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Scent of Triumph
     

Scent of Triumph

4.4 22
by Jan Moran
 

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"Jan Moran is the new queen of the epic romance."- USA Today best-selling author Rebecca Forster

When French perfumer Danielle Bretancourt steps aboard a luxury ocean liner, leaving her son behind in Poland with his grandmother, she has no idea that her life is about to change forever. The year is 1939, and the declaration of war on the European

Overview

"Jan Moran is the new queen of the epic romance."- USA Today best-selling author Rebecca Forster

When French perfumer Danielle Bretancourt steps aboard a luxury ocean liner, leaving her son behind in Poland with his grandmother, she has no idea that her life is about to change forever. The year is 1939, and the declaration of war on the European continent soon threatens her beloved family, scattered across many countries. Traveling through London and Paris into occupied Poland, Danielle searches desperately for her the remains of her family, relying on the strength and support of Jonathan Newell-Grey, a young captain. Finally, she is forced to gather the fragments of her impoverished family and flee to America. There she vows to begin life anew, in 1940s Los Angeles.

There, through determination and talent, she rises high from meager jobs in her quest for success as a perfumer and fashion designer to Hollywood elite. Set between privileged lifestyles and gritty realities, Scent of Triumph by commanding newcomer Jan Moran is one woman's story of courage, spirit, and resilience.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Jan Moran is the new queen of the epic romance.” —USA Today Bestselling Author Rebecca Forster

“Utterly inescapable...Jan Moran's masterful romance comes with a bonus: she interweaves this romantic tale with a behind-the-scenes look at how one makes and sells perfume, an art Ms. Moran is known for internationally. The fascinating result is a tale that rivals Danielle Steele at her romantic best!” —Allegra Jordan, author of The End of Innocence

“A sweeping debut novel about a fearless, headstrong woman. Spanning multiple continents and set against the backdrop of WWII, Jan Moran deftly weaves plotlines and tackles tough issues, all to a satisfying conclusion. Add in glimpses of the high-end fragrance trade, and SCENT OF TRIUMPH offers a thoroughly engaging tale, rich in all five senses.” —Michelle Gable, Author of A Paris Apartment

“A heartbreaking, evocative read that will transport readers to another place and time and not let go. I could not turn the pages fast enough!” —Anita Hughes, Author of Lake Como

“From war-torn Europe to the sunny climes of Southern California, SCENT OF TRIUMPH is a captivating tale of love, loss, determination and reinvention. A page-turner.” —Karen Marin, Givenchy Paris

“Hard to put down…captivating. A "must read" for anyone in the cosmetic industry or even starting a business.” —Marvel Fields, Chairman, American Society of Perfumers

“SCENT OF TRIUMPH is a rich tapestry that weaves fragrance into an already compelling story of love and perseverance during World War II. Jan's skillful writing, combined with her wealth of olfactory knowledge, makes this a great read for all, but especially the perfume enthusiast.” —Karen Adams, Sniffapalooza

“Scent of Triumph is one of my latest favorites. This book was heartbreaking and yet was an exquisite tale of tribulation, adventure and heroism that all intertwined the strength of a woman.” —Night Owl Reviews

“A haunting, multilayered historical romance, Jan Moran's Scent of Triumph takes us on an epic journey with the most resilient of heroines as our guide. It is a book to savor, like the most beautiful of perfumes. Inhale. Exhale. I was riveted from start to finish...and I'm only just now finding my breath.” —Samantha Vérant, author of Seven Letters from Paris: A Memoir

“If the idea of a novel about a perfumer brings to mind images of sterile laboratories or serene fields of flowers, think again. SCENT OF TRIUMPH offers action, suspense and romance aplenty as it follows its intrepid heroine through the turbulent years of World War II, from the depths of tragedy to the heights of success. Fragrance lovers will especially enjoy the skillful way in which scent is woven into the story, not only through references to classic perfumes but also in the way the heroine's experiences are filtered through her highly refined sense of smell.” —Nancy Arnott, A&E Television Networks

“When you lose everything, one must embrace. SCENT OF TRIUMPH follows the struggles of Danielle Bretancourt von Hoffman, who following the Second World War [attempts] to find her place in society, and finds her talent of identifying any scent on her own; she uses those talents to build her way up through the fashion world and Hollywood. Drawing heavily on the author's own experience, SCENT OF TRIUMPH has a dedicated look into the history of the world of fashion, recommended.” —Midwest Book Review

“SCENT OF TRIUMPH will appeal to anyone who enjoys historical romance. Filled with love, loss, struggle, triumph. Moran writes in such a way that you will feel as if you were transported back to the era. Her characters are interesting and well developed. Very unique, an enjoyable read.” —Rebecca’s Reads Review

“Warm and well written, with characters who attract the reader's sympathy and affection. A lovely story well-told, which will appeal to romantics, fashion and perfume devotees, and fans of historical fiction.” —Amy Edelman, founder of IndieReader.com

“A stylish, compelling story of a family torn apart by war and a woman's courageous efforts to bring them back together, SCENT OF TRIUMPH has everything: romance, heartache, spying, intrigue, and vivid settings. Danielle is just the kind of feisty female protagonist that I love, but what really sets SCENT OF TRIUMPH apart is the backdrop of perfumery that suffuses the story with the delicious aromas of rose, jasmine, lavender, bergamot, cinnamon bark, cloves and bitter orange. You can almost smell them as you read - a remarkable feat!” —Liz Trenow, author of The Poppy Factory

“A gripping World War II story of poignant love and devastating, heart-wrenching loss. The perfumes are so beautifully described, you can smell them wafting up from the pages.” —Gill Paul, author of The Affair

“In SCENT OF TRIUMPH, Jan Moran has created a resilient, talented, yet relatable character in Danielle. Her story will resonate with any woman who has faced the challenges of parenting, loving, and working to build a future for herself-as well as those who are looking for a good read, and a satisfying ending.” —Kelly James-Enger, author of White Bikini Panties and The Honesty Inde

Kirkus Review
2015-01-22
A French perfume heiress with a gift for scent survives the trials and tribulations of World War II, and of love, in this first traditionally published novel from indie author Moran. Danielle Bretancourt von Hoffman, the daughter of a successful French perfume dynasty, spends most of her days thinking up new perfumes—that is, when she's not swooning over Jonathan Newell-Grey, handsome shipping magnate and her husband's close friend. Jon is helping Danielle and her husband, Max, a Polish glass manufacturer, relocate to America in the lead-up to World War II when the announcement comes that Germany has invaded Poland—and trapped Danielle and Max's son, Nicky, and Max's mother, Sophia, behind enemy lines. Pursued by the dastardly Heinrich, a boy Sophia fostered but who has fallen in with the Nazis, driven by his unreasonable hatred for the part-Jewish Danielle, Nicky and Sophia go on the run. It's no surprise when the ship on which Danielle and Max are returning is attacked by the Germans, nor when Heinrich kills Max during a dangerous undercover assignment for the British government, which Max took in order to search for Nicky and his mother. Even with Max conveniently out of the way, however, Danielle and Jon miss a number of opportunities to pursue their mutual passion, interrupted by the war, Jon's hasty engagement to an English socialite and Danielle's ill-advised marriage to a Hollywood star. Her development of a new "intoxicating" perfume with "the mystery of amber to balance the soul; the silky smoothness of sandalwood; the delicious lure of vanilla, like a lover's midnight embrace" leads to a new career in fashion as well, keeping Danielle in the spotlight, pursued by a stalker who seems obsessed with her destruction. A rushed and convoluted plot combines with an underdeveloped, uninspiring heroine, a love story without much spark and enough clichéd prose to sink the Bismarck.
author of White Bikini Panties and The Honesty Ind Kelly James-Enger

