Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Book Review: The Book of Lost Fragrances by M.J. Rose

I'm very happy to be part of the Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for The Book of Lost Fragrances.  Today I am reviewing the book and on March 6, M.J. Rose will be here with a guest post about the historical fragrance.  The author has a special offer when you buy this book before March 1 (see below).

BookThe Book of Lost Fragrances (Reincarnationist #4) by M.J. Rose, Atria Books, March 2012, 416 pages.

A sweeping and suspenseful tale of secrets, intrigue, and lovers separated by time, all connected through the mystical qualities of a perfume created in the days of Cleopatra--and lost for 2,000 years.

Jac L'Etoile has always been haunted by the past, her memories infused with the exotic scents that she grew up surrounded by as the heir to a storied French perfume company. In order to flee the pain of those remembrances--and of her mother's suicide--she moved to America. Now, fourteen years later she and her brother have inherited the company along with it's financial problems. But when Robbie hints at an earth-shattering discovery in the family archives and then suddenly goes missing--leaving a dead body in his wake--Jac is plunged into a world she thought she'd left behind.

Back in Paris to investigate her brother's disappearance, Jac becomes haunted by the legend the House of L'Etoile has been espousing since 1799. Is there a scent that can unlock the mystery of reincarnation - or is it just another dream infused perfume?

The Book of Lost Fragrances fuses history, passion, and suspense, moving from Cleopatra's Egypt and the terrors of revolutionary France to Tibet's battle with China and the glamour of modern-day Paris. Jac's quest for the ancient perfume someone is willing to kill for becomes the key to understanding her own troubled past.

My Thoughts:
This was such a fun and provocative book to read!  I was drawn in by the rich details and discussion of art and perfume and reincarnation.  It was a book I could luxuriate in, yet there is also suspense, mystery and romance.  The first thing to note, however, is even though this book is part of a series, it can easily be read as a stand alone book.

There are so many layers to this book.  I love how so many diverse stories can come together:  Jac with her haunted past; Xie, a young Tibetan living in China; Valentine, part of the Chinese mafia in Paris; a young couple in ancient Egypt; and a young couple in revolutionary Paris.  Not only does Rose entwine their stories through reincarnation and scents, but also draws on the rich history and culture of each of these times and places.  Even though this might sound complicated, it works.  I'll admit that, at first, it was a little bit difficult for me to keep track of all of the stories, but the author clearly labels the chapters to help with this.  And each story is so distinct that, as you get to know the characters, it becomes easier to keep track of them as well as become invested in them.

Rose did a great job of developing her characters.  For example, I felt total sympanthy for Jac, but was also able to see her brother, Robbie's, point of view when they argued - I didn't know who I supported more.  They both had histories that brought them to where they were and these were brought out in the book.

There is so much history in this book - of perfume and perfume making, myth, politcs, and general history.  This comes off as authenticly and naturally.

And then there are the scents!  I've never read a book that relies so heavily on the sense of smell in its desciptions and plot and I found myself reacting to the smells described.  Some were wonderful and others were off putting, but all added another dimetention to the book.

The author also did a great job of creating tension and suspence as well as a bitter sweet romance.  She gave you just enough at the right moments that I could hardly put the book down, anxious to see what would happen next.  At the same time, the book had a meandery feel to it enriched with history and story telling.  I hope I'm explaining this well - I felt complelled to keep turning the pages, but didn't feel rushed.

I really enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it to those who like historical fiction.  My only crticisms are that I got confused a bit with all of the point of view shifts and there were a few times when I felt thigs got a bit repetative.  However, the rest of the book more than makes up for this, and I'll definitely be seeking out other books in this series.

Disclaimer:  I received a copy of this book from the Netgalley for review.

Discover the perfume inspired by The Book of Lost Fragrances

Pre-order The Book of Lost Fragrances by M.J. Rose and we'll send you a free sample of Âmes Soeurs, the Scent of Soulmates. This exclusive fragrance, inspired by the novel, was created by Joya Studios and is not yet for sale.  Joya’s Âmes Sœurs hints of Frankincense, Myrrh, Orange Blossom and Jasmine. It’s smoky uncommon finish suggests the past and the future, and lost souls reunited.

 Just use one of the links at and follow the directions there. 

Offer ends March 1, but pre-order now since we have a limited number of supplies! US and Canada only. 

To find out more:
Author Webpage


  1. What a great review! I have read almost everything rose has written and I believe this one is the best! And oh my gosh I WANT to smell the fragrance!

    1. I know, I spent most of the book wanting to smell the fragrance!!

  2. Thank you so much Coreena - for reading and blogging!! WHat a thoughtful review.

    1. No problem. I was happy for the opportunity to read the book!


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