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Madame Mirabou's School of Love

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  474 ratings  ·  50 reviews
Sometimes real passion means living the life you’ve always wanted.

Nicole Bridges still can’t believe she’s taken up residence in a Colorado apartment complex nicknamed “Splitsville.” She’s still reeling from her husband’s affair, a divorce she never saw coming, and having to leave the upscale, comfortable world she helped make for her ex and their teenage daughter. With li
Paperback, 320 pages
Published March 28th 2006 by Ballantine Books (first published 2006)
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3.88  · 
Rating details
 ·  474 ratings  ·  50 reviews

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Jeanne Adamek
Mar 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
From another author this story probably wouldnt have been for me. What makes Barbara Samuel/Barbara ONeal so special is that she always has characters whos passions (this time perfumes) take the story in a whole new direction... ...more
DeAnna Knippling
Jun 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Okay, this book avoided most of the things that annoy me about a romantic female lead:

--Comfortably well-off
--Unaware of the world around them
--Careful about offending nobody (unless it's people who don't like sass)
--Yet inordinately brave

Plus, one of the major themes of the book was about assembling perfumes, and I totally geeked out on that.

Smart, painful, funny, broke, overweight and still sexy, dark in spots, fragile in others, and a love scene at the end (it irks m
Roberta Andrews
Dec 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this so much. it was perfect light reading for a day at home nursing a slight cold. I love how the women band together, mostly do the right thing, forgive when necessary. I love that the main character is 40ish, plump and still beautiful, I loved the setting in the mountains of Colorado, enjoyed the sexy parts, and the cat and the perfumes and even Nikki's fear of spiders.
Nov 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Barbara O'Neal made me want to move to this place and befriend some of the characters!
Lorie Mcmillin
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
What a fun read. A divorcee finds friendship, a lover, her sense of self, and a lifelong dream of opening her own perfume store!
Elizabeth Butcher
Dec 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Don't let the title fool you; it doesn't truly reflect the narrative of this book at all.

My rating is 3.5 stars.

I had a hard time putting this quick read down. I was intrigued by the sensory aspect of this book. Nikki has had a love of perfume and scents all her life, and each chapter opens with notes on blending a perfume to reflect a specific time or person in her life. Not only still recovering from her divorce, she has to re-establish her life after her home is destroyed after a faulty furn
Nov 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
Thought it'd be so different.

I have only read one other Barbara Samuel Book, Night of Fire, which I absolutely loved. While I knew this wasn't a historical, I thought I'd like the story. I didn't.

This was too depressing, even with some good things happening. I also don't like lots of F words, both C words and others in my stories. I thought this would be a nice, sweet story-not sickeningly, but a good one, but it was just too dark and left me feeling cold.

I have another book of hers ready to re
Oct 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Chaos, broken pieces, fractured hearts-the aftermath of divorce. This book is about how you move to the other side, pick up the pieces and build anew. On the way, you learn something about healing and the craft of making perfume. The author knows a lot about scents and smells and how you experience life and can make you smell the complexity of that life. People, scents, living make this book a good read.
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Barbara O'Neal, and I’m working my way through everything she’s written. I loved Nikki’s story arc, how she learned and grew, and was sad when the book ended because I wanted to spend more time in her world. I loved getting a glimpse into the perfume world, and now desperately want to visit Colorado (though every one of her books makes me want to visit CO!)
Janet Friesner

Had a hard time relating to the characters in this book. Story was okay. Would never reread this one. Have really liked others she wrote.

Lisa La Rue
Jul 30, 2017 rated it it was ok
Well written and super fun to with all the local references to Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs. Outside of that, is a pretty pedestrian romance novel full of bitter divorcées.
Aug 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Just love love love Barbara Samuel's characters!!!
Apr 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
What do you do when your husband leaves you, the divorce is final, and basically all you get is the house that you subconsciously don’t want? You ignore the fact that the furnace needs repaired and let it blow up. Then you move to an apartment complex lovingly referred to as Splitsville by the tenants. So begins Madame Mirabou’s School of Love.

But if the title gives you visions of the female tenants of the complex receiving words of wisdom from a perpetually happily married matriarch while they
Mar 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
Scent of Hours
This is the story of a recently divorced woman named Nikki, who tries to find her way in the world while feeling bitter and bewildered. After (accidentally) blowing up her house, she moves to an apartment complex she dubs "Splitsville," and makes new friends. Her ex-husband and teenaged daughter are in London, living with his new wife.

