April 3, 2012

The Scent of Mystery • The Book of Lost Fragrances

The Book of Lost Fragrances book cover
The Book of Lost Fragrances by M.J. Rose
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: March 13, 2012
Source/Format: Netgalley (Thanks!) || e-galley
[I received this from the publisher. This in no way affects the contents of my review.]

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?

It's been quite a while since I've read a book that inspired a particularly thrilling feeling coupled with an intriguing premise. THE BOOK OF LOST FRAGRANCES takes the reader on a one of a kind adventure, with hints of mythology, family and, well, scent. Reminiscent of The Da Vinci Code in a certain light, readers will surely find the plot imaginative and interesting.

The Story

This story features a number of things that I found particularly appealing to me on a personal level - the concept of fragrance/scent, hints of mythology and some thrilling scenes of action and intrigue.

I've never had a particular nose for fragrances; I'm just the kind of person who knows exactly what I enjoy smelling and what I don't. It was extremely fascinating for me to be able to read about a family whose history lies completely in the arena of creating fragrances, as well as the bits of mythology and history about the processes involved in doing so. A number of scents and even specific ingredients were named in the novel - and you can be sure that I'm highly intrigued by the idea of finding these scents and smelling them for myself in real life.

I love mythology. And to see the bits of Egyptian mythology (one of my favorites, but one I encounter very rarely in the novels I read) interspersed in the tale was particularly pleasing. Though there was not too much mention, I thought it added a touch of imagination and an even more weighty history to the tale.

And of course, the action was just enough for me. There was enough danger, people of suspicious nature, secrets and "situations" to suit me. These scenes helped make the book even more exciting to read, as well as turning it into a bit of a thriller.

Even though the chapters jumped from one time period to the next and often changed point of view, I still found the story easy to follow. Instead of making me confused, seeing all these different points of view and the stories they had made me more intrigued to find out how they would all tie up together in the end.

Personally, I say you should...

Read this novel if you enjoy adventure based on an interesting, intelligent premise. It reminds me somewhat of Dan Brown novels, but THE BOOK OF LOST FRAGRANCES is a beauty that stands out for it's uniqueness and well-plotted tale. M.J. Rose certainly kept me guessing and interested in this spellbinding tale from beginning to end.


  1. Great review! I liked this one, too, and I'm not too into mystery books. I would say it's definitely like Dan Brown! I loved all the Egyptian mythology, too ... and the smells! I loved the smells ... I'm like you, I know what I like, but I don't have the best nose. It was neat to read about a family with such great noses. :)

  2. Great review Alexa - I like the sound of this :)

  3. Excellent review, Alexa. Scents can evoke a very strong reaction from me so I bet a novel about scents could do the same!

  4. It really was. I thought the scent as an integral part of the story was pretty fun!


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