Friday, March 2, 2012
Review: The Book of Lost Fragrances
The Book of Lost Fragrances by M.J. Rose
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Disclosure: I received a free ARC e-galley from netGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis from Goodreads: Jac L’Etoile has always been haunted by the past, her memories infused with the exotic scents that she grew up surrounded by as the heir to a storied French perfume company. In order to flee the pain of those remembrances — and of her mother’s suicide — she moves to America, leaving the company in the hands of her brother Robbie. But when Robbie hints at an earth-shattering discovery in the family archives and then suddenly goes missing — leaving a dead body in his wake — Jac is plunged into a world she thought she’d left behind.
Back in Paris to investigate her brother’s disappearance, Jac discovers a secret the House of L’Etoile has been hiding since 1799: a scent that unlocks the mysteries of reincarnation. The Book of Lost Fragrances fuses history, passion, and suspense, moving from Cleopatra’s Egypt and the terrors of revolutionary France to Tibet’s battle with China and the glamour of modern-day Paris. Jac’s quest for the ancient perfume someone is willing to kill for becomes the key to understanding her own troubled past. The ancient perfume someone is willing to kill for becomes the key to understanding her own troubled past
My Thoughts: I am a huge fan of M.J. Rose and loved her Butterfield Institute books, so was very excited about reading this book. I also love perfumes and scents, so that gave me extra incentive to be excited about reading it. Once I got started reading it, I realized it is part of the reincarnation series, something I hadn’t realized based upon the description, although perhaps I should have! The Phoenix Foundation is present in this book as in all other books in this loosely connected series, where Malachai Samuels strives to gain a memory tool and learn the secrets of his own reincarnation.
However, this story has Malachai only as an adjunct. The main focus of the story is Jac and her brother Robbie, the latest in a line of perfumers that went back to the 1700s. The family tradition had it that Giles traveled to Egypt with Napoleon, where he discovered two jars of unguent, and a scroll outlining how to make it, which scent allowed a person to see their past lives. This story is intercrossed with the story of a young Tibetan man named Xie who was stolen from a monastery when he was 6 and taken to China and brainwashed. He is currently an artist and has been allowed to travel out of China because his calligraphy is to be exhibited in London, Paris and Rome. There are also members of the Chinese mafia involved in the story. Obviously there are a lot of strands to the story, but as long as you are reading with your full mind, they interweave flawlessly. It will help if you have read the earlier reincarnation books by M.J. Rose. I loved all these books and highly recommend them to those who enjoy a good story, especially if you are interested in reincarnation and past lives. Another winner from M.J. Rose!
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