The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro [Harpercollins]
This ‘richly evocative novel is a ‘secret history of scent, memory and desire’ and begins in the 1950s with newly-married socialite Grace Munroe’s life being turned upside down by the arrival of a mysterious letter, naming her as the beneficiary in the will of a woman called Eva D’Orsay. Requested to attend the offices of the lawyers handling her inheritence, the main problem is that Grace has never even heard of this woman. But her journey of discovery will lead to the heart of the perfume world, travelling to Paris and exploring the life and death of this shadowy benefactor who, it turns out, was the darling of high society in the 1920s. Traversing decadently through the decades in New York, Monte Carlo, Paris, and London, Grace discovers Eva was a famed fragrant muse, and someone who inspired one of Paris’s greatest perfumers to immortalise her in three groundbreaking fragrances. As Grace finds out more, and indulges her own senses, she will be changed forever when forced to choose between the image of what society experts of her, and who she really is…
In their review, The London Magazine described The Perfume Collector as ‘a truly delicious and sensual novel’, and recomended it ‘if you’re the kind of person that loves nothing better than to curl up watching a period drama, or if you can’t leave the house without a splash of red lipstick…’ Well, we feel seen, and definitely devoured every word of this. The story moves along apace, and the fragrance descriptions are written with a depth and passion that reveal the author as a fellow fragrance obsessive. The perfect novel to tempt anyone who loves perfume!
Buy it at Waterstones