The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro

Monday, September 23, 2013


“Perfume should tell a story – the story of who you are, who you might be, perhaps even of who you fear becoming… all of these things are possible. It’s a very intimate element of a woman, just like her signature or the sound of her voice. And it conveys feelings and states of being that have no name, no language. Its very ambiguity makes it truer than words because, unlike words, it can’t be manipulated or misunderstood.”

The Perfume Collector is not all about perfumes or the history of perfumes. It’s about two women and their life journey, about their dreams and hopes. With fascinating details about perfumes, the story reveals the beginning, the middle and the end of the life story of Eva D'Orcey. Being married to a loathsome man, Grace Munroe attempts to find her true self. Without her knowledge she takes a huge part in the story of Eva D’Orcey.

Eva is a beautiful, charming and intelligent woman. She has a good sense of finance and business. She is always wonderful and very talented. Grace is more believable character to me with her own flaws. I enjoyed little conversations and scenes between Grace and Monsieur Tissot.

I felt the natural scent of Eva when I was turning the pages towards the end of the book. The descriptions of three perfumes as well as the other perfumes are simply awesome; I could almost smell all those scents. Being a huge admirer of perfumes and scent, the idea of having a special perfume just for myself fascinated me.

The story switches between two timeframes of Eva and Grace. Even though I am not a fan of the dual narrative style, Tessaro managed to articulate this ordinary story evocatively. The plot line is very ordinary and not surprising at all. However, The Perfume Collector is more about the journey than the destination. I knew from the beginning where the story would end up though I enjoyed that journey very much to the end.

Some Quotes from The Perfume Collector;

"We try and fail, like archers who aim for the target but fall short of the mark...When you are older and have swum out into the stream of life, you'll see -- there are no "good" people, little girl. We're all trying and failing, trying too hard and failing too often. Remember that. We shouldn't judge too harshly, in the end, the sins of others.”

"Scent memory is incredibly personal, very private experience."

“Fragrance is an aspiration. A goal. Not just a tool of seduction but of power and status.”

My Rating: 3 out of 5


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