#402 ~ The Book of Lost Fragrances

The Book of Lost Fragrances by M.J. Rose

Published by: Atria Books

Published on: March 13, 2012

Page Count: 384

Genre: Historical Fiction/Mystery

My Reading Format: eGalley provided by the publisher in order to participate in the book tour

Available Formats: Hardcover, eBook and Audiobook

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour
Welcome to my very first Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour event. I’m very pleased to host M.J. Rose today as I review her latest novel, The Book of Lost Fragrances. Be sure to come back on Thursday for a guest post from the author!

About the Author

M.J. Rose is the international best selling author of eleven novels and two non-fiction books on marketing. Her next novel The Book of Lost Fragrances (Atria/S&S) will be published in March 2012.  Her fiction and non-fiction has appeared in many magazines and reviews including Oprah Magazine. She has been featured in the New York Times, Newsweek, Time, USA Today and on the Today Show, and NPR radio.  Rose graduated from Syracuse University, spent the ’80s in advertising, has a commercial in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC and since 2005 has run the first marketing company for authors –Authorbuzz.com.  The television series Past Life, was based on Rose’s novels in the Renincarnationist series. She is one of the founding board members of International Thriller Writers and runs the blog- Buzz, Balls & Hype.  She is also the co-founder of Peroozal.com and BookTrib.com.

Rose lives in CT with her husband the musician and composer, Doug Scofield, and their very spoiled and often photographed dog, Winka.

For more information on M.J. Rose and her novels, please visit her website. You can also find her on Facebook.

About The Book of Lost Fragrances

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 Review

The Book of Lost Fragrances is an ambitious novel that follows a thread beginning with Cleopatra and ending in modern time. Although there are several couples along the way, the main characters are those living in modern time. Jac and Robbie are sister and brother and are the current generation leading the House of L’Etoile, a French perfume company. It’s seen its better days and they disagree about how best to handle the finacial crisis. Meanwhile in China, Xie, a gifted calligrapher is biding his time in university waiting for an opportunity to meet the Dalai Lama and let him know that he is the lama who was kidnapped by the Chinese government in a ploy to destroy the Buddhist tradition in Tibet. As these story lines come together, the ties that bind them together become more clear. At the same time, the danger for all involved grows.

Could a scent truly put a person in a state where he or she remembers things that took place in past lives? I fell into Jac’s more cynical camp especially as the novel began. I do not believe in reincarnation. The most I’ve ever really thought about it was when my Dad’s mother joked in the car one day that if there is such a thing as reincarnation she prayed she came back as someone with a decent singing voice. That being said, as the story continued, I remembered just how powerful the sense of smell really is. Two years ago my brother sent me a tin for Christmas that was sealed with packing tape. We exchange gifts over the phone and when I opened that tin and smelled the beer battered peanuts that were inside, I instantly began crying. That same grandmother who joked about reincarnation made those peanuts every year for Christmas. It had been 13 years since she passed away, but in that moment when the smell hit me, she was with me again. I can’t deny the power of scent.

This book was an adventure from the beginning. After establishing the principle characters in the modern setting, it was a race for truth and for the future. Although I did feel that Jac almost enjoyed her scars from the past, I related to her straightforward approach toward Robbie and his dream of the lost fragrance. At the same time, it was Jac’s hesitancy that made me ultimately hope that things would turn out Robbie’s way in the end. I very much respected his zeal and wished his past shared equal weight with Jac’s.

I’ve wanted to read a M.J. Rose for a while because so many readers I trust have enjoyed her Reincarnationist series. After finishing The Book of Fragrances, I want to read her series even more. In addition to an interesting story, I thought the ending was just as it should have been. The best interests were served well without any type of fairy tale ending. While I felt that the story was finished, it really hasn’t been over. I’ve enjoyed letting my imagination follow Xie into his future.  I enjoyed my first  M.J. Rose experience. I would especially recommend The Book of Lost Fragrances to those who enjoy mysteries with a paranormal twist. I think you’ll like it.




  • At 2012.02.21 01:48, Kailana said:

    I have heard lots of things about this author, but never read anything. I believe I have a couple books on my TBR pile though.

    • At 2012.02.21 09:25, Jennifer said:

      I would definitely give her a try. Fun reading.

    • At 2012.02.21 06:58, sagustocox said:

      This is my favorite in the series. I just loved this book. Good review, and I’m glad that you gave this one a try!

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      • At 2012.02.21 09:29, Jennifer said:

        Wasn’t it a fun read? What was your favorite part? I think the section in the catacombs was a lot of fun.

        • At 2012.02.22 12:49, sagustocox said:

          I always love those sections with underground catacombs….one of the reasons I loved Phantom of the Opera so much. It also reminded me of The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry where they are under the city of Salem. I really just loved the connections between all of the characters and how they were revealed slowly. The relationship between Robbie and one of the characters was a total surprise to me.

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      • At 2012.02.21 08:07, Sandy said:

        I read two of her Reincarnation books, and while the history in them was interesting, they turned out feeling a little Scooby Doo-ish, or maybe DaVinci Code-ish, with clues and alot of running around. So I wasn’t all that impressed. That being said, I did get a copy of this one at SIBA and the publisher spoke highly of it, so I may pick it up at some point…

        • At 2012.02.21 09:34, Jennifer said:

          I’ve never read The DaVinci Code before, but while I was reading this book, I felt to me like what I imagine The DaVinci Code must have been like. I thought this book was fun. I did think that Jac depended too much on her emotional problems, but otherwise I found this book enjoyable.

        • At 2012.02.21 09:46, sarah P said:

          Comparing Rose to Brown – her characters are so much more complex and compelling compared to his . But then I didn’t like DVC and I’ve loved all hers.

          • At 2012.02.21 09:50, bermudaonion (Kathy) said:

            I do enjoy mysteries, but I’m not so sure about the paranormal twist. Glad you enjoyed this so much!

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            • At 2012.02.21 09:53, Mary said:

              Loved your review – especially your story of your brother’s Christmas gift. I can relate to that as well. Sounds like a good book!

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