In SCENT OF TRIUMPH, Jan Moran has created a resilient, talented, yet relatable character in Danielle. Her story will resonate with any woman who has faced the challenges of parenting, loving, and working to build a future for herself-as well as those who are looking for a good read, and a satisfying ending.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781250048905
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
03/31/2015
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
885,543
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.20(d)

Read an Excerpt

I

A rose, the symbol of love, the queen of the perfumer’s palette.
How then, does the perfume of war intoxicate even the most
reasonable of men?
—DB (From the perfume journal of Danielle Bretancourt)

3 SEPTEMBER, 1939 — ATLANTIC OCEAN

Danielle Bretancourt von Hoffman braced herself against the mahogany-paneled stateroom wall, striving for balance as she flung open a brass porthole, seeking a moment of respite she knew would never be. A damp, kelp-scented wind—a harbinger of the storm ahead—whistled through the cabin, assaulting her nose with its raw intensity, but the sting of salty spray did little to assuage the fear she had for her little boy.
Nicky was only six years old. Why, oh why did I agree to leave him behind? She had wanted to bring him, but her husband had disagreed, saying he was far too young for such an arduous journey. As a trained scientist, his arguments were always so logical, so sensible. Against her instinct, she had given in to Max. It was settled; in their absence her mother-in-law, Sofia, would care for Nicky on their old family estate in Poland.
Danielle kept her eyes focused on the horizon as the Newell-Grey Explorer slanted upward, slicing through the peak of a cresting wave. The ocean liner creaked and pitched as it heaved through the turbulent gray waters of the Atlantic on its voyage from New York to England. Silently, Danielle urged it onward, anxious to return home.
Her usually sturdy stomach churned in rhythm with the sea. Was it morning sickness, anxiety, or the ravaging motion of the sea? Probably all three, she decided. Just last week she’d been so wretchedly ill that she’d seen a doctor, who confirmed her pregnancy. The timing couldn’t be worse.
She blinked against the stiff breeze, her mind reeling. When they’d heard reports of the new agreement between Germany and Russia, they’d cut their business short to hurry home. Had it been just two days since they’d learned the devastating news that Nazi forces had invaded Poland?
Someone knocked sharply on the door. Gingerly crossing the room, Danielle opened the door to Jonathan Newell-Grey, heir apparent to the British shipping line that bore his family name. His tie hung from his collar and his sleeves were rolled up, exposing muscular forearms taut from years of sailing. A rumpled wool jacket hung over one shoulder.
Danielle and Max had met Jon on their outbound voyage to New York several weeks ago. They had become good friends, dining together regularly on the ship, and later in the city. Well-traveled and physically fit, Jon loved to explore and dine on fine food, and insisted on taking them to the best restaurants in New York, as well as little-known nooks that served authentic French and German fare, assuring Max and Danielle of a salve for their homesickness after their relocation. During their time in New York, Max worked tirelessly, tending to details for their pending cross-Atlantic move, so they both appreciated having a knowledgeable friend to call on for help.
With his gregarious yet gracious manner, Jon had helped them find a good neighborhood for their family, introduced them to his banker, and even explained some of the odd American colloquialisms they couldn’t understand, as they all laughed together over well-aged bottles of his favorite Bordeaux. They had all climbed the Empire State Building together, and one night they saw a play on Broadway, and even danced to Benny Goodman’s big band into the late evening hours. Jon also went to the World’s Fair with them, where their crystal perfume bottles were featured in a potential business partner’s display. Danielle and Max were both glad they’d met Jon, a man who embraced life with spirit and joie de vivre, and they looked forward to their new life in America far from the threat of Hitler’s forces.
But now, with news of the invasion, Max and Danielle’s guarded optimism for their future had turned to distress over their family’s safety.
“Bonjour,” she said, glad to see Jon. “Any news yet?”
“None.” He pushed a hand through his unruly chestnut hair, droplets of water spray glistening on his tanned face. “The captain has called a meeting at fifteen hundred hours for all passengers traveling on Polish and German passports.”
“But I still hold a French passport.”
“You’ll need to attend, Danielle.” His hoarse voice held the wind of the sea.
“Of course, but—” As another sharp pitch jerked through the ship, Jon caught her by the shoulders and kept her from falling. He moved intuitively with the ship’s motion, a testament to his years at sea.
“Steady now, lass,” Jon said, a small smile playing on his lips. He stared past her out the porthole, his dark eyes riveted on the ocean’s whitecapped expanse. Blackened, heavily laden clouds crossed the sun, casting angled shadows across his face.
Embarrassed, Danielle touched the wall for support. She recalled the strange sense of foreboding she’d had upon waking. She was blessed—or cursed—with an unusually keen prescience. Frowning, she asked, “Can the ship withstand this storm?”
“Sure, she’s a fine, seaworthy vessel, one of the finest in the world. This weather’s no match for her.” He turned back to her, his jaw set. His usual jovial nature had turned solemn. “Might even be rougher seas ahead, but we’ll make England by morning.”
Danielle nodded, but still, she knew. Anxiety coursed through her; something seemed terribly wrong. Her intuition came in quiet flashes of pure knowledge. She couldn’t force it, couldn’t direct it, and knew better than to discuss it with anyone, especially her husband. She was only twenty-six; Max was older, wiser, and told her that her insights were rubbish. Max wasn’t really insulting her; he had studied science at the university in Germany, and he simply didn’t believe anything that couldn’t be scientifically proven.
Jon touched her arm in a small, sympathetic movement. “Anything I can do to help?”
“Not unless you perform miracles.” Jon’s rough fingers were warm against her skin, and an ill-timed memory from a few days ago shot through her mind. Danielle loved to dance, and with Max’s encouragement, she and Jon had shared a dance while Max spoke to the captain at length after dinner. Danielle remembered Jon’s soft breath, his musky skin, his hair curling just above his collar. He’d been interested in all she had to say, from her little boy to her work at Parfums Bretancourt, her family’s perfumery in the south of France. But when she’d rested her head against his chest, it was his skin, his natural scent, which was utterly unique and intriguingly virile, that mesmerized her.
A third-generation perfumer, Danielle had an acute sense of smell. Her olfactory skills were paramount in the laboratory, but at times this acuity proved socially awkward. Jon’s scent still tingled in her nose, taunting her dreams, its musky animal appeal relentless in the recesses of her mind. His memory crept into her mind more than she knew it should. After all, she told herself firmly, I am a happily married woman.
Danielle forced the scene from her mind, took a step back out of modesty. She caught sight of herself in the mirror, her thick auburn hair in disarray, her lip rouge smeared. She smoothed her celadon green silk day dress—one of her own designs her dressmaker had made—and drew her fingers across her pale skin. “I’ve been apprehensive about this trip from the beginning.”
“Have you heard anything else from your mother-in-law?”
“Not since we spoke in New York. And my mother’s last cable said they haven’t arrived.” When she and Max had heard the news, they called Max’s mother, Sofia, and told her to leave immediately with Nicky for Paris, where Danielle’s parents had a spacious apartment in the sixteenth arrondissement, a fine neighborhood in the heart of Paris. Sofia’s voice had sounded dreadful; they hadn’t realized she was so sick. What if she isn’t well enough to travel? Wincing with remorse, Danielle fought the panic that rose in her throat, fearful for her mother-in-law.
