Monday, March 12, 2012

The Book of Lost Fragrances by M.J. Rose

In The Book of Lost Fragrances, Jac L'Etoille and her brother Robbie have inherited their family's financial-strapped perfume business. Jac has been off doing her own thing, but Robbie has stayed involved. When Jac returns, Robbie suggests that he's found something vitally important handed down from previous generations. Before he can fully explain, he goes missing. Jac soon discovers that it was some Egyptian pottery shards found by Giles L'Etoille in 1799 and handed down through the family. The shards were thought to contain remnants of a memory tool - a fragrance that might reveal past lives and unlock the mystery surrounding reincarnation. It's up to Jac and her friend Griffin, to find Robbie, sort it all out and keep the shards from falling into the wrong hands.

I loved this book! It was suspenseful, mesmerizing and very well written. The story was fascinating and contained information about the perfume industry, Tibetan lamas, ancient Egypt's afterlife and reincarnation. All such interesting subjects and evidence of Rose's vast research efforts. I learned so much! I found the parts about reincarnation particularly fascinating. I've read a couple of other books (fiction) regarding this subject and found that it makes so much sense to me.

The main story is interjected with numerous side stories, from past lives in other time periods to the Chinese underworld tracking the pottery shards and the protagonists. The story jumps around amongst the sets of characters and between time periods quite a bit. The reader gets little bits and pieces of the story from all different angles. Even though the story does jump around a bit, it's very easy to follow and comes across as coherent and cohesive at the end. Perfect format for this type of story and it's storyline.

The book contained lots of characters. It wasn't too bad keeping them all straight, but after awhile I started writing them down to make sure I didn't get any of them mixed up. Speaking of characters, I liked them all, especially Jac. Her visions brought on my particular scents were particular interesting.

I found it was amazing that the Chinese government would attempt to regulate reincarnation. After reading the book and more about the subject, I realize now that there are much bigger implications than just attempting to control something that's largely uncontrollable.

This ARC starts off with an excellent glossary. It "offers a glimpse into the author's research and provides some factual information about some of the topics, locations, theories and legends discussed in the novel". It was extremely interesting and informative.

Favourite quotes:
Mythology is what we call someone else's religion. (page 225)
The no-mind not-thinks no-thoughts about no-things. (page 282)
I love learning new words. This book contained a few that I had to look up:
promulgated (page xii): broadcast
aegis (page 1): guidance
carnelian (page 5): reddish translucent gemstone
unguents (page 5): ointments
arrondissement (page 53): area of a French city
jejune (page 99): boring
incentivized (page 231): give incentive to
marcasites (page 204): yellow mineral
phalanx (page 314): tight group

I've read one other book by Rose, The Hypnotist (my review). I really enjoyed it.

Highly recommended. I'm looking forward to reading more works by Rose.

For more information about this book, please visit Simon & Schuster's website.

For more information about the author and her other books, please visit M.J. Rose's website.

For more information about the virtual tour and the other stops, please visit the Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours website.

I'd like to thank the author and Amy at Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for this review copy.

The Book of Lost Fragrances by M.J. Rose, Atria Books (Simon & Schuster) ©2012. ISBN 9781451621303(ARC), 348p.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad to see you loved this book too. I really enjoyed it and can't wait to read more of her books.


Thanks so much for your comment. I really appreciate it. Unfortunately, I've been getting lots of spam comments, so I'm turning on word verification to help keep spammers away. I know it's a pain; I don't like it either. Hopefully, in time I'll be able to turn it off again. Thank you!