One letter will turn newly married Grace Munroe's life upside down: 'Our firm is handling the estate of the deceased Mrs Eva D'Orsey and it is our duty to inform you that you are named as the chief beneficiary in her will. We request your presence at our offices at your earliest convenience, so that we may go through the details of your inheritance.' There is only one problem. Grace has never heard of Eva D'Orsey.
So begins a journey which leads Grace through the streets of Paris and into the seductive world of perfumers and their muses. An abandoned perfume shop on the Left Bank will lead her to unravel the heartbreaking story of her mysterious benefactor, an extraordinary woman who bewitched high society in 1920s New York and Paris.
A secret history of scent, memory, and desire from the Sunday Times best-selling author of Elegance and The Debutante.
©2013 Kathleen Tessaro (P)2013 AudioGO Ltd
Well written novel. Engaging and sensual...
I would have loved to keep on listening to it for a few more hours!
One of the top for its style. It’s not just perfume that is being collected in Kathleen Tessaro’s The Perfume Collector; it’s the collection of memories that are the ultimate prize in this interwoven tale of two women’s choices. If there is a novel that is a must read, this book is it.
The narrator Laurel Lefkow is some you can listen to all day. A calm and descriptive voice and with this wonderful story.
The writing style is beautiful and it is easy to get caught up in the lives of Grace and Eva. Both women will captivate you, most especially Eva who comes from the most humble upbringings. Most of these guests are flamboyant types and it’s good fun reading about their antics while staying in the hotel. Eva isn’t supposed to talk to the guests, but she does make some life-long friends there.
There is a really good sense of place and time. I especially loved hearing about the hotel where Eva worked and about the perfume shop. The story is build up well, and I couldn’t stop reading and finding more about Eva and about Grace’s search for Eva’s history.
What a gem of a book! I enjoyed this elegant sad story and think that here Kathleen Tessaro is at her best. She always writes in a very beautiful language, that transports the reader into different time like by magic.
Eva’s story is enormously compelling – from a New York hotel to the casinos of Monte Carlo – her associations with the gambler Lord Lambert and the perfumer Madam Zed and her apprentice Andre, Eva is a revealed as a passionate, resourceful woman, deeply caring, her life revolving round her one great obsession, her story is a sad one. I loved Eva’s story, and found myself trying desperately to stay up late to hear more of it – I was pretty sure I knew where the story was going, and I think there will be few surprises for readers of this novel, yet it still a wholly satisfying and readable novel – despite the predictable aspects of it.
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This was a thoroughly enjoyable novel. It was human, gentle, very intriguing -- and altogether rewarding.
The plot was beautifully crafted: stories of different individuals in different times and places, skilfully melded together against the background of the science, emotions and creativity involved in creating perfumes.
"Hard to put down"
I have listened to this book whilst on a 2 day quiet break away - doing nothing except listening to this book (reading another) and walking the dogs. I have found it absolutely fascinating and extremely well read with the narrator managing many different accents (some of which were only subtly different) so that you are always absolutely sure of the character you are listening to. The switches between time and place are perfectly done and the ending is just right. Born in the 50's I view myself as lucky not to have grown up in that decade - and this book really does bring home just how absolutely stifling it must have been. Whilst this is definitely a book for women rather than men it is not overtly sentimental and has a very strong storyline and characters. Excellent.
I am really enjoying this book. The concept is a tried and tested one secret past resolves future. My only niggle is the accents French and English make sense but the American is loud and brash in comparison to them. It somehow jars the ear throughout. I have still rated it a 5* because it unfolds beautifully
"A good story"
It's a good story - a little slow in places but worth the time!
I enjoyed the heroine's character
She told the story well - she did make it come alive well.
"Throughly good story"
I really enjoyed the way the book bounced between eras as the story unfolded. The author described the two eras particularly well and the narrator was able to use different character voices to be evocative of the respective eras. The story is essentially a traditional drama of time catching up with it's characters but the author's idea of setting it around traditional perfume making made this story so much more interesting. I love scents and perfume and found her descriptions captivating. At the time of listening to this audio book I was painting the guest bedroom, so it was lovely to have beautiful scents being described to help block out the real smell of paint VOC's!
This is not a gripping story, nor I think is it meant to be; in fact you sort of know where it's heading right from the beginning but that doesn't really matter too much as the unfolding story is really very enjoyable and atmospheric of the times. The main characters are very likeable (sometimes I find the main characters annoying in female fiction).
Having listened to quite a few audio books now, I would say that this narrator is one of the better ones I've listened to. She has different voices for the different characters and you can tell the difference between them - she even does the male voices well. She sounds like she is acting not just reading, taking breathes in all the correct place and placing emphasis on the words you would expect emphasis to be placed. A great job.
It was all enjoyable but I loved the scene where the shop in Paris, the perfume apothecary, is described. I would like to spend an afternoon in that shop!
Wouldn't that be giving the plot away?
Exceptionally enjoyable to listen to whilst decorating. Romantic without the usual modern day trend towards 'bonk buster' narrative. A great vintage drama and I would recommend to anyone who enjoys an escapist non-taxing novel. Light the scented candles, heat up the hot chocolate and curl up on the sofa ... or paint the guest bedroom.
Set in London, Paris and New York this is one for the daydreamer and the romantic. The story is full of nostalgia as well as mystery.
I found it increasingly difficult to put the story down. Totally brilliant story line and read so well by Laurel Lefkow. Thank you
"A solid 4 stars"
I had many moments in this book when it just flowed so well, the story moved with pace, the narration was right, I wanted to get back to it. Then there were just a few moments when something jarred - an odd bit of dialogue or a passage of narration that didn't quite work. But these were not enough to lose more than 1 star. It is a solid 4 star book.
The main characters get about equal billing and they both work quite well, though the transformations they both undergo (in very different ways) did seem rather sudden in both cases. But I liked both the characters a lot and cared about them. The other players were also well sketched, mainly.
The plot is fantastically unreal and that's what I loved about it! It was transporting and glamorous and heady. I love stories set in the 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s and with the device of 2 time zones, 1 for each main character, I got the lot.
Pure escapism. Not deep, not empty-headed either. Not taxing or horribly upsetting, but nor is it rubbishy literature. I passed a happy 4 days in its company.
"The perfume collector"
I really enjoyed listening to this book . I felt the narrator managed the French / English accents well
I enjoyed the changes in years and between Paris and New York
She had a very peaceful voice that didnt grate
Not possible due to my other commitments
Very enjoyable first book from audible that I would listen to again
"Strong storyline that pulls you in..."
Great audiobook from Tessaro, loved the beautiful descriptions of 20's Paris and could almost smell the perfume....
Laurel Lefkow really made the novel come alive. Great audiobook, thanks Audible!
This was a good bedtime listen, story was interesting and made me smell perfume in a different way.
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