 “They have to get out of Poland.” Jon touched her cheek.
Reflexively, she turned into the comfort of his hand, inhaling, her heart aching, his scent—at once both calming and unsettling—edged with the smell of the sea and a spiced wood blend she normally could have recognized in an instant. But now, Nicky was ever present in her mind. Danielle pressed her eyes closed and stifled a sob.
“Max is resourceful,” Jon said, trailing his hand along her face. “He’ll manage.”
But can he? she wondered. Max had planned everything, from organizing their move to New York, to returning to Poland to close their home. He’d arranged their immigration to the United States, and he was also trying to bring their most valued employees with them for the business. He’d made everything sound so sensible.
Max was German, born in Berlin to an aristocratic family. When Max was young, his mother had inherited her family’s estate and crystal and glass factory in Poland. Sofia and her husband, Karl, along with Karl’s orphaned nephew, Heinrich, moved into the castle, which had originally been built as a wedding gift in 1820 for Sofia’s ancestors. While the men set about rebuilding the factory and the business, Sofia tended to the home, a masterpiece of romantic English neo-Gothic style. After Max and Danielle married, Danielle had thrown her considerable energy into helping Sofia restore the grand salons and chambers, the arboretum, the gardens and ponds. And yet, Danielle missed her craft, retreating whenever she could to the perfumery organ—a curved workbench with rows that held essential oils and other perfumery materials—she had installed in their quarters, to conjure her aromatic artistry in solitude. Perfumery fed her soul; her urge to create could not be repressed.
The ship pitched again, sending the porthole door banging against the paneled wall. Shifting easily with the vessel’s sharp motions, Jon caught it, secured the latch.
He moved toward her, and she could almost sense the adrenaline surging through his muscular frame. Leaning closer, he lifted a strand of hair limp with sea mist from her forehead. “If I don’t see Max, you’ll tell him about the captain’s meeting?”
“We’ll be there.” She caught another whiff of his sea air–tinged skin, and this time a vivid sensory image flashed across her mind. A leather accord, patchouli, a heart of rose melding with the natural scent of his skin, warm, intriguing . . . then she recognized it—Spanish Leather. An English composition. Trumper. But the way he wore it was incredible; the parfum blended with his own natural aroma in such a fascinating manner. She was drawn in, aching to be swept farther into his scent, but she quickly retreated half a step. This is not the time.
His expression softened and he let her hair fall from his fingers as he studied her, his dark-browed, hazel-flecked eyes taking in every feature of her face.
Danielle stepped back, and Jon’s gaze trailed back to the sea, his eyes narrowed against the sun’s thinning rays, scanning the surface.
She matched his dark gaze. “Something unusual out there?”
“Might be German U-boats. Unterseeboots. The most treacherous of submarines. Bloody hell, they are. But don’t worry, Danielle, the Newell-Greys always look after their passengers.” He left, closing the door behind him.
U-boats? So it was possible. She touched a trembling finger to her lips. But that wasn’t the only thought that made her uncomfortable. Jon’s friendly, casual way with her increasingly struck a chord within her. Fortunately, Max was too much the aristocrat to make a fuss over nothing. And it is nothing, she thought. She loved her husband. But that scent . . . her mind whirred. Fresh, spicy, woodsy . . . I can recreate sea freshness, blend it with patchouli . . . .
Abruptly, the ship lurched. Cutlery clattered across a rimmed burl wood table, her books tumbled against a wall. She braced herself through the crashing swell, one hand on the doorjamb, another shielding her womb. There were so many urgent matters at hand. Our son, our family, our home. She pulled her mind back to the present.
When the ship leveled, she spied on the floor a navy blue cap she’d knitted for Nicky. He’d dropped it at the train station, and she’d forgotten to give it to Sofia. She cradled it in her hand and stroked it, missing him and the sound of his voice, then pressed the cap to her nose, drinking in his little boy smell that still clung to the woolen fibers. Redolent of milk and grass and straw and chocolates, it also called to mind sweet perspiration droplets glistening on his flushed cheeks. They often played tag in the estate’s lush, sprawling gardens, laughing and frolicking, feeding the migratory ducks that visited their ponds, or strolling beneath the protective leafy boughs of ancient, towering trees. She brushed away tears that spilled onto her cheeks.
She picked up her purse to put his cap inside, and then paused to look at the photograph of Nicky she carried. His eyes crinkled with laughter, he’d posed with his favorite stuffed toy, a red-striped monkey with black button eyes she’d sewn for him. Nicky was an adorable bundle of blond-headed energy. A streak of fear sliced through her. She stuffed the cap into her purse and snapped it shut.
The door opened and Max strode into the stateroom, his proud face ashen, his lean, angular body rigid with what Danielle knew was stress.
“Jon just left,” she said. “There’s a meeting—”
“I know, he is behind me,” Max said, clipping the words in his formal, German-accented English. He smacked his onyx pipe against his hand, releasing the sweet smoky scent of his favorite vanilla tobacco.
Jon appeared at the door. “Shall we go?”
The muscles in Max’s jaw tightened. He slipped his pipe into the pocket of his tailored wool jacket. “I need a drink first. You, Jon?”
“Not now, mate.”
Max moved past Danielle to the liquor cabinet, staggering slightly as the ship pitched. He brushed against her vanity and sent her red leather traveling case crashing to the floor.
Danielle gasped. Bottles smashed against one another inside as the case tumbled. The lid burst open, and scents of jasmine, rose, orange blossom, bergamot, berries, vanilla, cedar, and sandalwood exploded like brilliant fireworks.
“Oh, Max, my perfumes.” She gathered the hem of her silk dress and sank to her knees, heartsick. These were all the perfumes she had with her; she could hardly remember a day when she hadn’t worn one of her parfum creations. She knew Max hadn’t meant to destroy her precious potions, but now there was nothing she could do but gather the pieces. With two fingers, she fished a crystal shard and a carnelian cap from the jagged mess. “Max, would you hand me the wastebasket?”
“I, I didn’t mean to . . .” Looking worried, Max turned away and reached for the vodka, sighing in resignation. “Just leave it, Danielle. The cabin boy will see to it.”
Jon knelt beside her. “Did you make all these?”
“Yes, I did. And the case was Max’s wedding gift to me.”
“These are beautiful works of art, Danielle. Max told me you were once regarded as the child prodigy of perfumery.” He took a sharp piece from her. “Don’t hurt yourself, I’ll send someone to clean this up while you’re gone.”
She caught his eye and mouthed a silent thank-you, then rose and opened the porthole. A gust caught her long hair and slapped it across her face, stinging her flushed cheeks. Staring at the ocean, a quiet intuitive knowledge crept into her consciousness. It’s true, she thought, and spun around. “Jon said there might be U-boats out there.”
She watched Max pour a shot, then pause with his glass in midair, his intellectual mind whirring, weighing the probabilities. She knew her husband well; she saw his eyes flash with a moment of intensity, then clear into twin pools of lucid blue as he decided the odds were against it. “Impossible,” he said.
“Anything is possible.” Jon brushed broken crystal into the wastebasket and straightened.
Danielle’s thoughts reeled back over the morning. “Is that why we’ve been zigzagging?”
Jon shot a look at Max. “Smart one, your wife. Not just an artist, I see.” One side of his mouth tugged to a reassuring grin, shifting the deep cleft in his chin. “I’ll grant you that, Danielle, but it’s just a safety measure. U-boats aren’t a threat to passenger liners.”