Nikki's passion is perfume. Each chapter opens with notes from a journal she's kept all her life, outlining various scents and feelings brought abou
Apr 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult
I listened to this on cd and, altho, it isn't something I would ever pick up on my own (a friend lent it to me as I was between audio books), I thoroughly enjoyed it! Nikki Bridges, recently divorced and still reeling from the impact of it, moves to an apt. complex, called Splitsville." Everybody there seems to be going thru some kind of trauma and she meets up with some pretty eccentric folks. Nikki needs a job and waitressing is a far cry from her plushy, upscale existence in the Colorado subu ...more
Jul 29, 2013 rated it liked it
I just finished reading this book. The title does not suit the book very well, nor does the back's information. The story is about a recently divorced woman in her young forties who is having a hard time adjusting to her newly single life. She does not have much work experience and now needs to find a job and a place to live after she accidentally blew up her house. She realizes she can start dating, but she believes it is awkward for a woman in her forties to date. The book gets interesting whe ...more
May 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
I really like this book. Nikki moved into an apartment complex called Splitsville because of the high rate of divorced people who lived there. There she learns more about herself, her marriage, and how to proceed with living a life different from what she envisioned. She meets two women who have a profound effect on her because the three of them become friends. And, more importantly, she learns how to rely on herself and trust her judgement.

I think Samuel's books are good ones for teaching we wo
May 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
At first this book sounds like a sanppy romance, because of the title and yet, it's so not! I loved the story line and (SPOILER ALERT!) the use of recipes for her perfumes. I love using oils and making my own fragrances and this book spoke to me, and how Nikki uses her gift of knowing what fragrance works for each person was great. It's a easy paced read, and one that you can put down and yet still I wanted to know how it ended, what happens to Nikki? and her daughter? and does she end up with N ...more
Jan 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book. Not sure why to be honest with ya. I loved the setting (Colorado).

I guess the whole notion of starting over and doing what you really want is just very inspiring. True, she was forced to do it, but still, she did it, and she had the opportunity to do it.

I don't like the title though. I doesn't really make sense, since Madame Mirabou wasn't really the main character, and she didn't teach anybody anything about love. It should have been called "Scent of Hours", I think.
girl writing
Jan 09, 2011 rated it it was ok
Barbara Samuel is one of my favorite authors. None of her books has disappointed me and this book did not. While Samuel's books tend to end on a positive note, the characters are realistic and not everything is tied up in a neat little bow. The theme of her books is women facing negative things that have happened to them, rebuilding lives and the importance and power of female friendship. I feel like I've been out to a girls happy hour each time I read her books. I'm not very literary so I don't ...more
Aug 18, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio, own, 2015
Like many of Barbara Samuel's books, this one leaves me wanting to know more about what happened after the story.

The main topic is the aftermath of divorce. All the different points of view of what happen after a family is torn apart by divorce are explored in this book even though the main character's story is primary.
Simone Collins
The book is, on the whole, fluffy and indulgent, just as I hoped it would be... but REALLY... do we HAVE to hear about this woman's sexual fixations? I mean, COME ON. Sure, I tend to favor g-rated books, but... does ANYONE enjoy reading that kind of stuff?
Whatever. Will not rant, as those paragraphs are few and far between, but I SWEAR they get me to exhibit the most contorted expressions of disdain and disgust... what if my face gets STUCK that way??? I'll SUE!
Sep 14, 2014 rated it liked it
Grabbed this on a whim even though I'm not a fan of romance novels. I kept listening to the end because the story took place in my home town & I could picture all the places mentioned in the book. That was fun. (Can't believe the main character blew up a house on Wood Ave. Wood Ave!! Where every house is huge, historic & gorgeous. I haven't met anyone here that wouldn't give a lesser-used appendage to live on Wood Ave.)
Tamanda Elia
Aug 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
I really love all of Barbara Samuel's books. this was no different. She has an ability to set up landscapes, locations and characters in such a colorful and effective way. I also appreciate her descriptions of the characters emotional states. It is a great book if you want to read something about emotions and hope.
Oct 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I personally love this author because she is from the Pueblo area!!!! All of her books that I have read have taken place in Colorado. This is a book about a woman coming into herself in her 40s after her divorce. Great Book!!!
Jul 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
Sometimes you just have to take a chance and live life. All Barbara Samuels characters are on the road to self discovery. I want to write like her one day.
Oct 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book is not really about Madame Mirabou or her school of love - it's about a woman finding herself again after divorce. I enjoyed going on the journey with her, especially with her unique sense of smell. It made me want my own custom perfume!
Sep 04, 2008 rated it liked it
Girly fun--exploring new beginnings. If you're a divorcee or know one, this book will cheer you and give you a realistic view of life on the other side.
Oct 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
For anyone who has had their heart broken, this is a wonderful story about recovery and healing. I have enjoyed this Barbara Samuel novel in particular. It speaks to me about a resilient human spirit, and people moving on.
Jan 07, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: women on vacation
Shelves: fiction
Just finished this book - it was surprisingly good. I tend to veer away from contemporary fiction aimed at women - so much of it seems plasticky and gross. This was pretty good, though - a quick but thoughtful read. Good for vacations - I got through most of it on a 4-hour plane trip.
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Barbara Samuel is a multiple RITA award-winning author with more than 38 books to her credit in a variety of genres. She has written historical and contemporary romances, a number of fantasy novellas with the likes of Susan Wiggs, Jo Beverley and Mary Jo Putney. She now writes women’s fiction about families, dogs, and food as Barbara O’Neal.

Her work has captured a plethora of awards, including six
“The sweet potato salad from Spoonbread & Strawberry Wine.” 0 likes
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