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The Perfume Garden

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  1,754 ratings  ·  233 reviews
An acclaimed international bestseller, The Perfume Garden is a sensuously written story of lost love, family secrets—and the art of creating a perfect scent.

High in the hills of Valencia, a forgotten house guards its secrets. Untouched since Franco’s forces tore through Spain in 1936, the whitewashed walls have crumbled, and the garden, laden with orange blossom, grows wil
Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published April 7th 2015 by Thomas Dunne Books (first published 2012)
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3.77  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,754 ratings  ·  233 reviews

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Ashley Daviau
Jun 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved this book! I'm a big fan of historical fiction and it was refreshing to read a story set in a period I'm not familiar with. I'm also a big fan of family secrets and this book most definitely had heaps of that! I also quite enjoyed that it flipped from past to present, it made the book go by quite quickly. And I really enjoyed learning more about the art of perfume as it's something I know nothing about and have never encountered before in a book.
Apr 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed this one a lot! It's refreshing to read historical fiction set in a time period/event I'm not very familiar with like this one was. It's historical venue is mainly Valencia, Spain during the Spanish Civil War. The characters, both historical and modern, were interesting. I also appreciated that the modern story was set in 2001 and touched on something that is a defining moment for all of us living at that time. It's a book about strong women raising strong women. I love Liberty-- even th ...more
Seduced by the cover, cheated on by the book.
Oct 31, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Oh dear, I really wanted to like this book and the marketing blurb is terrific, just terrific.

But the writer fails to deliver the promise of the book.

Here we have the stage setting for a fab novel: Spain, war, drama, names and names...a house in the hills - and poor writing and craft let's it all go to waste.

If a writers gives us alternating chapters past and present - they cannot expect us to engage or root for the characters. And I didn't. I just didn't care by the end.

Super research - some s
I was tricked into reading this book by it's enticing cover and deceiving description. It promised to be a riveting read about survival, life and death in Spain during the revolution. Not having read many novels about the Spanish revolution (other than The Shadow of the Wind which was exemplary), I was excited to enjoy some historical fiction that hopefully had some facts sprinkled in.

Unfortunately, the dialogue was childish and the characters undeveloped. The protagonist Emma was annoying and b
May 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Good in parts.

Although this book opens brilliantly with a scene between the two famous war reporters that made up Robert Capa, it quickly degenerated to something rather mediocre, with chapters that were too short to really get the feel of the characters. With each chapter ending we switched again, either back to the Spanish Civil war of the 1930s, or forward to the modern day, 2001.
The historical section was fascinating and I learned a lot, but I felt that the 2001 thread was merely a tool by w
Jan 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
On the Hills of Valencia, a house with secrets, and a garden that is so beautiful described you can almost smell the aroma coming through the pages. This evocative debut is brilliant! Let’s not forget love, ties of family, loss and war. Powerfully written and the author honors the reader with an emotional setting, time period, wonderfully written characters…long after I read this novel I continued to think of Freya, Rosa, Macu, Liberty, Emma and Joe. They are forever stamped in my mind.

This is
Oct 24, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Judging from the title and the book's cover, you could be forgiven if you thought that this was a (excuse the pun) flowery romance novel.

But once you start reading, you'll realise that this book is deeper than that. It weaves between the past and the present, and shows how events are linked to the future. It is a tale of war-torn tragedy, family secrets, and heartbreak caused by lost dreams, and hopes. It also is about sacrifices that people make for their loved ones.

It is a very long book, bu
Susan Hebden
Feb 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very well written book. I never knew the atrocities that occurred during the Franco years in Spain. The characters are believable, the lives during the war are tragic.
WARNING: There are TWO DIFFERENT endings, depending on which edition you have! We read for book club and had a VERY lively discussion since we did not discover that fact until the night of book club! I did not like her earlier version ending, so I would definitely recommend getting an edition after 2012.
Kate Forsyth
A young woman inherits an old house in Spain, discovers clues to buried family secrets, meets a gorgeous Spaniard, and finds her true path in life ... interposed with flashbacks to her grandmother's work during the bloody and turbulent Spanish Civil War as a nurse ... this book is exactly the sort of book I love to read the most. And I did love it!
Jun 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was very good ! Kate Lord Brown just became an auto-buy author for me.

