14 May 2014

The Book Of Lost Fragrances by M. J. Rose, Book review

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books; 2nd edition (March 13, 2012)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451621303


A Secret Worth Dying For...

Jac L'Etoile has always been haunted by visions of the past, her earliest memories infused with the exotic scents that she grew up with as the heir to a storied French perfume company. These worsened after her mother's suicide until she finally found a doctor who helped her, teaching her to explore the mythological symbolism in her visions and thus lessen their painful impact. This ability led Jac to a wildly successful career as a mythologist, television personality and author.

When her brother, Robbie—who's taken over the House of L'Etoile from their father—contacts Jac about a remarkable discovery in the family archives, she's skeptical. But when Robbie goes missing before he can share the secret—leaving a dead body in his wake—Jac is plunged into a world she thought she'd left behind.

Traveling back to Paris to investigate Robbie's disappearance, Jac discovers that the secret is a mysterious scent developed in Cleopatra's time. Could the rumors swirling be true? Can this ancient perfume hold the power to unlock the ability to remember past lives and conclusively prove reincarnation? If this possession has the power to change the world, then it's not only worth living for... it's worth killing for, too.

The Book of Lost Fragrances fuses history, passion and suspense in an intoxicating web that moves from Cleopatra's Egypt and the terrors of revolutionary France to Tibet's battle with China and the glamour of modern-day Paris. This marvelous, spellbinding novel mixes the sensory allure of Perfume with the heartbreaking beauty of The Time Traveler's Wife, coming to life as richly as our most wildly imagined dreams. 

Perfume Organ (Source HERE)

My thoughts:

The Book of Lost Fragrances might well mesmerize M.J. Rose's fans as they visualize an unlimited array of colours and exotic places, identify scents most of us have yet to chance by and delectably challenge their brain cells, but this reader did not experience this and remains I guess a skeptic.

Centered on Jac and Robbie, the heirs to the House of l'Etoile, a century old perfumer, The Book Of Lost Fragrances is a  work of fiction offering readers suspense, romance, paranormal effects and elements of repressed freedom and religion.

Beginning with the first chapter in an ancient Egyptian tomb at the time of Napoleon, than a General of the French army, all the way to present time in the catacombs of Paris, the story draws you into a maelstrom of emotions particularly as it brings up the plight of Tibet.

The dramatic plot line showcase well known figures, beautiful locations and an intriguing mystery transcending centuries. Throughout the multi layered action, M. J. Rose's fictional characters just never seem to rise to the occasion however. In fact, they faded completely in the background as I skipped to the parts describing historical events, sensations, smells to recapture the interest felt upon reading the synopsis. In vain.

It cannot be denied the author knows well her craft and brings to fans a few hours of entertainment, but saturated as my imagination was after all this, I felt deflated.

Time traveling continues to fascinate people and to this extent, I am most willing to try something new however fantastical, therefore I promised myself I'll try again, another time!

3 Stars!

Meet the Author:

M.J. Rose grew up in New York City mostly in the labyrinthine galleries of the Metropolitan Museum, the dark tunnels and lush gardens of Central Park and reading her mother's favorite books before she was allowed. She believes mystery and magic are all around us but we are too often too busy to notice...  Books that exaggerate mystery and magic draw attention to it and remind us to look for it and revel in it.

She lives with a composer, and their very spoiled dog, Winka.

Note: This was a library loan and any opinion is mine only!


  1. Not sure if this is for me, sometime I get all the characters muddled up and if there are lots it all becomes too much.

    1. I gave it a shot Merle, definitively well put together but not entirely my cup of tea. The author does have a lot of followers though so perhaps another book...later...

  2. That sounds interesting and a book I would like to try, too! Happy weekend my friend! Hugs!

    1. Let me know your thoughts Diane once you are done!
      Enjoy sunny Florida!


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