Pressure built in her head. “Like the Lusitania?”
“A disaster like that couldn’t happen today,” Jon said, rubbing the indentation in his chin. “Every captain checks Lloyd’s Register. It’s clear that we’re a passenger ship. Even so, there are rules of war; an initial shot across the bow must be fired in warning. And England is not at war.”
“Not yet.” Max tossed the vodka down his throat and gave a wry, thin-lipped grin. “So is that why you have been holding court in the stern, Jon?”
“I confess, you’re on to me, old boy. But seriously, we’d have time to signal to a vessel that we’re not armed. Even a submarine must abide by these rules of war. Even the Nazis.”
Nazis. The word filled Danielle with dread. What the Nazis were doing to Jews in Germany was unconscionable. New laws required that yellow stars for identification be sewn onto clothing. Imagine. Jewish businesses were being destroyed, entire families beaten or killed. These were German citizens, many of whom had lived in Germany for generations. It didn’t matter how educated they were, whether they were young or old, wealthy or poor. A chill crept along her spine. “We’ve taken too long, Max. We have to get Nicky and your mother out now.”
“The Polish army is not yet defeated, my dear,” Max said quietly, pouring another shot. “Try to have patience.”
“How can you be so calm?” Her voice hitched in despair. Her father was from an old French family, long recognized in French society. Danielle’s mother was Jewish, so by German law Nicky was one- quarter Jewish. “You know what could happen to Nicky.”
“We’ve been over this. Nicky is just a child.” Max looked weary, the prominent veins in his high forehead throbbing as he spoke. “You were raised in your father’s faith, you are Catholic. Nicky was also baptized. How would the Nazis find out anything different?”
But she knew they had ways. She pressed her hand to her mouth, consumed with worry and guilt. Why did I agree to leave Nicky?
Max gulped his drink, and then glanced at Jon. “We should go now.” Max walked to the door. Without turning he paused, his voice thick. “I am sorry for your perfumes, Danielle. I am sorry for everything.”
Danielle sucked in her breath. Max only drank when he was frustrated. when he had no clear answers. And he seldom offers an apology. To him, it was a sign of defeat, a sign that his scientific mind, or measured actions, had betrayed him. Max took pride in providing financially for his family, their well-being was his constant concern, especially that of Nicky, his beloved son. Danielle was the heart of their marriage, and she always felt safe with him. Except today, she thought, fear gripping her body like a vine. Today is different.
Jon opened the door, held it for them. She snatched her purse and followed Max.
Passengers jostled past in the crowded corridor and Danielle could feel anxiety rising in the air like a heat wave, smell the sour perspiration— like coddled milk left in the sun— emanating from panicked, angry passengers. Ordinary perspiration smelled different when tainted with fear. “Rotten Krauts,” they heard people say. She saw Max stiffen against the verbal assaults.
When they came to the open-air promenade deck, Danielle glanced out over the sea, but she could see little in the gathering mist.
Jon followed her gaze. “We’ve got a heavy fog rolling in.”
The air held the ozone-scented promise of rain. “It’s so dim,” she said. “Jon, why aren’t the running lights on?”
“We’re blacked out for security.”
There’s more to it, she thought, her neck tightening with trepidation.
They arrived at the first-class lounge, where tense passengers crowded shoulder to
shoulder. Jon excused himself to take his place near the front as the owner representative. A hush spread when the grim-faced captain approached the podium.
“Thank you for your attention,” the captain began. “Two days ago, Hitler’s Nazi Germany violated a European peace agreement. Now, on the wireless we have a reply from the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.”
He nodded to a crew member. The loudspeakers crackled to life and a nervous murmur rippled across the room.
England was on the airwaves.
The radio announcer was speaking about Poland. “Blitzkrieg,” he called the German attack on the country.
“Lightning war,” Max translated, shaking his head. He flexed his jaw, and Danielle could see veins bulging from his temples as he sought to control unfamiliar emotions.
“Oh, no.” Danielle turned her face against Max’s chest, the tentacles of terror slithering into her brain. It has begun, she thought, and so horribly. She trembled. My poor Nicky, dear Sofia. Mon Dieu, what’s happening to them? How frightened they must be.
Max slid a finger under her chin and lifted her face to his, wiping tears from her eyes with an awkward gesture. “It’s my fault, I should have already relocated our family. I didn’t realize this would happen so quickly.”
The tortured guilt in his expression tore at her soul. He has failed. All his plans, all his actions, were to protect our family. She averted her eyes from his pain, trying to calm her breathing as people wailed around her.
The radio crackled again. “And now, Prime Minister Chamberlain.”
“This morning the British ambassador in Berlin handed the German government a final note stating that, unless we heard from them by eleven o’clock that they were prepared at once to withdraw their troops from Poland, a state of war would exist between us.”
Chamberlain’s voice sounded burdened, yet resolute. “I have to tell you now that no such undertaking has been received, and that consequently, this country is at war with Germany.”
A collective gasp filled the room, and Danielle sank against Max for support. He wrapped his arms around her, murmuring in her ear. “We’ll find them, they’ll soon be safe.” But is he reassuring me or himself?
At the end of the broadcast, the captain stepped aside and Jon strode to the podium. Jon’s baritone voice boomed over the murmuring tide. “Tomorrow, when we arrive, Newell-Grey agents will be available to assist and accommodate you. We shall keep you informed as we receive additional information.”
Danielle pressed a hand to her mouth. Who knew it would come to this? A sudden clamminess overtook her, and her nausea returned with unbridled force. Tearing herself from Max, she bolted through the crowd, bumping against other passengers as she raced to the outer deck. She reached the railing, leaned over, gulped for air. Her stomach convulsed in a dry heave as the wind whipped the celadon scarf from her neck.
“Danielle,” Max called, following her. Jon rushed after them.
I can’t stand this, she thought, anguish ripping through her as images of Nicky and Sofia filled her mind. Max and Jon reached her side, and the three of them stood gazing through the shifting fog into the bleak waters below as Danielle clung to the railing, one arm clutching her abdomen, pressing her fevered cheek against the cold metal railing for relief.
Max draped an arm across her shoulders, rubbing her back, and looked across at Jon. “Her morning sickness is much worse with this pregnancy.”
But Jon’s eyes were fixed on the ocean. His face froze.
A sleek, narrow wake rippled the broken surface.
“What the—” began Max.
 “Good God, get down,” Jon bellowed. He leapt across Max and Danielle, his powerful body crashing them to the deck.
Danielle hit the wooden boards with such force that her shoulder cracked and her eyes blurred. My baby, she thought frantically, curling instinctively around her midsection, wrapping her arms around her torso and drawing up her knees to shield her unborn child.
In the next instant, a violent impact shot them across the deck. An explosion ripped into the bowels of the great ship. Screams pierced the haze, and the ship’s massive framework buckled with a roar.
“Torpedoes,” Jon shouted. He crushed his hand over Danielle’s head and cursed under his breath. “Stay down.”
An icy burst enveloped them like a sheet and soaked them to the flesh. Danielle gasped in terror. Mon Dieu! She could hear Max scrambling behind her, sliding on the slippery deck. Protect us, she prayed, keeping her head down and pressing her chin against her chest.
