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The Perfume Collector

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3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  14,471 ratings  ·  1,860 reviews
An inheritance from a mysterious stranger...
An abandoned perfume shop on the Left Bank of Paris..
And three exquisite perfumes that hold a memory... and a secret

London, 1955: Grace Monroe is a fortunate young woman. Despite her sheltered upbringing in Oxford, her recent marriage has thrust her into the heart of London's most refined and ambitious social circles. However,
...more
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published May 14th 2013 by Harper (first published January 1st 2013)
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Community Reviews

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Amy
I seriously loved this book. I only have one complaint that I will share at the end, which is a spoiler, so beware....

Grace, Eva, Monsieur Thissot, Mr. Lambert, Rita, Valmont, Madame Zed, Madame Hiver, and the rest of the characters in this book are eclectic, strange, maniacal, subdued, eccentric, and at times, plain crazy. Each one of them added to the overall character and life of this book. Add to the characters a unique and quirky story involving the smells of our lives and the life of a per
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Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
When offered a review copy of The Perfume Collector, I did the same thing I always do first: checked out the Goodreads page to see how the early reviews had fallen. Based on the overwhelmingly positive response, I accepted, despite my crowded review schedule. I'm quite glad I did, as Tessaro's novel is a marvelous read, full of beautiful language and eccentric characters. Set in the post-WWII, Kathleen Tessaro's novel The Perfume Collector is a contemplative tale of one woman's journey to make a ...more
Dem
The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro was an intriguing and compelling read with a lovely air of mystery about it that really kept me interested.

I listened this this book and while I am not a fan of audio books I really enjoyed the narrator of this book as she really added greatly to the overall enjoyment of the story.
I surprised myself at how much I enjoyed this novel as I would never have picked up this book had I not come across it as a monthly group read on Goodreads. The blurb and the c
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Lori
Eva's story was interesting; Grace's story left me yawning.
But the worst part about this book was the absolutely horrible editing job. Someone at Harper Collins got paid a great deal of money to go drinking when he/she should have been proofreading. I have seen fewer grammatical and word usage errors in an advanced reader copy. It was distracting and infuriating.
I am mentally composing my letter to Harper Collins in which I offer my services as a copy editor. They need me.
Britany
Feb 01, 2014 Britany rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Britany by: Laura
Paris, London, New York, Monaco...

This novel takes you across oceans to take you on its journey. Grace Munroe receives a strange, unexpected inheritance from Eva d'Orsey, a woman who lived in Paris, and who Grace has absolutely no memory of.

She decides to fly to Paris to see what the claim is about and frankly to be sure that they have the "right" Grace Munroe. What she discovers is a lost story that will forever impact her life. She discovers flavorful food, perfect scenery, and how powerful a
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Connie
What a beautifully written story of two women who's lives are intertwined, one who knows how and one who has no idea of the others existence. I may not have chosen this book and I would have missed out.

Ms Tessaro paints a vivid picture of 1950's England and France.....but an even better picture of the 1920's era. I could envision women who dressed to go out, and men who still wore suits. Of a society that overindulged in sinful encounters, drank too much and lived in the moment.

In flashback
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Dannaca
Sep 16, 2013 Dannaca rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
Shelves: reviewed-books
I pride myself on my balanced reviews. I try to remove my emotions from my critique and focus on the merits of the writer as a writer. The tone, the scene, the characterization, the plot...the basics, dang it.

So it is with great solemnity that I say, SQUEEE I loved this book!

A favorite author (Elizabeth Peters) once said (through her character writer and librarian Jacqueline Kirby) that she liked her books to "have a beginning, a middle, and an end." None of this slice-of-life stuff. I agree wit
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Carol
Just ok for me. While I thought the storyline interesting, the connection between Eva and Grace was pretty predictable early on, and the descriptive detail of perfume making was a bit much sometimes. Despite all the typo's, still not a bad read.
Perrie
(Probably potential spoilers below)

I picked this up at random from Waterstones when I realise I didn't have my Kindle with me and burned through it in a couple of days. A bittersweet tale of love, loss and enduring relationships, it was an enjoyable book if not one of my favourite ever plotlines.

Grace Munroe is a beginner socialite right on the introductory verge of the London mid-fifties upper class society scene when two unrelated revelations in one night send her fleeing to Paris, away from
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Lauren Henderson
4.5 stars

Immediate thoughts: Well that was just extremely beautifully written.. going on my favorites list.. Right. Now.

