Passion, rivalry and family secrets in the South of France... Zoe inherits a perfume scent that could be the key to revealing her mother's long-lost family and hidden past. It also might give her the edge she needs to win a prestigious fragrance contract-and defeat her rival, a passionate Frenchman named Philippe, once and for all.
But when the formula is mysteriously stolen, Zoe embarks on a life-changing quest to reclaim her legacy.
Set in the fragrant flower fields of Provence, the "wonderfully drawn cast of characters" (Anne Girard, author of Madame Picasso) in this "beautifully written" (Readers' Favorite) saga will send you on a sweeping trek across the South of France.
"Journey into a perfumer's world where lush French scenery, long-held family secrets, irresistible romance, and magnificent scents are brought to life." - Juliette Sobanet, best-selling author
Book club discussion guide included.
This novel can be read as a standalone or as part of the From Paris to Provence series. Each book in the series brings to life its own unique characters yet all books share the vibrant and captivating setting of France.
Interview with the Author
What was your inspiration to write A Perfumer's Secret?
When I visited France after college, I "discovered" perfume. It seemed so glamorous and French, and the creation aspect fascinated me. To create perfume is to be an artist-and art has always inspired me.
The aspect of an inheritance and the fact that this story takes place in France make your novel sound similar to both A Paris Apartment and The Perfume Collector. What unique treasures will readers find in A Perfumer's Secret?
My novel is a trip to Provence, set to the rhythm of scent. Zoe, the main character, is so passionate about perfume that she sees everything through that lens, offering a fresh perspective of the world around her. In the novel, you'll also find plenty of flower fields, sidewalk cafés, romantic walks along the coast... And there is the excitement of competition, as Zoe tries to win a major fragrance contract.
Would you call this a French romance book?
Yes, it's a South of France romance! There are actually a few love stories in this novel: mother-daughter relationships, first love, friendship. But the most prominent is the romance between Zoe and Philippe, two perfumers whose passion for perfume turns into passion for each other.
What do you hope readers will take away from A Perfumer's Secret?
I hope readers will rediscover scent and how just a whiff can transport us to a feeling, a place, a discovery. And I hope they will enjoy this little trip to Provence and the world of perfume!
So this book is part of a series?
Yes and no. Each novel in the From Paris to Provence series brings to life its own unique characters and can be read as a standalone, but all books share the vibrant and captivating setting of France:
- A Perfumer's Secret
- Paris, Rue des Martyrs
- Paris Jungle
If you like reading about passion, family secrets and romance set in France, you'll enjoy A Perfumer's Secret. Thanks for reading!
|Publisher:||Velvet Morning Press|
|Product dimensions:||5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 3.10(d)|
About the Author
Adria J. Cimino lives in Paris with her husband Didier, daughter Phèdre and son Orphée, and writes about her real-life adventures at AdriaJCimino.com and on Twitter @Adria_in_Paris. When she isn't writing, you can find Adria at her neighborhood café watching the world go by.
Adria is the author of the Amazon best-selling novel Paris, Rue des Martyrs, which is part of the From Paris to Provence series along with A Perfumer's Secret and Paris Jungle. She is also the author of Close to Destiny, a magical love story. Adria co-founded boutique publishing house Velvet Morning Press in 2014. Prior to jumping into the publishing world full time, she spent more than a decade as a journalist at news organizations including The AP and Bloomberg News.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
AudioBook Review: Stars: Overall 4 Narration 4 Story 4 A story laden with scent, family secrets, drama and deep-rooted mysteries are at the core of this tale about Zoe Flore, heading from the only life she’s known in New York to Grasse France, to collect a bequest from an aunt she never knew existed. Raised by her mother, and learning the art of scent-craft from her mother’s constant creations for her, Zoe is completely unaware of her French relations, and they of her. She’s decided that along with collecting this special formula that was left to her, she’s going to meet and discover her family in the area, and perhaps discover who her father is. All of this minor drama is taking place as a contest is announced for a major perfumery contract to become the Cherone in-house perfumer, which is bringing interest from perfume creators (noses), known and unknown, from around the world. Thinking this may be a good opportunity, Zoe’s plans for entering the contest center on the recipe left by her aunt. But, after a day of sightseeing and discovery, she returns to a ransacked hotel room, a missing formula, and the owner of the famed Grasse Fragrance International looking to meet with her. While Zoe is searching for who (and why) her formula is stolen, she’s meeting other noses in the area as all are working toward an entry for the prize. Philippe works for Grasse Fragrance, but is determined to win the contest, defeat Henri Dumas and take his ‘rightful place’ as the lead, in house perfumer for Cherone. Meeting Zoe, there is a connection between Philippe and Zoe. It’s intriguing to see their different approaches to creation: Zoe is far more organic in her approach whereas Philippe is far more methodical and routine based in his approach. He’s caught a scent that captures his imagination, but his desire to recreate that scent and use it as his entry add yet another level of gamesmanship to his acquaintance with Zoe. When you add in Loulou – a fifteen year old girl who picks blossoms for the factories, and still reeling with the discovery of her aunt’s death and her parent’s marital difficulties: the fields are her escape and her hackles are up. As the story develops, more subplots unfold as Zoe’s hunt for the formula, answers to the questions about the family she never knew existed, and discover why her mother left France for New York, never mentioning home again – the twists, turns and tensions are palpable. With lovely description of sight and scent – the visual imagery is unique and cleverly poised for readers to grasp and imagine. Narrated by Teri Schnaubelt, the story comes to life with her simple adjustments to character voices, allowing a distinct tone and delivery for each. This is a story laden with frustration, suspicions and questions that often are hidden beneath an angry and abrupt approach: all understandable reactions to the never-ending tangle of what-next that Zoe is facing, presented with appropriate emoting that kept both the content and context at the forefront. I was provided an AudioBook copy of the title from Tantor Audio for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