Another explosion rocked the ship. Wood and metal twisted with a grating screech as the ship listed to the starboard side, rolling like a wounded whale. The ship groaned and folded under her own weight, frigid salt water pouring into her open wounds.
Jon struggled to his feet. “Take my hand, Danielle, we must reach the lifeboats. This way, Max.” Jon dragged Danielle behind him. “Nazi bastards.” He stopped, and pulled his shoulders back. He turned to face the dazed crowd behind him.
“Attention.” Jon’s voice rang with urgent authority. “We must proceed quickly and calmly to the lifeboats.”
Amid the chaos, people turned to follow.
Danielle reached for Jon’s hand again, stumbling on something in her haste. She wiped stinging water from her eyes and blinked. A woman she’d met yesterday lay bloodied at her feet. She smothered a scream, and then reached down to help the woman.
Jon caught her arm. “Don’t, it’s no use. She’s gone.”
“No, she can’t be,” Danielle cried. She’d never seen a dead person before. Except for the blood soaking the deck beneath her, the woman appeared merely unconscious. This can’t be happening. Then she saw that the back of the woman’s skull was gone and she started to retch.
Jon shoved his handkerchief into her hand to wipe her mouth. “Keep going,” he yelled.
Soon they came upon a lifeboat that dangled above them like a toy.
“Max, give us a hand, we haven’t much time. Danielle, wrap your arms around the rail.” Jon slicked his wet hair back from his eyes and grabbed a line. Max fought for balance, staggering to the lifeboat.
Water poured over the rail and mixed with the dead woman’s blood, sloshing across the deck and staining it a deep crimson. All around them people slid across the tilting deck, screaming in hysteria. Danielle lost her balance, along with one leather pump that tumbled into the pandemonium. She kicked off her other shoe and clung to the railing.
Jon and Max began to toss life vests from the boat into the crowd.
Danielle’s heart raced at the sight of the life vests. “Are we . . . are we going to sink?”
Jon’s jaw twitched. “Just put on one of these.”
“But I can’t swim,” she cried, her voice rising with fright.
“You won’t have to if you’re wearing this.”
Despite her panic, Danielle fumbled with the strings on the vest. Jon and Max worked feverishly to free the lifeboats. Within moments, several crew members arrived and began to herd women and children into the boats.
Max checked her vest, tugged her knots to strengthen them, and kissed Danielle while the first boat was lowered. “Go now, I’ll see you soon.”
She peered at the lifeboat and terror gripped her chest. No, not this. She’d never liked small crafts, had nearly drowned off one when she was a child. Danielle stood rooted in horror at the thought of climbing into a boat.
 Jon waved his arm at her. “Get in,” he roared, his voice gravelly.
She turned to Max, her eyes pleading with him. “Max, I can’t.”
“Yes, you can. I’ll be right behind you, my love.” Despite the bulky life vest, Max pressed her to him and kissed her again, reassuring her.
Jon grabbed her arm with such force that Danielle yelped with pain. “Danielle, people are waiting.”
“No, Jon, I– I can’t get into that boat. I’ll stay with Max.”
“Bloody hell, you will.” Jon’s eyes flamed with urgency, startling her. “For God’s sake, woman, get your wits about you. What happened to your famous French courage?”
Max threw Jon a wary glance, and then nodded to her. “He’s right, you must go now.”
Indignant, Danielle jerked her arm from Jon. “I’ll show you courage.” She stepped into the boat, barefoot, still clutching her purse.
As she settled unsteadily into the boat, a man with a sobbing young child rushed toward them. “Please, will someone take my boy?”
 Danielle thought of her own little boy, shot a glare at Jon. “I will.” She reached for the frightened child.
“His name is Joshua. You will take care of my boy?”
“I give you my word.” She prayed someone would do the same for her Nicky, if need be. She hugged the tearful child, sweet with a milky smell, to her breast. Joshua was the same size as Nicky and it was all she could do to keep from calling his name.
Jon gave the signal and the lifeboat plunged into the choppy ocean. Danielle squeezed her eyes shut and bent over the boy to protect him as a wave hurtled toward the boat and broke against the wooden bow, blasting them with an icy shock and plastering their hair and clothes to their skin.
Her teeth chattering, Danielle looked back at the great ship. She was taking on water fast. All around them lifeboats crashed into the sea amid the most heart-wrenching cries she’d ever heard.
She strained to see through the fog and the frantic crowd, but couldn’t spot Max or Jon. The Newell- Grey Explorer, the fine ship that bore Jon’s family name, was giving way, slipping to her death. For a moment, the ship heaved against the crushing weight of her watery grave.
Danielle’s eyes were glued to the horrific scene. Then, she remembered something she’d once heard. We’ve got to act. Alarmed, she turned to the young crew member with them. “When a ship goes down, the force can suck others down with it. We’ve got to get out of here.”
Dazed with shock, he made no reply.
Frustrated, she turned to the elderly woman next to her. “Here, take little Joshua, hold him tightly.” She gave the woman her purse, too.
Another woman let out a cry. “But what will we do?”
“We’ve got to row,” Danielle shouted. “Who’ll help me?” She had watched her brother Jean-Claude row often enough. Surely I can manage this, she thought desperately.
A stout Irishwoman with coppery red hair spoke up. “I might be third class, but I’m a first-class rower.”
“Good.” Danielle’s resolve hardened and she moved into position. She tucked her soggy silk dress between her legs, its dye trailing green across the white deck, and grabbed an oar.
“Together, now stroke, and— no, wait.” When she lifted her arms to row, the life vest bunched up around her neck, inhibiting her movement. She glanced at little Joshua and realized he had no life vest. She tore the vest strings open, shrugged out of it, and gave it to the elderly woman. “Put it on him.”
“All right, now stroke,” the Irishwoman called. “Steady, and stroke, and stroke.”
Danielle pulled hard against the oars, struggling for rhythm, though splinters dug into her hands and her thin sleeves ripped from the strain.
They were some distance out when she looked up. The immense ship, the jewel of the fleet, gave one last, mournful wail as she conceded defeat. The ship disappeared into the Atlantic blackness, leaving only a burgeoning swell of water and a spiral of smoke in her wake.
Where’s Max? And Jon? Did they make it off the ship? She couldn’t watch anymore; she turned her back to the ship, numb to the cold.
And there, in the distance, she saw it. A strange vessel was breaking the surface. As it crested, she saw on its side in block print the letter U and a series of numbers. A U-boat. Treacherous, Jon had said. And deadly.
Danielle narrowed her eyes. So, this is the enemy, this is who holds Poland—and my family—captive.
A scorching rage exploded within her and sent her to the boat’s edge, her hands fisted white, shaking with fury. Look at them, surveying their handiwork, the bastards. Steadying herself on the bow, she cried in a hoarse voice into the gathering nightfall, “Someday, there will be a day of reckoning for this. C’est la guerre. And I’ll never, never surrender.”
“You tell ’em, dearie,” yelled the Irishwoman. As Danielle and the other lifeboat occupants stared at the U-boat, a mighty force began to gather below them. Silent as a thief, a swift undersea current drew water from beneath the bobbing craft.
Danielle sensed an eerie calm.
She turned and gasped.
A wall of water, born of the wake of the Newell-Grey Explorer, rose high behind them.
The wave crashed down, flipping the lifeboat like a leaf. Grappling for a handhold, Danielle screamed, and then plunged into the swirling current. The lifeboat completed its airborne arch, and an oar hurtled toward her. She tried to twist away, but it cracked her on her head, stunning her to the core.
Her moans for help were muffled as she sank into the frigid depths. She flailed about, desperate to swim the short distance to the surface, but her efforts only sucked her farther into the unrelenting sea. At last, she felt nothing but the icy claws of the Atlantic. Her breath gave way and she slipped into darkness.