Actual review: I'm extraordinarily in love with The Perfume Collector. It is so romantically whimsical. I felt transported to another place and time - and it was about time - I read so many mediocre books in January that I was beginning to forget that feeling of getting lost in books. The world of Paris and perfume is romanticized so perfectly.. I mean... just look:

Perfume sho
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~✡~Dαni(ela) ♥ ♂♂ love & semi-colons~✡~
This is a Lifetime Movie masquerading as a novel. The characters are woefully underdeveloped and the "mystery" paper thin and obvious almost immediately.

Eva, who dies young at the age of 43 in 1955 in Paris, leaves her entire inheritance (a sizable one) to 27-year-old Grace. Grace flies from London to Paris to meet with a solicitor regarding the inheritance and tries to figure out who Eva was and why Eva would leave her not only an apartment but also stocks and a few other trinkets.

The book al
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Booksintheburbs
I have not read any of Kathleen Tessaro’s book, prior to this one, so I read this book without any expectations of a particular writing style. From the beautiful book cover, to the first pages, I was hooked. I was a little confused at first, so I did have to flip back to the first pages to see who I was reading about. It starts with Eva and at the tail end of her disease, with the next chapter beginning with Grace-a socialite, who seems quite disconnected from her husband and social circle. It i ...more
Darla Worden
I became a fan of Kathleen Tessaro several years ago when my friend Julie gave me a copy of her novel "Elegance." Recently, Julie arranged for me to receive an advance copy of Tessaro's newest work, "The Perfume Collector", and it will be available for sale on May 14th.

It hooked me on page one and I spent every spare moment I could find in the past week reading it. I had conflicting emotions--the need to find out what was going to happen to the characters and at the same time the dread of seeing
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Lilisa
It's 1955 and Grace Monroe should be living an average comfortable married life in London. But all's not quite well - she doesn't fit the social life that's expected of her, she discovers her marriage might be questionable and the recurring dream she had as a child has resurfaced. So when she learns that a stranger in Paris has passed away and bequeathed her an inheritance, she is surprised, baffled and intrigued enough to head to Paris to find out more about Eva d'Orsey - who she is, what's her ...more
Sandy
Wow! What a ride! If you aspire to time-travelling while flitting across the Atlantic Ocean and the English Channel (with a brief foray over the Mediterranean), then this book is for you. It's an exciting trip, but pack lightly, and bring an adaptable wardrobe. You will need to blend into a variety of settings. You will be travelling from New York City in 1927 to London and Paris in 1955 via London (1928), Monte Carlo (1932), Oxfordshire (1935) and Paris (1942) - but not in chronological order.

T
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Andrea Guy
If there is a novel that is a must read, this book is it. The writing style is beautiful and it is easy to get caught up in the lives of Grace and Eva. Both women will captivate you, most especially Eva who comes from the most humble upbringings.

If you are a fan of M.J. Rose's last two novels, this book will definitely appeal to you, as you get a wonderful glimpse into the world of fragrances. This is something I really found fascinating, especially at one point where they captured the scent of
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Consuelo
The Perfume Collector, by Kathleen Tesaro, is a delightful story, full of intrigue that kept this reader engaged until the last page. Young British socialite, Grace Munroe, travels to Paris in 1955 in search of answers about an unexpected inheritance from the unknown Eva de Orsey.

Tessaro structures the narrative in alternating chapters. We first learn the story in 1927 of French woman Eva, which begins in a New York hotel where she is working as a 14-year-old maid. Then we meet Grace in 1955, a
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Ali
I have not read anything by Kathleen Tessaro before so upon receiving this review copy from Harper Collins I honestly had no idea what to expect. The cover art showing an elegantly dressed woman in 1950’s dress is nicely attractive and I found perfectly suited the story that followed.
“Eva d’Orsey sat at the kitchen table, listening to the ticking clock, a copy of Le Figaro in front of her. This was the sound of time, moving away from her.
Taking another drag from a cigarette, she looked out of
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Shane
I absolutely love historical fiction and anything having to do with fragrances. So, the fact that the author blended both elements together was both intriguing and cleverly done. The Perfume Collector is beyond exquisite; exploring mystery, societal issues concerning women of two different period in time, and of course, the beauty of romance and how various scents come in to play with intimacy among other things.

This story was truly a journey of self-discovery, and I was intrigued by every thin
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Danielle
Read This Review & More Like It At Ageless Pages Reviews

The Perfume Collector is a historical set in an interesting time. Starting in 1955, before backtracking to the 1920s, it’s a mystery, and romance, that largely explores the roles and tragedies of independent women in a pre-second wave society.

