The Book of Lost Fragrances by M.J. Rose
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.
The Lost Book of Fragrances intrigued me from the moment I read the synopsis. Scent is a mystery in itself, it seemed fascinating to base a book around that mystery and I’ve been wanting to read Rose’s Reincarnationist series for awhile now. I was not able to find the time to read the other books in the series prior to reading this, but I honestly don’t feel like I was missing anything not having read them.
I loved the way Rose weaved the story and her sentences. It actually reminded me much of when you first smell a scent and there’s the top note and then subtly other scents start coming through until finally the bottom notes are revealed.
The Book of Lost Fragrances is a complex story, sometimes I found myself a little confused but was quickly able to find my way once I continued reading. I think the main character Jac, she’s so easy to relate to. Her wanting to find her way away from the past but needing the threads of the past to find her way, there were a few times where a particular sentence made me bleary-eyed.
I never expected the part of the story line involving the Chinese dissidents, the conflict in Tibet, that whole angle had me riveted. It could’ve been an entire story in itself, and yet Rose weaved it in The Book of Lost Fragrances as deftly as one could weave plot lines. In my eyes, she seemed a master at it.
I’ve always been fascinated – in fact I think the first time I ever really USED the word “fascinated” was when I first discussed my love of Egyptian lore, culture, history and artifacts with a friend. The whole idea of a fragrance that can bring you to understand and remember past lives is wondrous. The beauty throughout the book is how scent is used by lovers and loved ones to recognize each other and communicate. For instance, Jac’s brother Robbie uses a fragrance they created as kids to communicate with her when he goes missing. There’s a mysterious Egyptian broken clay container that once held a scent that was said to evoke past life memories – and this container was said to have been found in the hands of two lovers who were planning to use it to find each other in the afterlife.
There is so much beauty to be found here, along with mystery, romance and definitely suspense. I was riveted by nearly every angle of the story and each plot line. I think even if you’re not a mystery lover this is a book that will appeal to everyone.
M.J. Rose is the international best selling author of eleven novels and two non-fiction books on marketing. Her next novel THE BOOK OF LOST FRAGRANCES (Atria/S&S) will be published in March 2012. Her fiction and non-fiction has appeared in many magazines and reviews including Oprah Magazine. She has been featured in the New York Times, Newsweek, Time, USA Today and on the Today Show, and NPR radio. Rose graduated from Syracuse University, spent the ’80s in advertising, has a commercial in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC and since 2005 has run the first marketing company for authors – Authorbuzz.com. The television series PAST LIFE, was based on Rose’s novels in the Renincarnationist series. She is one of the founding board members of International Thriller Writers and runs the blog- Buzz, Balls & Hype. She is also the co-founder of Peroozal.com and BookTrib.com.
Rose lives in CT with her husband the musician and composer, Doug Scofield, and their very spoiled and often photographed dog, Winka.