Meet the Author

JAN MORAN is the author of the books including Fabulous Fragrances I and II, which earned spots on the Rizzoli Bookstore bestseller list. As a fragrance and beauty expert, she has been featured in numerous publications and on television and radio, including CNN, Instyle, and O Magazine, and has spoken before prestigious organizations, including The American Society of Perfumers. She earned her MBA from Harvard Business school and attended the University of California at Los Angeles Extension Writers' Program, studying fiction, nonfiction, and screenwriting.

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Scent of Triumph 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
DiiMI More than 1 year ago
Talk about falling completely into a book! Scent of Triumph by Jan Moran will take you back in time, to another world full of sights, sounds, and yes, scents. You’ll feel the ocean spray, smell the scents in the air, feel the breezes carrying those scents. Danielle Bretancourt Von Hoffman, as the heroine, was the perfect window into the devastation and pain of World War II, as she lived through each dark moment of the Nazi’s invasion and the lengths people will go to in order to fight back and live. Faced with the horrors of the war and the feelings of the era regarding women as entrepreneurs, Danielle travels to America to start a new life, struggling to care for her family and start a business of her own, while maintaining her own identity and traditions. Jan Moran has done a marvelous job of re-creating the horrors of World War II, the social and economic realities of the era. An emotionally beautiful work with vividly detailed backgrounds and characters with depth and strength. A copy of this book was provided by NetGalley and Briarcliffe Press in exchange for my honest review.
ReadersFavorite4 More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Maria Beltran for Readers' Favorite "Scent of Triumph" is a historical novel built on incidents taking place during the Second World War. After the conclusion of business meetings in the United States, Danielle and Max von Hoffman returned to Europe by ship. It was just a couple of days after the invasion of Poland and the boat they were in was sunk by a German U-boat. This heralded the major changes in the life of perfumer Danielle Bretancourt. In swift succession, she lost the people closest to her. Being of Jewish origin, her family suffered and in an effort to find her little son Nicky, who was left behind in Poland, she joined the Resistance in France. Unable to find her son and devastated by the loss of her husband, father, brother and sister in law, Danielle went to the US with her mother, daughter and niece, where another struggle awaits her. Belonging to a family of perfumers, she certainly has the “nose” for scents and this was her ticket back to wealth and influence. Jan Moran writes about heart-wrenching despair and devastation in such a way that everyone can get easily carried away. Her debut novel is about families torn apart during the Second World War. It is a story of courage and determination in the face of overwhelming despair. It is about wealth lost and regained and love that is lost. The events in Danielle Bretancourt's interesting life unfold in a swift pace that seem to match the urgency of life during war time Europe. The author weaves her story in such a way that it is difficult to put the book down. Every chapter presents a tapestry of overwhelming emotion that, as a reader, I find very exciting. This novel brings me back to the 1940's when the world suffered the indignities of war. It seemed unbelievable that anyone can rise above this kind of devastation and this is perhaps the most important lesson we get from Danielle's story. "Scent of Triumph" is also a story of love between two people whose personal circumstances prevent them from being together. For love to flourish, they have to fight against all odds.     
ReadersFavorite3 More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Patricia Day for Readers' Favorite Danielle Bretancourt von Hoffman is on board the Newell-Grey Explorer, on her way to Paris. The ship is in the middle of the Atlantic and war has just been declared. The Germans have invaded Poland. Danielle’s family is back in Poland. Business matters demanded her presence in New York and that is the reason why she is on board the Newell-Grey. Her mother Sofia is battling cancer and is too weak to take the journey. Choosing to remain behind, she promises to care for Danielle’s young son Nicky until Danielle returns home. It was a decision that would prove to be a huge mistake on her part. Now, as the ship on which Danielle travels is torpedoed, she is not at all certain she will ever see them again. This very engrossing story takes you on a journey of romance, loss, horror, war and peace. Danielle overcomes many of the challenges thrust into her young life, while others leave her stranded and in despair. Her sheer determination helps her take each new step even though at times she lacks the strength to even think.  I found this book to be a very easy read. There are great characters and it is a captivating story. I knew when the first page grabbed my attention that the book was going to be a good one. The deeper I got into the story, the more engrossing I found it. There is no doubt that "Scent of Triumph" is a thoroughly enjoyable story and a triumph in its own right. I loved it!
ReadersFavorite2 More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Gayani Hathurusingha for Readers' Favorite In her novel "The Scent of Triumph" Jan Moran takes her readers to a hectic world. The start of the Second World War paves the way to the crisis in her novel, separating her characters from each other in a heartbreaking manner. Jan Moran functions as a chronicler of actual history in her presentation of the chaotic realities of war. Danielle, the protagonist of the novel, is engaged in a sea voyage, wishing to expand her career as a skilled perfume blender. The outbreak of war interferes with the journey and her life. Forced to stay away from her family because of the intensity of war, how would she win back her life which starts slipping away through her fingers? Will she be able to find her son who was lost in the confusion of the war? The novel "The Scent of Triumph" is proof of the writer's ability to depict the diverse impacts of war on each and every individual. When the peacefulness of the protagonist's life is challenged by war the reader tends to question the sanity of those who cause war. Even though war provides the novel with its background, it is not the main concern of the novelist; her focus is on the inner strength of humanity which makes people tougher when they emerge from the hardships of life. The plot is highly emotional, dramatic and even inspiring. It is not another war tragedy. It follows that special quality humans have which cannot be destroyed by tragedy.
ReadersFavorite1 More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Kathryn Bennett for Readers' Favorite "Scent of Triumph" by Jan Moran introduces us to a gifted young woman born in Paris, named Danielle Bretancourt von Hoffman. You may ask what her gift is. Danielle has such a sensitive nose that she can not only smell the faint scents of a perfume but recall thousands of essences by memory alone. World War II broke out in 1939 and raged its way across Europe leaving no country unaffected by what was happening. Danielle and her family find themselves swept up into wartime. When her husband and son are trapped behind enemy lines, Danielle takes it upon herself to spy for France. Soon she must flee from Europe and begin again plying her gifted nose to make a living. Jan Moran spins a story that follows Danielle through ups and downs, losses and gains, and even gives a glimpse of old Hollywood, while still in the middle of a war. Any Historical Fiction fan is going to love this book that Jan Moran has written. For me the book started a little bit slowly but it only took about three chapters for me to really get hooked onto the story. In Danielle, Jan Moran has created a heroic 'stop at nothing' type of heroine, a woman who, despite the circumstances a war throws at her, refuses to give up fighting. I love a character with fighting spirit especially when it is something we can relate to. You can tell that Jan Moran did a lot of research on the time period, and that makes the book more of an enjoyable read. While the characters may be imaginary, the time period is not. Seeing justice done to such a well-documented time in the world's history is gratifying. The prose is stunningly spun and describes scenes so beautifully that you almost feel as if you are watching a movie in your head, instead of reading a book. 