I will say, it’s not an overly thrilling mystery. The secret connecting Grace Monroe, English socialite, and Eva D’Orsey; American maid and perfume collector, becomes evident pretty early on. The
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Leeswammes
I enjoyed reading this book so much! It was a very quick read, and I found it hard to put it down. Grace inherits a lot of money as well as a beautiful apartment in Paris. Wonderful! We readers get a look around the apartment and while it’s meant to be sold, I hoped Grace would be able to keep it and maybe live in it herself.

Most of the story is about Grace trying to find out why she has been left all this wealth. She doesn’t know the deceased and rather than accepting the inheritance just like
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Noeleen
3.5 Stars

I really enjoyed the characters and the settings in this book. Told in two time periods from the perspective of Eva and Grace, both were interesting and held my attention. Normally with books structured like this, one story usually wins out over the other with regard to holding my attention, but in this case, both were interesting. This book was very well written and the perfume references added a very interesting aspect for me. I would have pushed this to 4 stars but it was a bit too o
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Sandra
I have fallen in love with Kathleen Tessro's The Perfume Collector. This book is beautifully written, chapter upon chapter intricately woven to hold you captive. This is a book that has made me rediscover my love for the English language. The story is mesmerizing from the start to the end. I really am in awe of this book.

Thank you Tessaro, for the mind blowing ecstasy that is the pure joy of reading a work of art.

My 2013 Book of the year

10+ stars.
Bev
I am a fan of historical fiction and enjoyed this book from start to finish. I am also captivated by books that move between time and place, and as such was quickly drawn into the account of Eva and Grace, two women from different decades whose lives are intertwined.

The story begins in 1955 where Grace learns that she is the sole recipient of an inheritance from an unknown woman, Eva d'Orsey. Prompted by the need for answers, Grace packs her bags and travels to Paris in search of the unseen thre
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MomToKippy
Tessaro is a great storyteller for sure. This story vacillates between about 1927 in New York and 1957 in Paris and England. They are also in Monte Carlo for a bit. I love that this is a dual time period story but none of the time periods is contemporary! So it is all "historical" fiction. It is also a story about a woman who inherits property and wealth from an unknown (to her) entity and goes about trying to sort out the circumstances of the inheritance. This seems to be a popular scenario lat ...more
Nicole Long
I read this as a part of a book club book of the month selection. I am not sure I would have picked it up otherwise, and actually anticipated not enjoying it (due to seeing one poor review early on). I fell in love with the book almost immediately. I enjoy books that move through different time periods to tell a story, if the writing is done well, and this was. As the title indicates, the book involves scent to tell a story, and through out the book, I was reminded of several scents through out ...more
Jenn Ravey
Perfume should tell a story – the story of who you are, who you might be, perhaps even of who you fear becoming…all of these things are possible. It’s a very intimate element of a woman, just like her signature or the sound of her voice.

This quote describes Grace Monroe perfectly. A newlywed in 1950s London, Grace isn’t sure she likes the life she signed on for when she married her husband, a man she’s already aware is cheating. Grace really doesn’t even know who she is or what she wants from li
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Gaele
With an eye for creating and interweaving the threads of a story through the evocative and intriguing use of three classic perfumes, Tessaro manages to tell a story in multiple parts, from variant perspectives to leave an impression that lingers like scent on the air.

Introducing Eva at the end of her life, and Grace in the midst of her marital crisis: the intersection of these two stories with the rather obvious connection between the two lives is told through the story of three scents and thei
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Barbara Kinsky
Wow! What a brilliant read! I found this suspenseful with lots of secrets around every chapter and did not want the story to end! This book would make a great movie and I will definitely be reading more of the author's books. Highly recommended.
Tema Merback
I am a glutton for great historical fiction and exquisite food, so for me, The Perfume Collector, was champagne and oysters! This novel, hit all of my pulse points (excuse the pun). Kathleen Tessaro serves up a romantic mystery that shuttles back and forth from the 1920s to the 1950s, as the novel chronicles the entanglements and repercussions of the main character a dying French woman, Eva d'Orsey, who has left her estate to a stranger, Grace Munroe, a young British woman. The novel's mystery i ...more
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Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Kathleen attended the University of Pittsburgh before entering the drama program of Carnegie Mellon University. In the middle of her sophomore year, she went to study in London for three months and stayed for the next twenty-three years. She began writing at the suggestion of a friend and was an early member of the Wimpole Street Writer’s Workshop. Her debut novel ...more
More about Kathleen Tessaro...
Elegance The Debutante Innocence The Flirt Kathleen Tessaro 3-Book Collection: The Flirt, The Debutante, The Perfume Collector

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“There is nothing more difficult than simplicity, and therefore, nothing more refined.” 16 likes
“To me, chance isn't random. The universe is bound by unseen threads. We have only to untangle them a little to see the pattern unfold.” 12 likes
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