The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro-a review

THE PERFUME COLLECTOR by Kathleen Tessaro-a review

The Perfume Collector / / Barnes and Noble / KOBO / The Book Depository

ABOUT THE BOOK: Released May 2013

London, 1955: Grace Monroe is a young newlywed, eager to make a success of her marriage. However, with her intellectual curiosity and her unladylike talent for advanced mathematics, she finds the routine of elegant luncheons and exclusive parties among post-war London’ s social set more tiresome than exciting.

When Grace receives an unexpected inheritance from a woman she’ s never met, she finds herself suddenly in Paris, embarking upon a journey to discover not only the identity of her mysterious benefactor but also the hidden secrets of her own past.

In a story that takes us from New York in the 1920s to mid-century Monte Carlo, Paris and London, Grace discovers a world filled with the evocative, intoxicating power of perfume; an obsessive, desperate love between muse and artist; and a trail of dark memories that may mean she isn’t the person she thinks she is at all.


REVIEW: THE PERFUME COLLECTOR is a fictional storyline that covers a tumultuous time in the lives of two women: Grace Monroe is a newly married woman in the 1950s whose sole purpose is to support her husband at social events and business parties. The other is Eva-a young teen in the 1920s who will learn first hand that there are people willing to take advantage of a naïve and innocent girl. And in the end, lives will be destroyed, reputations ruined and one woman will discover that her entire life has been a lie. Starting over will bring about a new set of ideals and revelations where she will discover the real person inside. The Perfume Collector is one woman’s story of self-discovery and independence brought about by a stranger with a gift and a story that has yet to be told.

We follow Grace as she embarks on a journey that will question the direction of her current life. When an unexpected inheritance from a stranger is thrust into her possession, Grace sets out to uncover the mystery surrounding the money and the woman from whom it was bequeathed. Most of the storyline premise is told in flashbacks and recollections from two specific eras.

The storyline alternates smoothly between the 1920s and 1954; New York to London to Paris. Eva is a young girl, barely a teen, who must grow up quickly when life presents many opportunities and choices. She will find herself in debt to a man who neither loves her nor wants her, but a man who is in desperate need of something only Eva can supply. Hoping to repay the debt, Eva learns that she has lost so much more than her freedom but herself. This particular part of the storyline is darker in content and premise.

The character and world building are fluid and reflects the ideals and beliefs/emotions of the eras. Kathleen Tessaro pulls the reader into a storyline that tantalizes the senses: from sight and sound to the scents of rain and seduction-you can almost smell the very essence of the perfume. We watch as two women grow into themselves but one will eventually lose the battle when the sins of the past catch up rather quickly.

The Perfume Collector is a well-written, colorful storyline with a predictable plot but one that will keep your interest until the very end. The story builds on the premise of Grace’s hunt for information regarding the woman who named her as soul beneficiary and heir to a large estate. Along the way, we are introduced to a number of characters from past and present whose very existence has affected Grace’s life in 1954 and the one woman who is able to connect the timelines and stories together.

Copy supplied by the publisher.

Reviewed by Sandy


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