hop between centuries.  The two stories often overlap in their timeframes, which added an element of mystery that I loved. Combined with Tessaro’s elegant writing style (which allowed me to fly through the 450+ pages fairly quickly), this book has landed itself near the top of my summer reading recommendations. 

    21 out of 25 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2013

    Well Written

    I read this book over the holidays. It was easy to follow and I didn't feel the need to re-read a chapter to pick up on where I left off a day before. Unusual story line. I did enjoy it !

    11 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2014

    Great Read

    A lovely story about a muse, and the perfumes she inspired. Its a moving and touching story. You will fall in love with Eva d'Orsey.

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2013

    Wasnt sure at first....

    When I started this book I wasn't sure what to think. The more I read the more I had to keep going. I ended up finishing the second half of the book in about three hours without meaning to. Its a nice, sensual and sad sort of story all at once.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 24, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Colorful Storyline:  THE PERFUME COLLECTOR is a fictional storyl

    Colorful Storyline:  THE PERFUME COLLECTOR is a fictional storyline that covers a tumultuous time in the lives of two women: Grace Monroe is a newly married woman in the 1950s whose sole purpose is to support her husband at social events and business parties. The other is Eva-a young teen in the 1920s who will learn first hand that there are people willing to take advantage of a naïve and innocent girl. And in the end, lives will be destroyed, reputations ruined and one woman will discover that her entire life has been a lie. Starting over will bring about a new set of ideals and revelations where she will discover the real person inside. The Perfume Collector is one woman’s story of self-discovery and independence brought about by a stranger with a gift and a story that has yet to be told.
    We follow Grace as she embarks on a journey that will question the direction of her current life. When an unexpected inheritance from a stranger is thrust into her possession, Grace sets out to uncover the mystery surrounding the money and the woman from whom it was bequeathed. Most of the storyline premise is told in flashbacks and recollections from two specific eras. 
    The storyline alternates smoothly between the 1920s and 1954; from New York to London to Paris. Eva is a young girl, barely a teen, who must grow up quickly when life presents many opportunities and choices. She will find herself in debt to a man who neither loves her nor wants her, but a man who is in desperate need of something only Eva can supply. Hoping to repay the debt, Eva learns that she has lost so much more than her freedom but herself. This particular part of the storyline is darker in content and premise.
    The character and world building are fluid and reflects the ideals and beliefs/emotions of the eras. Kathleen Tessaro pulls the reader into a storyline that tantalizes the senses: from sight and sound to the scents of rain and seduction-you can almost smell the very essence of the perfume. We watch as two women grow into themselves but one will eventually lose the battle when the sins of the past catch up rather quickly. 
    The Perfume Collector is a well-written, colorful storyline with a predictable plot but one that will keep your interest until the very end. The story builds on the premise of Grace’s hunt for information regarding the woman who named her as soul beneficiary and heir to a large estate. Along the way, we are introduced to a number of characters from past and present whose very existence has affected Grace’s life in 1954 and the one woman who is able to connect the timelines and stories together.

    7 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2013

    Eloquent, lovely novel which spans many decades across several c

    Eloquent, lovely novel which spans many decades across several characters.
    The language is beautiful, as is the slow evolution of Grace and Eva D' Orsey. 
    Not too heavy on romance, but masters the sense of attraction two people
    have despite several odd circumstances. Must read

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2013

    A good read...I will most likely read it again.

