Sunday, December 01, 2013

Dreaming of France -- The Perfume Collector

Please join this weekly meme. Grab a copy of the photo above and link back to An Accidental Blog. Share with the rest of us your passion for France. Did you read a good book set in France? See a movie? Take a photo in France? Have an adventure? Eat a fabulous meal or even just a pastry? Or if you're in France now, go ahead and lord it over the rest of us. We can take it.
I have another book review for this week. I am squeaking out some time for reading, even though I still have final exam essays to grade for my college classes. Unfortunately, I read most of this book in the middle of the night when my college son sent me a worrying text at 3 a.m. I moved to the couch and read until 5 a.m. because I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep. Everything is fine now, and, as expected, the 3 a.m. text was an overreaction.
Anyway, I really enjoyed The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro. The book was layered with such great, sensory details. Of course, since it's called The Perfume Collector, you would expect that it would be strong on the sense of smell, but the other details and emotions were strongly written as well.
The book switched back and forth with a narrator from the 1920s and a narrator from the 1950s, and we don't learn the connection between the two until later in the book. They both led fascinating lives, and each story is equally compelling.
 Here's an excerpt from early in the book, from the 1950s section:
Grace had a fondness for the sharpness of this time of year; for the muted, shifting light that played tricks on her eyes. It was a time of mysterious, yet dramatic metamorphosis. One minute there was nothing but storms and rain; a moment later a field of daffodils appeared, exploding triumphantly into a fanfare of colour.
Grace learns that she has inherited the estate of Eva d'Orsey, who she has never heard of. So she flies off to Paris to learn about her inheritance and the woman who left it to her. The journey, of course, becomes about discovering the woman who left her a fabulous apartment and fortune, along with learning what she wants herself.
I loved the scenery descriptions along with the feeling that Grace enjoys as she realizes the thrill that comes from sitting in a cafe with a handsome man and enjoying some new foods with "flavor."
Toward the end of the book, a number of proofreading errors were distracting. And most bothersome of all, in the final chapter, a main character was identified by the wrong name, causing me to flip back and forth several times until I realized that the wrong name had been used.
I also felt the book could have gone on a little longer with more details to tie up all the ends, but none of this marred my enjoyment of the novel. I highly recommend it.


Maria Kristina Maano said...

I really admire writers who can evoke the senses so well! They seem to have unlimited vocabulary of adjectives! It's amusing how they can differentiate, say for example odors (such as the author of this book for sure) and taste (such example I find is for writers of menus and reviews who describe tastes of wine and cheese).

How I wish I can have even a slight hint of their talent!

Alexa said...

Sounds interesting! I'll check it out.

Esme said...

I have this on hold at the library.

Jackie Mc Guinness said...

I read this book recently too. I also would have liked more of an ending. But I did enjoy it.

Louise said...

I can't believe you got any reading done at all this month, with all your writing, sorry to hear it was at 3am. It does sound an interesting book. I haven't seen it in Australia yet, but would be keen to have a look.

Leovi said...

Yeah, thanks for the recommendation of this interesting book!

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