The Book Of Lost Fragrances

March 13, 2012

The Book Of Lost Fragrances
By: M.J. Rose
384 Pages
*** Reviewed By: Betsey Brooks ***

 "...When Robbie L’Etoile of the failing House of L’Etoile perfumery discovers, in the family’s Paris workshop, pottery shards holding traces of a perfume that can cause recall of previous lives, he shares his discovery with archaeologist Griffin North, an old family friend who’s the ex-lover of Jac, Robbie’s clairvoyant sister and a myth scholar. After exposure to the shards, Jac finds herself balancing visions of the lives of grieving lovers from the past with her own complicated feelings about Griffin. Robbie, a Buddhist, later disappears after the Chinese mafia learns he intends to give the pottery to the Dali Lama to support the hopes of Tibetans in exile." ---Publisher's Weekly

This was a wonderfully fast paced read with a surprise in each chapter. The story swirls around pieces of pottery found in an Egyptian tomb. They have a sent of an ancient perfume which has an unusual effect on those that smell it. The L'Etoile who was there for the discovery has hidden it. Finding and having these pieces mean different things to a variety of people. The story tell of journey each person takes trying to obtain them. 

The main character is Jac L'Etoile. The  L'Etoile family has been making perfumes in France  for many generations and is well known internationally. Jac and her brother, Robbie, are now in control of the company. Their father developed Alzheimer's and is no longer able to continue. Unfortunately, his condition wasn't diagnosed before he made many poor business decisions. Between that, and the failing economy, the company is in deep financial trouble. Robbie has taken over the company and is attempting to get things back on track.

Jac never wanted anything to do with the company. She moved to the United States and is a well known author who has her own television show called Mythfinders. In both her book and show, Jac explores the origins of myths and legends. Jac is very different from the person she presents to people around her. She has visions of past lives that take over her consciousness.  While Jac is in the US, Robbie has been working to make some sense of the mess his father has made both physically in the lab and in papers left all around. He finds something that he feels can put the company back on its feet. Robbie needs Jac's help. Robbie disappeared and a body is found in the lab. Jac comes home to find her brother.

A second character is Xie  Ping. He is an award winning student artist in a Chinese college and  a person of interest to the Chinese government. Xie's earliest years were spent in Tibet but that ended with his "rescue" from a burning Buddhist  temple. A group of 4 artist have been invited to go on and exhibition tour in Europe. The tour may change Xie's life forever.

The past and the future are woven throughout this story and play a key roll in it's climax.

Another strand of the story tells of various people that want the pieces of pottery because of the effect they have. Proving reincarnation is a driving force to some. Others want it because of its historic value. But then there is another group that  want it to disappear forever. It becomes a life and death struggle as their paths intertwine.

If you are looking for a book that will capture you from the very first page and not let go until the very last word, look not further than The Book Of Lost Fragrances. M.J. Rose takes you on an adventure you won't want to stop reading about. It was  hard to put down once I got into it. However each chapter is so well crafted, it was easy to pick back up. I read this in 2 sittings. If I had been on a vacation I would have read it straight through. That is the pull it has on you. This is a remarkable book you will not forget about once you've finished it.

I would encourage any reader to purchase this book. The historic information is fascinating and come to life through the exquisite details. Thank you to the author for taking me on a wonderful journey.

Rating: Buy It!


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