Review in progress.
Apr 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The first time I became aware of Kate Lord Brown was when I read Liz's review for her last book The Beauty Chorus. That story sounded amazing and since I've been fascinated by WWII since I was a little girl and my dad read me books set in that era, it seemed like something I'd love. While I still need to get my hands on a copy of The Beauty Chorus, when I was looking through Corvus' catalogue for my anticipated reads posts for the first half of this year, my eye was immediately caught by Lord Br ...more
Colleen Turner
I reviewed this book for

When Emma Temple's life seems to hit rock bottom the perfect opportunity to heal and start over presents itself when her mother bequeaths her a rundown villa in Valencia, Spain. Emma sets out to repair the home and her heart and possibly begin a new fragrance company using the local exotic scents, a skill and love she acquired from her mother. But Emma’s grandmother, Freya, and great-uncle, Charles, caution her not to go. Both are hiding secrets con
Emma Tingay
Jan 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At its heart, The Perfume Garden is a story of love, and loss and family. There is plenty of tragedy, but also romance. Emma Temple is the young heir to the perfume company “Liberty Temple”, named after her mother. After her ex-boyfriend is caught in the terrorist attacks of 9/11, and the death of her mother, Emma moves to Valencia, Spain. Her mother had bought “Villa del Valle” before she died, and had left it to Emma. She opens a florist shop, called “The Perfume Garden”, selling produce from ...more
Marguerite Kaye
This simply didn't work for me. I wanted to like it. The subject matter is one that really interests me, and I really enjoy novels that are set in two time periods. But for some reason, the characters simply switched me off, and I found the Dickensesque coincidences in the plot rather predictable than intriguing. I think above all, I found it difficult to believe in the characters. Luca came over as totally self-indulgent, as to an extent did Emma and her great uncle. Brining in 9/11 in the mode ...more
Jan 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just found the second best book i have ever read after Jane Eyre Is the perfume garden and i really want to thank you, kate for this great oportunitty. Really, thank you i was in love with this book first time i saw her, because of cover but now i know that it is much than a great cover. it is a beautigul story of a girl, Emma who came in an old house and she starts to discover secrets about her origin and her family. She discover that nothing it is what it seems. The story is a great one abou ...more
Jan 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Again, more a 3.5 but felt there was enough for me to elevate it to a 4. A well written, very well researched novel, with the depictions of the fall out of the Spanish Civil War on the local population being so well presented, it felt as if the author had witnessed these events herself. I found the storyline which centred around the Civil war the stronger of the two, probably because it had more depth, but others may well prefer the lighter modern day storyline which focused more on emotion. Sta ...more
Shana Elliott
Apr 15, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book a great deal! I went into reading this book with the expectation of it being a Spanish version of Under the Tuscan Sun but I was pleasantly surprised to find that the story had more grit, and a touch of actual history to it in regards to the Spanish Civil War(for you non-history people it happened right before WWII).

The only complaint I might find with the book is that the ending felt a bit rushed, and I would have liked to see the story line fleshed out a bit more about the
Katharine Ott
"The Perfume Garden" - written by Kate Lord Brown and published in 2012 by Atlantic Books. Family ties reach across the years from the 1930s in Spain where we get a serious dose of the atrocities of the Franco-fueled Civil War there, and the early 2000s also mostly in Spain where a grieving woman settles to have her fatherless baby and move on with her life. The sections taking place during that terrible infighting where half a million people were killed, many women and children, were eye-openin ...more
Denise Deen
Jul 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: beachbooks-2018
A very enjoyable read. The way the author wove together both stories -past and present- was gripping. I have never read much about Spain’s civil war which lead into WWII but learned a-lot about the way it tore this beautiful country apart. The descriptive narratives about the architecture and landscape makes me want to visit! Beautiful story!!
A intriguing read , as two stories from past and present entwined. I did not like Delilah , one of the most selfish characters I've ever read about.
this story focused on two very strong women , who I enjoyed reading about , and Kate Lord Brown told their story well.
Loved it!!
Oct 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you love Spain and all things Spanish, then this is definitely a novel for you! We were enchanted by the style that pulls the reader in and the wonderful evocations of Valencia both during and post Spanish Civil War and in the modern day.

