A French perfumer is commissioned in the 1800s to recreate a scent formula from Cleopatra’s fragrance factory. It is believed that those who smell the euphoric scent find a portal to past lives. The Book of Lost Fragrances—part thriller, part ancient history, and part romance—surprises on many levels.
Martyred Tibetan monks attempting to prove reincarnation. Napoleon. Cleopatra’s secret soul-mate fragrance formula. A modern day near-bankrupt perfume company. The famous 18th century French L’Etoile House of Fragrance. Children cooking up scents to be used as a secret language for the nose. A jazz musician and martial arts instructor tied to the Chinese mafia. A past-life therapist.
All are linked by a secret fragrance.
Jac L’Etoile, haunted by the past and her psychotic episodes, tries to cope when her brother, Robbie, disappears. Preferring to live in reality, Jac reluctantly delves into the hazy history of her family’s two hundred and fifty year old perfume business to find her brother and save their legacy.
Well-known for her erotic thrillers, best selling author, M. J. Rose, produces a new historical fiction suspense novel. Fascinated with reincarnation, as evidenced by her three-book Reincarnationist series, Ms. Rose imbues her new novel with a unique plot line.
This is bold writing with an intriguing, original plot. Ms. Rose is a master of intrigue. Suspense and sensuality build through the novel as the characters embark on separate treasure hunts for the mysterious fragrance. While the plot concept is compelling, the execution is less impressive. The novel is overpopulated, dampening its intensity. The story line digresses into so many changing points of view and scenes that the reading is frustrating. The many elements are fascinating and informative, but don’t relate well to each other. Finally, congruence is found but seems forced. If the reader is patient, the last third of the novel satisfies as an electrifying thriller. The book’s most interesting elements are the art of fragrance making, the reoccurring link to reincarnation, and unexpected rekindled romance.
Atria Books through Netgalley graciously provided the review copy.
Reviewed by Holly Weiss, author of Crestmont