"A Perfumer's Secret" is a special type of book, as it includes the making of perfume, and how difficult the process may be, within it's pages. This book is about a twenty-something girl whose mother passed away, with secrets. She had left Grasse, France and her extended family when she was pregnant, and without letting the father know. Zoe never attempted to contact family to find out anything after her mother's passing. She did carry on the perfuming like her mother did. It wasn't until her great-aunt passed and that she was to attend the reading of the will that she left her job in NYC to head to Grasse, where her extended family resides. This is part romance and part mystery that circles each other round and round. Everyone knows that Zoe inherited a perfume recipe that everyone wants and thinks they deserve. Someone steals the paper the inheritance was written on, and everyone else is still trying to get their hands on it. I love that the story never slows down, while a few separate romances try to take place. I also love that Zoe learns a lot about relatives she never even knew anything about. A lot happens in this fast paced story that keeps you wanting to turn page after page until it is done. It is certainly worth it, too. Thank you to Adrian J. Camino and Library Thing for giving me an e-ARC of this book to read and give my honest review.
Amidst the competition to win a prestigious position as in-house perfumer for a renowned designer’s house, NYC-based Zoe Flore learns that she has inherited—from an unknown great aunt in Grasse, France—the formula to her mother's unforgettable signature scent. Winning the contract with her mother's perfume soon takes a backseat when the formula is stolen and Zoe is forced to recreate it from memory. But a family she didn't know existed isn't the only thing that Zoe will find on her trip; she will unwillingly join forces with a competitor, and learn of a thwarted love affair that broke her mother's heart and which she never forgot. If you marvel at the color of sunrise or the smell of jasmine in a summer afternoon, then you should read A Perfumer's Secret. I liked it a great deal and read it faster than I have been reading for months. Gorgeously described, this novel details the quest of a woman to find her sense of self and belonging in the world. Interlaced with the beautiful descriptions of abstract fragrances and what not, were some expletives that felt out of place, but I guess people in idyllic places use bad words as well. Somehow the novel felt like an American story transplanted to a small French town, (e.g., using the phrase "downtown Grasse", teenagers eating pizza, fries with ketchup, and drinking soda like there was no tomorrow...) I have no way to know if those things I picked up were or not out of place, but they seemed more at home in America than in France. Despite some minor flaws that may very well be a matter of taste, A Perfumer's Secret is a novel that deserves to be read on the basis of its luscious images. DISCLAIMER: I received from the author a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Zoe Flore is a perfumer vying for a contract with her employer’s client, Cherone, to produce a new and perfect scent. She had once been in love with senior perfumer, Drew Hudson, who broke her heart. She should have realized that a love affair with a colleague could only lead to competition between them. Now, they are both working on the same project. Zoe receives a letter inviting her to the reading if her aunt’s will in Grasse France, the heart of perfume making country. Zoe has always wanted to know about her mother, Barbara Rose Flore-Fontaine, who grew up in a perfume family in Grasse. When Barbara found she was pregnant with Zoe, she left France and decided to raise her alone. Using her perfumer’s talents, she liked to create unique scents for Zoe, and thus, Zoe learned this skill from her mother. But Zoe was never told anything about her mother’s family in Grasse, nor even her father’s name. Loulou Stanford is a young lady of 15 living with her family in Grasse. In order to earn money, she works in a the fields plucking flowers to be used in the making of perfumes. She is shocked to learn that her beloved Aunt Marie-Odile has just died and angry at her mother for not telling her sooner. When Zoe arrives for the reading of her aunt’s will, she is surprised to have been left a special formula by her aunt. But when she finds her hotel room ransacked and the formula stolen, she begins a hunt to find the thief. She is told by the owner of the hotel that a man named Antoine Fontaine has stopped by asking for her. So, she is going to search out this person because he may have been the person who stole her formula. Philippe Chevrefeuille is a perfumer for Grasse Fragrance International owned by Antoine Fontaine. Philippe is working hard to create a special perfume to win the Cherone competition and hoping to defeat Henri Daumas, a competitor. The winner will reportedly become Cherone’s in-house perfumer. Philippe and Zoe meet up and are attracted to one another even though they are competitors. Throw into the mix that Philippe is engaged, and there are problems. Loulou’s parents are separating which adds to her stress of losing her aunt. Thus begins a race to see who can produce a formula capable of winning this coveted prize. This was a fast-paced story that had many interesting plots that intertwined. The thing I didn’t care for was the constant anger expressed by the characters. This seemed to take away from the story. Perfume making should be a happier business. Copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley