LadyTechie's Reviews > The Book of Lost Fragrances

The Book of Lost Fragrances by M.J. Rose
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Mar 13, 12

Read from February 19 to 20, 2012

I am quite surprised by how much I liked this book. The title really intrigued me when I saw it on Netgalley.com and I decided to give it a try. It had something for everyone. There was mystery, intrigue, politics, fantasy, action, romance and adventure. I don’t much care about the romance part of it but, in some ways it is the crux of the story. In other ways, it is a byproduct of one of the key elements of the story. I am not sure how I feel about the ending but, I can say that even if it did not end exactly as I expected there was something unexpected and wonderful at the end.

One of the best things about this book is having multiple locations in the story like Paris, France, along with China, Tibet, and even Egypt. What makes it even more interesting is that the story is told in multiple periods in most of these locations. There is a historical aspect of the book and I like how some of the past is revealed. I don’t think I have ever read a book that covers the topic of reincarnation or Tibet. The relationship between China and Tibet is one of the main storylines of this book and is a merging of fiction based upon fact and M. J. Rose did a good job on the research of the political situation and the life of Tibetan monks and nuns. There was a good history given of fragrance creation and it was I am quite surprised by how much I liked this book. The title really intrigued me when I saw it on Netgalley.com and I decided to give it a try. It had something for everyone. There was mystery, intrigue, politics, fantasy, action, romance and adventure. I don’t much care about the romance part of it but, in some ways it is the crux of the story. In other ways, it is a byproduct of one of the key elements of the story. I am not sure how I feel about the ending but, I can say that even if it did not end exactly as I expected there was something unexpectfascinating learning about Cleopatra and her relationship to perfumes. I had no idea that there were Tibetan nuns. I thought nuns were typically Catholic. It was great to read about Buddhism and the relationship between China and the intricacies of reincarnation.

The characters and their development play a huge role in this book. The author did an excellent job describing the trials of mental illness and the effects it can have on a family. Another great aspect of this book was the in-depth history of the L’Etoile family and their perfume boutique and how the family created the perfumes by hand. There was a good history of each generation as they created the perfumes. Of particular interest was one of the ancestors, Giles, and the time he spent time in Egypt and how one of his discoveries affected the lives of future generations of L’Etoiles.
I was a bit worried that the book was more on the romance side and not something I would enjoy, but, I did stick with it and I was so happy I did by the end of the book. The author did a good job of covering all of the topics and it was very well written. I was a little confused in one of the areas where the past converged on the present, how it happened, and who was actually involved. Despite that, I think that she will attract a large, diverse group of readers and few will walk away from it not finding something they loved about it. For me it was the intrigue, history and art in Paris.

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