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 moved to America. Now, fourteen years later she and her brother have inherited the company along with it's financial problems. 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 becomes haunted by the legend the House of L'Etoile has been espousing since 1799. Is there a scent that can unlock the mystery of reincarnation - or is it just another dream infused perfume?
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.
Jac L'Etoile was plagued by periods of mental unrest as an adolescent--haunted by vivid visions and hallucinations--and she's spent years trying to put them behind her. Even though the doctor who finally helped her break through specialized in studying children with past life experiences, Jac has always refused to even consider the idea that her visions could be memories of a previous life. The lone cynic in a family of romantics, Jac has distanced herself from the family perfume business and spends her time tracking down and debunking myths. When her brother Robbie discovers the shards of an ancient Egyptian scent pot, he thinks he's finally found proof to validate an old family legend, a legend that claims the E'Toile's once possessed a scent so powerful it could trigger past life memories and help soulmates find each other.
Jac wants nothing to do with her brother's outlandish ideas, but when he goes missing she learns he's not the only person who believes such a scent exists, and that powerful people will stop at nothing to possess it. Frightened, angry, and confused, Jac turns to the one person who was closest to her brother before he disappeared, her ex-lover Griffin. As she and Griffin piece together the clues to find Robbie and the mythical fragrance, repressed emotions begin to resurface, and so do Jac's hallucinations. With time running out and dangerous enemies closing in, now is not the time for Jac to lose it, but the only alternative is opening herself up to the idea she has long avoided--that she is experiencing memories from past lives. And if she is, can she stop the tragic cycle of her previous lives from repeating?
The story is very imaginative, combining elements from the mythology of the ancient Egyptians and Greeks with Buddhism, reincarnation, and past life memories. It's very cosmopolitan, taking the reader on a ride from New York to China, London, and Paris. I really enjoyed learning how fragrance has played a role in myth and mystery throughout the centuries, and I loved the descriptions of Paris. Rose has a way with description--she knows how to make her settings come to life, and the story is ambitious and suspenseful, but I was a little put off by the structure. There are many different points of view and it takes a while to figure out how all of these different characters relate to each other, so the story felt rather disjointed at times. There are also more than a few info dumps and flashbacks, and I found some of the transitions into past life experiences to be a little clumsy and confusing. And while I was reading, I did not think that this book was setting up for a sequel, but the ending--although emotional and resonant--left me with some big questions and I was disappointed not to get a sense of closure and a potential happy-ever-after. So I started thinking sequel after all, but there's no mention of it on the author's or publisher's sites. So these issues detracted a bit from my enjoyment of the story, but overall I thought The Book of Lost Fragrances was an interesting read and a unique entry into the archaeological thriller genre.
My Rating: 3 Stars out of 5
The Book of Lost Fragrances is on a Blog Tour!
Click Here to view the complete schedule and check out the other tour stops!
M.J. Rose will be here on the 29th with a guest post!
M.J. Rose is asking . . . have you ever smelled a story?
“He struggled to separate out the notes he recognized from the ones he didn’t, searching for the ingredients that gave the blend its promise of hope, of long nights and voluptuous dreams, of invitation and embrace. Of an everlasting covenant ripe with possibility. Of lost souls reunited.” —The Book of Lost Fragrances
Discover the perfume inspired by The Book of Lost Fragrances
Pre-order The Book of Lost Fragrances by M.J. Rose and we'll send you a free sample of Âmes Soeurs, the Scent of Soulmates. This exclusive fragrance, inspired by the novel, was created by Joya Studios and is not yet for sale. Joya’s Âmes Sœurs hints of Frankincense, Myrrh, Orange Blossom and Jasmine. It’s smoky uncommon finish suggests the past and the future, and lost souls reunited.
Just use one of the links at http://mjrose.com/fragrances/scent.asp and follow the directions there. Offer ends March 1, but supplies are limited so pre-order now! US and Canada only.