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Alice DiNizo for Readers' Favorite "Scent of Triumph" is a well-written novel that captures the drama of World War II and the people who lived and loved back in those threatening years. The main character Danielle Bretancourt has been raised in Paris as the daughter of a Jewish mother and Catholic father. Her marriage to a much older German aristocrat, Max, has produced a son, Nicky, and, shortly into the story, a daughter named Jasmin after one of the floral scents that the Bretancourt family uses to make perfumes in their home in the south of France. Max fights against the Nazis who are ruining his beloved homeland and Nicky is stranded in Poland with his grandmother Sofia. Surrounded by death and horror, Danielle takes Jasmin, her niece Liliana and her shell-shocked mother, Marie, who has also witnessed death, and flees to America and to Los Angeles where they are impoverished but free from war's harm. Can Danielle survive the horrors she has witnessed? And where does Jon Newell-Gray fit into her complicated life? Jan Moran has created a novel of a young woman's triumphs after numerous setbacks and missteps that will recall the writings of Danielle Steele and Barbara Taylor Bradford. Danielle, her husband Max von Hoffman and addicted but charming Cameron Murphy, her true love Jon Newell-Gray, her family and friends like Abigail Newell-Gray and Lou Silverman are believable and seem real products of those wartime years. The plot line moves with resolvable twists and turns to the story's happy ending. I am sure "Scent of Triumph" will be a popular book for readers everywhere to place on their "must-read" lists.
b00kr3vi3ws More than 1 year ago
Set during the World War II era, the story follows the life of Danielle Bretancourt. As pregnant Danielle and her husband travels from New York to England after business trip, the Nazis threaten to sink their ship as England declares war on the Germans. That’s just the beginning. Finding herself alone and helpless during the war, Danielle taps into her inherent talent of perfumery. She creates her own perfume that leaves Hollywood in a wowed daze. All the while she also tries her best to do anything and everything in her power to reunite with her husband and son.  The character of Danielle is all about strength, perseverance and resilience. I really liked her because being pregnant and away from family without any news during the war times cannot be easy on a person. Yet she simply rolls up her sleeves and gets to work in order to survive and to reunite her family.  She is like phoenix, toiling against most difficult situations and rising from it victorious. While there are various other characters in this novel, playing different parts to give a formation to the storyline and taking it forward - to me, they all seemed a bit pale in comparison to Danielle. Jonathan, a rich businessman from the shipping industry, plays an important role in the story as he is attracted to Danielle. He is a good man. The plot is pretty much straightforward and predictable. But that didn’t stop me from reading the book as Jan Moran already had me through Danielle and her style of writing. While I cannot label the author’s style and language as exotic, there is something very charming about it - especially at the times when she is narrates about different scents. Overall, it’s a great historical fiction with romance, drama and adventure in it. Whats not to like?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Scent of Triumph took me into an amazing journey from France to America. Through the first pages I thought that I was going to read a story similar to Titanic but oh!! Was I ever wrong? Jan Moran did an excellent job in keeping the reader eager trying to keep up with the next scene. Danielle is a strong courageous woman that spied for the French resistance, and I fell in love with her character. My mother was one of those amazing spies so I felt a clear connection to the heroine of this story. Danielle lived through some nail biting situations during the tremulous times of II world war. The war destroyed the days of tranquility and beauty in her life and threw her world into a whirling tornado. She endured the horror that enveloped her life when her husband and son were lost behind enemy lines. She was forced to flee France and come to America, where she picked up her broken heart and the fragments of her life and started over again with more gusto and more determination. She developed her signature perfume that mesmerized Hollywood. Jan Moran blends smoothly into those pages a mixture of so many tangible feeling such as loss, fear, love, hope, and self-identity. The book is enticing and I know you would love it! When I finally finished the book I found myself wanting more but there was no more ¿. I do want to see the book as a movie, however I don’t think anyone can portrait on the screen what Jan has put so superbly on paper. I am a fan!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Scent of Triumph is a historical masterpiece. Nazis, spies, WWII, nations in mourning, sinking ships, family secrets, heartbreak, new love, renewed hope... this book has everything. Throughout it all, the protagonist Danielle, soldiers on, creating something from nothing and everything from something. Scent of Triumph is a delicious treat for the senses. I enjoyed reading about Danielle's perfume creations and the amazing landscapes she travels through in Poland, France, England, and the United States. The characters are real and the story is scentational from beginning to end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a wonderful day I have had with Danielle and her family! This book is very sweeping in it's scope: from Poland and France, through WW2 and then to America and the new life she makes for herself and her family. In some ways, much like when she works on her perfumes, Danielle dreams of what she has had and what she has now as she blends the past and all it's pain and bittersweetness with hope for a better tomorrow. Reminscent of the Emma Harte saga of Barbara Taylor Bradford and multiple historical dramas of Danielle Steel, this book is historically present but not overly dramatic. I love perfume and learned a lot in this book about that too. It's truly a scent that will linger long past archiving this book.
gaele More than 1 year ago
Stars  3.5 As a fan of historic fiction, the era surrounding World War II has always fascinated: different but sill familiar, a clear villain to abhor, and people struggling to survive and thrive against desperate odds.  Jan Moran uses the backdrop of war and change to bring us the story  of Danielle Bretancourt and follows her journey.   Danielle is, at the outset, a Nose: one of those blessed with the ability to distinguish and remember distinct scents, highly prized by perfumers.  Married to a successful businessman, pregnant with her second child, and her eldest son in the care of his grandmother, the story opens at sea, heading for England from the US in September 1939.   Europeans, at that time, were familiar with the rise of Hitler, and whether it was a wait and see attitude, or a sort of blithe disregard to the  threat, the continent and the world are on the edge of massive change. With England’s declaration of War on Germany, the quiet passage across the Atlantic soon is disrupted by this war, and Danielle and her husband are sent to England.  The early chapters are portent of things to come: a story that is laced with dramatic events, some teetering on the edge of melodrama,  the multiple subplots are simple backdrop to Danielle and the strength of character and determination she shows.  Her character is, fortunately, believable and solidly drawn: she has a sense of who she is, where her strengths lie, and a wonderful ability to transform herself to fit the role most needed at the time Most emotionally present in her story is the frequent insets of Danielle’s devotion to her son, and the questions that surround his whereabouts, health and future (if any) as she had left him behind with his grandmother before  war was declared.  A story that spans multiple years, it was a read that was intriguing, even as parts were overburdened with melodramatic reactions not necessary to the plot. The war years were horrid, and Danielle’s ability to morph and change to fit situations was beautifully done:  intelligent and with an innate flair for fashion and her perfumer’s nose, she was able to redefine herself for the world’s eye repeatedly.   Several twists and turns lead the reader on an emotional journey that keeps Danielle at the forefront: not just a witness to the changes  in her life but an active participant and captain, steering her path in ways she feels will ensure her survival.   Danielle was a character that shone through the story, while some twists and moments were overworked to add dramatic effect, the  strength of her character as written by Moran allowed readers to keep her at the forefront of the story. Indomitable yet facile in her ability to react and grab for every opportunity presented, Danielle’s story does stick with readers long after the final page is turned.  I received an eBook copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.  
