BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde
Saturday, August 11, 2012
Review of The Book of Lost Fragrances by MJ Rose
Publisher: Atria Books
Release date: March 13, 2012
Buying Links: Amazon Barnes & Noble The Book Depository
Book Blurb (from goodreads):
A sweeping and suspenseful tale of secrets, intrigue, and lovers separated by time, all connected through the mystical qualities of a perfume created in the days of Cleopatra—and lost for 2,000 years.
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.
Reviewed By: Bea
This was my first book by MJ Rose and I wasn't sure what to expect. It got a lot of hype, which often turns me off, but it sounded a little bit like a Phyllis Whitney or Nora Roberts book so I thought I'd try it.
It has a little of just about everything, for everyone: mystery, politics, current events, religion, reincarnation, intrigue, history, and romance! For the most part, the mix works though it's a lot to squish together. I was surprised at the predominance of the politics and current events; I had not gotten that impression from the book blurb. I also didn't realize it was part of her Reincarnationist series until I was poking around on goodreads for more info; that said, it worked perfectly fine as a stand alone.
I enjoyed learning more about perfume, it's history, how it's made, etc. and the historical flashbacks and reincarnation scenes were interesting. The religious/political/current events subplots worked less well; Rose made them work with the perfume plot but overall they felt grafted on and not a natural part of the story. She did seem to do a good job of research and also of not clubbing us over the head with information.
The romance portion of the story did not work for me at all. I should state that I am not a fan of exes reuniting; it so rarely works in real life and I've read damn few stories where I found it believable. Given what drove them apart, I didn't buy their getting back together not did I ever feel either the alleged passion or love.
Overall, this book was okay; I never really got invested in the characters or cared what happened. I'm not in a rush to read more by Rose, for whatever that may be worth.
I received a digital galley from the publisher for review.