Emma has just lost her Mother, Liberty, the founder of Liberty Temple perfumes. Emma has taken over the enterprise with now ex Joe, who has been ensnared by the third business partner Lila. A novel with depth, that explores relationships, life and family both
Apr 08, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is another book about the impact of the Spanish Civil War. It follows a variety of characters, English and Spanish. At the beginning of the book it quickly introduces several different settings, characters and time slots which I found at first to be confusing but they do become clearer as the story moves on.

Like Victoria Hislop's The Return, this book has 2 time placements, modern times and the period of the Spanish Civil War. As usual when an author does this I found one story more compell
Nov 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Perfume Garden – Valencia – Kate Lord Brown

Full booktrail with map Booktrail of the Perfume Garden

For a novel that evokes all the senses – a story of the Spanish Civil war, a perfume Garden and a woman looking for answers

Place and setting

The setting of the novel is both heartbreaking and poignant since the legacy of the past comes back to haunt Emma as she attempts to revive her grandmother’s house where she stayed during the Civil War. The whitewashed walls contain secrets and unspoken word
Jun 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This book left me heartbroken. When I started reading it I could not put it down.
The story weaves back and forth in time, from present day Valencia to war time Spain in the 1930's. The lead voice for the present day was Emma, and the voice of the 1930's was Freya , Emma's grandmother.
When Emma's mother Liberty dies she leaves Emma letters and a key to a abandoned villa in Spain.
Emma's grandmother worked in Spain during war time as a nurse and by going there Emma begins to learn more about all th
Paula Sealey
Set in Spain during the civil war of the 1930's, The Perfume Garden travels between Valencia then and now. Perfumier Emma decides to leave her home in London after her divorce and settle in a house in Valencia owned by her late mother. There, she meets Luca and unravels details of the houses past occupants and ties with her family members.

This book took a little while to get into and I couldn't quite grasp who was who during the beginning, so the first chapter or two dragged a bit for me, but af
Nazanin Rizvi
This book wasn't bad, but it wasn't that great.

I think the plot was okay, and it was interesting to read a book which referenced so much to the Spanish Civil War - I had previously never read anything on it, so it was interesting to see how the British helped, how the Spanish citizens were affected, and how Spanish people were still affected to this day.

The relationships between the characters for me felt forced. I think that as the book was quite large and there was quite a lot of plot to get t
Jul 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways
I enjoyed this book very much. I thought it was a bit slow to start and it did take me a while to get used to the short chapters which alternated between 1936 and 2001. Each chapter, being so short gave only a little snapshot of the story, but this did make me want to rush onto the next chapter.
This book is a mixture of war and romance and I can definitely recommend reading it.

*I won this book as a Goodreads giveaway*
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Play Book Tag: The Perfume Garden - Kate Lord Brown - 4 Stars 2 11 Aug 05, 2016 08:37AM  
Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 2 Jun 03, 2015 01:37PM  

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Kate grew up in the wild and beautiful Devon countryside. After studying philosophy at Durham University and art history at the Courtauld Institute of Art, Kate gained a MA in Creative Writing. In 2016 THE HOUSE OF DREAMS will be published in the US, and THE TASTE OF SUMMER in the UK.
“Perfume is the key to our memories” 34 likes
“Your home is within you, you carry your place in the world.” 9 likes
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