    I enjoyed reading this book. The story is set in another place and time and depicts a lifestyle that is not often talked about. It crosses decades and social levels. There were times when I skimmed over the details of perfume ingredients just to move more quickly through the book. Overall, it was a good read...I was not disappointed...and I will most likely read it again.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2013

    You know you liked a book when you miss the characters after you

    You know you liked a book when you miss the characters after you finished reading.
    I found myself lost in the story and looked forward to picking it up all the way to the end.
    It was a great summer read.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 3, 2013

    Rather predictable but a totally enjoyable read. 'Perfum

    Rather predictable but a totally enjoyable read. 'Perfume Collector' is one of those thoroughly enjoyable novels where, even when you somewhat see what is coming, it doesn't make a bit of difference. It is so well written, moves so smoothly and effortlessly, and the plot/characters are so engrossing, you just sit down and indulge in one, long, sitting. Moving between three decades, the novel traces the journeys of two women in particular, struggling to define themselves and their identities in a time period where 'women's rights' was not only a radical new idea, but a terrifying concept as well. What is also fascinating here is the information on the art behind truly great perfumers: what goes into creating classic, signature scents, the genius/artistry is often demands. That information, in lesser hands, could have been presented in a dragging, boring way, but the author here handles it beautifully. The reader is not dragged down but intrigued by the information--tends to make you look at that bottle of cologne on your dresser quite differently.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 19, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    3.5 stars. A not-particularly mysterious inheritance leads Londo

    3.5 stars. A not-particularly mysterious inheritance leads Londoner Grace
    Monroe on a journey to Paris to discover why her benefactor, Eva D'Orsey would
    leave her a valuable flat, stocks, and some cheap trinkets.

    Grace's story is set in 1955; Eva's begins in New York City, 1927. Both women
    smoke. Yes, typical for the period, but for a modern reader, it's jarring, and
    somewhat paradoxical, in a book that's all about scent and perfume, since
    smoking dulls the sense of smell. There's a character, Madame Zed, who is so
    sensitive to odors that she can't stand the smell of bleach in her hotel bathroom,
    yet everyone around her is constantly puffing away, and THAT doesn't bother
    her...? If there was a drinking game to take a shot every time someone lit a
    cigarette in this book, the reader would risk death by alcohol poisoning by the
    end (like Eva herself).

    Much of the writing is beautiful. I especially loved the weird ingredients in the
    perfume formulas, the hint of earthiness or decay necessary to make a really
    memorable scent. Those descriptions leave a lingering fragrance in the mind.

    The plot is thin; I think everyone BUT Grace has figured out who Eva is in
    relation to her, long before she gets it. I also felt cheated of Eva's
    transformation; we see her as a young, naive, and soon traumatized 14
    year-old, and in her next scene, she's glamorous, poised, so sophisticated in
    the ways of the world she can tutor/act as muse to a young parfumist with
    great skills in formulation, not so much with people. How did Eva get from
    Point A to Point B?

    Grace's transformation is done subtly, but well. The story is told from
    omniscient point of view and IMO, there are some unnecessary digressions
    into the heads of minor characters which add nothing to the story. But overall,
    despite (or perhaps because of) its flaws, it's a lovely book and I do
    recommend it. 

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2013

    I loved this book. Read it in one day. The story goes from 192

    I loved this book. Read it in one day. The story goes from 1920's, 1944 andd 1955. It is about the life of a young French girl EVA who comes to America as an ophan and ends up as a maid in a NYC hotel. She is an innocent young woman who is drawn into a world of drinking, gambling and intrigue. The 1955's bring in the character of another young woman Grace who is connected to Eva. Good story. Would recommend

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2014

    An excellent read

    I was in all of however, the character of Grace was dry. Grace seemed slow. I loved the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2014

    highly recommended

    A wonderful, sensitive love story that takes you back and forth over time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2014

    great read ..... couldn't put it down

    great read ..... couldn't put it down

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2014

    Great!

    Interesting novel about the intriguing history of perfume making and more....

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2014

    Different

    I thought this 297 (I think) page book was a little confusing at first because the author switched back and forth between time frames, but once I sortrd that out, it was a thoroughly enjoyable tale.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2014

    Susan

    Enjoyed this one and now want to read otjers by this author

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2014

    Strange But Good

    It was a very interesting story told in two completely different eras. The build up to the ending was slow, but held ones attention all the way through. Glad I got it.

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