The Perfume Collector

A Novel
Narrated by: Heather Wilds
Length: 12 hrs and 6 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (2,187 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

An inheritance from a mysterious stranger...< /p>

An abandoned perfume shop on the Left Bank of Paris...

And three exquisite perfumes that hold a memory...and a secret.

London, 1955: Grace Monroe is a fortunate young woman. Despite her sheltered upbringing in Oxford, her recent marriage has thrust her into the heart of London's most refined and ambitious social circles. However, playing the role of the sophisticated socialite her husband would like her to be doesn't come easily to her; and perhaps never will.

Then one evening a letter arrives from France that will change everything. Grace has received an inheritance. There's only one problem: she has never heard of her benefactor, the mysterious Eva d'Orsey.

So begins a journey that takes Grace to Paris in search of Eva. There, in a long-abandoned perfume shop on the Left Bank, she discovers the seductive world of perfumers and their muses, and a surprising, complex love story. Told by invoking the three distinctive perfumes she inspired, Eva d'Orsey's story weaves through the decades, from 1920s New York to Monte Carlo, Paris, and London.

But these three perfumes hold secrets. And as Eva's past and Grace's future intersect, Grace realizes she must choose between the life she thinks she should live and the person she is truly meant to be.

Illuminating the lives and challenging times of two fascinating women, The Perfume Collector weaves a haunting, imaginative, and beautifully written tale filled with passion and possibility, heartbreak and hope.

©2013 Kathleen Tessaro (P)2014 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic Reviews

"[L]ush, descriptive imagery and admirable authenticity.... [A] bewitching, compelling novel, full of dark desires, long-buried secrets, revisited memories, and new opportunities." ( Booklist)
"A colorful, stimulating journey through time." ( Kirkus Reviews)
"Dazzles the senses." ( Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about The Perfume Collector

Average Customer Ratings
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I Loved It

Would you listen to The Perfume Collector again? Why?

Perhaps, as there were some complexities; but more likely I will not listen to it again.

Which character – as performed by Heather Wilds – was your favorite?

Overall many aspects of Eva were admirable.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Near the end where Grace wants to spend some time with the lawyer and describes how she'd like that time to be.

Any additional comments?

I quite loved this book, which I may have gotten as an audible.com daily deal. Having listened to it, any misspellings or grammatical errors that others (in "goodreads") are complaining about slipped by me. I’d never thought much about perfume formulas, especially since these days—at least in California—wearing perfumes in public is frowned upon. Still, when younger and perfume was in vogue, I wore and cared about my share. So I read the book. Not searching for “likes”, I’ll just give it a 4.5—>5 rating, as I thoroughly enjoyed The Perfume Collector. I liked the little bit of history, the observations about French vs. English cuisines, relationships, personal growth. I certainly lost some sleep to my compulsion to listen.

21 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Well written and the performance hypnotic.

Where does The Perfume Collector rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

One of my top two.

What did you like best about this story?

The world woven around the world of scent. We are sensual beings in a brutal world and yet in this story I felt hypnotized with the descriptions of how perfumes are developed, how the essences are collected and the world created to tell the story.

What does Heather Wilds bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

She has a wonderful voice and her cadence, tempo and voice nuances made me look for other books she has performed.

If you could rename The Perfume Collector, what would you call it?

I wouldn't. It's the perfect title.

Any additional comments?

I really loved that it was a mystery which made me think as well as act upon. I've stated wearing perfume more often and it's for my pleasure vs only for parties and occasions with other people. It taught me the sensual identification one can instill in others through the sense of scent.

13 people found this helpful

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  • M
  • 06-30-15

Loved it immensely

Books that delve into the hearts and minds of strong female characters are my favorite.
This one is lovely and one of those books you hate to see end.
Also any romance that is there is downplayed as not the most important part of the story, which then lends the author to define the characters with sharper lines.
Lots of history regarding the 20's through the 50's Monte Carlo, alcohol, cigarettes and gambling, an interesting time. Also the hideous treatment of women...don't be too smart, a man doesn't like it if you are "clever"..makes me glad I am living in this time.

5 people found this helpful

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Unbearable Narration

How did the narrator detract from the book?

I have given this audio book two attempts and had to put it aside both times. I am sure the story is captivating but the narration was unbearable. The voice of Ms. Heather Wilds is capable of modulating in only one way. She reads almost every sentence with the same predictable bend of the pitch, often disregarding the natural rhythm of the grammatical construct. At times, it was difficult for me to follow the story because I kept listening to this repetitive annoying melody in the narrator's voice.

I am not able to review the story properly. I would like to read it in full, perhaps on Kindle or paperback this time.

33 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Suffers from lackluster narration

I thought the story was pretty good, and well written. The narration was unbearable to me, and I almost quit before I really even got into it. As is, it is low pitched and extremely monotonous, droning on and on with little variation and poorly executed accents. Then I tried speeding it up to 1.25. The higher speed setting made it move a little faster and the tone was a little higher pitched. Much better! I even liked it.

8 people found this helpful

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A heartwarming story.

Wonderful narration that truly brings the story to life. Though it took more than the first chapter to catch my attention, the story had me hooked.

2 people found this helpful

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OK entertainment

Is there anything you would change about this book?

It starts out quite interresting, but becomes more cliche after a while. The perfume theme isn't really belieavable. For instance, the main character Grace says she hardly uses perfume at all, and yet she is instantly able to identify the different notes in perfumes and says things like "it smells slike snow" and "it smells like my hair" and instantly declares that a perfume is not a stable beauty because it misses the middle notes to combine the top notes and base notes. It's not at all believable and the story doesn't need it.

Would you recommend The Perfume Collector to your friends? Why or why not?

Not really. It's ok for entertainment if you feel like some really light reading, but not more than that.

What three words best describe Heather Wilds’s performance?

She performs quite well, but the pronunciation of French names hurt my ears. Especailly the way she chose to pronounce Eva d'Orsey, one of the main characters.

1 person found this helpful

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GREAT book

Such a great story. Not a great narrator - she can’t do men, at all. But there aren’t too many men so it was okay.

1 person found this helpful

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My cup of tea . . .

If you enjoy the beauty of literary fiction and a nuanced, meaningful story shrouded in mystery, then I believe you will enjoy this novel. The narration was exquisite.

1 person found this helpful

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  • UC
  • 06-04-17

outstanding

loved this story from beginning to end. Would love a continuation of the main characters' life.

1 person found this helpful