Carol Waller's Reviews > The Book of Lost Fragrances

The Book of Lost Fragrances by M.J. Rose
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's review
Apr 19, 2012

did not like it
bookshelves: bad, fiction
Read in April, 2012

** spoiler alert ** Finished it. Probably against my better judgement.

Overly wrought and complicated, as many threads as the Bayeaux Tapestry. I think it suffered from not having a strong editor. Plot basics, fine. Conversations, a bit wooden. Exposition, way too much pointless and unused details. And just the sheer number of characters thrown on the pages, almost as if let's just see what sticks.

1. Bring in the stepmom for barely two page mention. Why didn't she get some control of the family business? And after Dad's illness we get another character as caretaker.
2. Not just a "we are being followed", but a silly throwaway about converting microwave to electrical energy?
3. "I am a skeptic because I'm a scientist" but really she's just a American reality TV "star".
4. Oooh, the house may be bugged so let's talk in a restaurant and in the garden. But using the house wifi, yes, that's secure.
5. Can we go more than five pages without "ah, soulmates"? Lost in time, together forever, blah, blah, blah. Until you actually get to the point of meh, who cares.
6. Foreshadowing and flashbacks both done with the subtle touch of a cast iron skillet.
7. I keep hearing "Mama, We're all Crazy Now" as the soundtrack.
8. I had a miserable life (but my brother turned out great), so I became the kind of person who goes up to stranger's children to tell them THE TRUTH about Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy. It's hard to having such an unlikable protagonist.
9. Let's see: the China "Chinese" guy & his girlfriend & prof & spy & friend/spy, the Paris Chinese girl & her father figure/boyfriend & company, the Paris police, the old and current Egyptologist (one actually being a perfumer), the nun/fiancée, the brother, the father figure/doctor, the really inept spies/mercenaries, the father, the dead mother, the grandparents & aunt, the stepmom, the caretaker, the Egyptian lovers and pursuers, the whole Dalai Lama organization, the fake Dalai Lama people (see previous) who also turn out to be brother's lover-whew, I think I caught most of the list.
10. Only Caucasians call them Triads, but that's what we will call ourselves only a few pages later and throughout the book??
11. 1798, Napolean goes to Egypt. ~1794, Reign of Terror ends. But girlfriend/nun/fiancée dies in the Terror AFTER dude dies in Egypt with Napolean. No evidence of blue British police box so far but would seem to be necessary to explain discrepancy.
12. Dude dies in Egypt but also brought back all this stuff - obelisk, jars, stories, etc. so far only 1 trip to Egypt defined. Brought, not shipped, brought back. Again, missing large blue box that's bigger on the inside.
13. Oh, wait. Not dead. Either of them. See #5, ad nasuem. And really, waltzes back into life in Paris after being dead in Egypt and even the family does not remember?
14. And of course, that free sample of perfume you were supposed to get if you pre-ordered the book. Never got it. Never got a response to the email either. Scamarama.

Yeah, really needed an editor.
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08/08/2014 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by M.J. (new)

M.J. If you didn't get a response to your email query its because we didn't get it. We would be happy to send the perfume sample again. Over 1000 were sent out and a few did go missing. Please email

message 2: by Rachel (new) - added it

Rachel That's so cool. Did you create a perfume special to go with the book? This book sounds good but as my friends have been reading the series I want to start with book one. I'll get to this one yet tho.

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