BirdhouseBooks More than 1 year ago
I love historical fiction and find the 1940's a fascinating era, so I knew I would enjoy this read. The period details were so interesting, and I enjoyed learning more about the perfume business through the details of this novel. Danielle is a strong woman who shows a lot of bravery. She works hard, achieves a lot, and longs to be with the man she loves. Their love story was the strongest part of the novel for me. The descriptions of life in Europe during World War II and later in Los Angeles were all very interesting. The depiction of glamorous 1940's Hollywood was my favorite setting of the book. This is an old fashioned book, in a good sense, and reminded me a bit of Barbara Taylor Bradford's novels. The book is a fast paced read, and would make a good movie. I think fans of sweeping books with a historical 1940's setting will enjoy Scent of Triumph.
KLS500 More than 1 year ago
Remarkable read.. all 800 some pages of it! It hooked me on the first page and didn't let go until the last. Someone else mentioned it was reminiscent of Danielle Steel's early works and I would fully agree with that compliment. This is the kind of book to curl up with and get lost in the past.
nhr3bookcrazyNR More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book.  While I found Danielle a wonderfully strong and brave figure I found it hard to believe she could accomplish all that she did in such a brief period of time.  I applaud her courage and her many talents and the ability to survive and overcome.  The story really was powerful.  For me, the story got a bit bogged down for a while and then, suddenly, it all seemed very rushed at the end.  OVerall, I enjoyed the book, the time period, and the settings, and the ideas of perfume and fashion that were threaded throughout the storyline.
ErinOhio More than 1 year ago
The Scent of Triumph, by Jan Moran, is a beautiful book on so many levels! For some reason, I become often really attached to books on perfume, or other such goods/products that are passed down as an art form from generation to generation. That the novel was set amid the turmoil of WWII, just made the book more exciting for me as it’s one of the historical periods that I most like to read about, especially in terms of what happened to families, occupations, and in turn, how their lives were most often changed. You can see quite easily upon reading that Moran did extensive research into the time and place for this book. Couple that with exquisite character development, with characters who are fully dimensional and connective, as well as lush descriptions and fluid sentences, and this novel came together as one that I had a hard time ever putting down. It’s a novel that absorbs and captivates you, compelling to read it in one sitting. Not only that, but I love reading about women who overcome adversity by showing great courage and strength. In her main female character of Danielle Bretancourt Von Hoffman, we have a woman of such caliber and yet who holds so much grace. She is a perfumer in an old family business and she’s talented, as she has the gift of scent, one in which allows her to pick up nuances of fragrances and how they react together, in order to create perfection. It’s her passion, as is keeping her family business and history alive for future generations. When WWII breaks out, she’s left to rebuild her life and her business, to use her art form and gifts to start anew again in a new place. From Paris to Hollywood, Danielle has to leave her life behind and fit into the glitz and glamour of America in the 1940s. I LOVED all the details of perfume and fashion of the time. Moran certainly also did her research in these areas. Chanel is one of my very favorites, as a strong business woman and innovator, and Danielle’s spirit mirrors a little of Coco. She’s very driven in a male-dominated world and it’s her passion for her work that drives her forward. Of course, as with the alluding tension in the opening scene, there is also romance. But it’s the type of romance I prefer, a little more subtle and not overpowering Danielle’s obvious independence. It’s enough to make you want to turn the pages, but not distracting to the overall story. It’s more a ships passing in the night-type of romance. The type that makes your own heart flutter for them. You’ll definitely feel for Danielle as she also struggles with family and life moments in regards to children and how families are torn apart during war time. I know I anguished a bit for her and yet cheered in her determination to keep herself, her family, and her art afloat amid very difficult times and circumstances. There’s a lot packed into this book, but you never feel burdened by any of it or not complete, and I felt that all parts are intertwined elegantly together into a story of devotion and zeal. This one woman will steal your heart with her unwavering spirit. An eloquent novel that will sweep you back in time to a place of struggle and fervor for living, Scent of Triumph will leave you breathless, yet overjoyed at the nature of women who struggle to define and keep hold of their families and their art. If you like any of M.J. Rose’s novels like I do, especially The Collector of Dying Breaths, you’ll love Moran’s Scent of Triumph. Moran’s ability to take you back in time and place, opening your mind and senses, is truly her gift as a storyteller and a writer. I hope to read more by Moran in the future! If you want to get lost in a book, I highly recommend this one!
TheAvidReader_KA More than 1 year ago
Scent of Triumph by Jan Moran is a historical romance set during World War II. It starts in September of 1939. Danielle Bretancourt von Hoffman (a perfumer with the “nose”) and her husband, Max (whose company makes crystal including perfume bottles) are heading back home to Poland on the Newell-Grey Explorer. During the voyage Germany invades Poland and England declares war on Germany. Danielle and Max are worried about his mother, Sofia and their son, Nicky who were in Poland. Sofia was supposed to take Nicky and head for Paris, but Danielle has no way of knowing if they escaped Poland. On their voyage to New York they had met Jonathan (Jon) Newell-Grey, heir to the Newell-Grey shipping fortune. Jon and Danielle were attracted to each other, but since Danielle is married (and pregnant) they become friends. Jon is also on the return voyage with them to England. Once England declares war on Germany, their ship is attacked by a German submarine. Scent of Triumph will take us from London to Paris to Los Angeles during World War II. Danielle will never stop looking for her son, Nicky while taking care of her family and struggling to survive. Scent of Triumph is the story of Danielle and what she will do to find her son and take care of her family. I give Scent of Triumph 4.25 out of 5 stars. Scent of Triumph contains beautiful descriptions of the perfumes that Danielle creates as well as the clothing. I loved the ending of this book. If you like historical books (especially the World War II era) and romance, you will enjoy Scent of Triumph. I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley (and the publisher) in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For those who love historical romantic espionage thrillers set during WWIi this book is for you. I also loved background material about perfune creation & fashion during this period. It reminded me a little bit of Winds of War & it could make a good made forTV miniseries!
janeML More than 1 year ago
Loved the book, kept my attention and wanted to finish it. A bit of romance, history of WII and great ending.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book had unexpected twists and turns that kept me engaged. Good book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
anita60 More than 1 year ago
This was an okay historical fiction page turner, but some of the scenarios were a little too implausible, such as the sinking of a ship where our pregnant heroine is almost killed to be followed by her attendance at a dinner party later that same evening. Despite multiple tragedies and losses, she overcomes it all to find love again and again and become very successful in her business. The horrors of WWII are a big part of the book as well. Overall, a good summer read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like the book. Interesting. If you are a fan of Danielle Steele's early stuff, this is right up your alley. This book is quite predictable though. I'm only about half way through the book. Its 835 pages give or take.