Review: The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro

About the book, The Perfume Collector

The Perfume Collector

About The Perfume Collector

• Paperback: 464 pages
• Publisher: Harper Paperbacks (February 4, 2014)

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 from a mysterious benefactor, Eva d’Orsey, whom she’s never met.

So begins a search that takes Grace to a long-abandoned perfume shop on Paris’s Left Bank, where she discovers the seductive world of perfumers and their muses, and a surprising 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 must choose between the life she thinks she should live and the person she is truly meant to be.

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About the author, Kathleen Tessaro

Kathleen Tessaro

Kathleen Tessaro is the author of Elegance, Innocence, The Flirt, and The Debutante. She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with her husband and son.

Find out more about Kathleen at her website and connect with her on Facebook.


My Thoughts:

Kathleen Tessaro knows how to hook readers. With both description and dialogue, she had me invested in Eva d’Orsey from almost the first page of The Perfume Collector and when I ‘met’ Grace several pages later, I was instantly invested in her as well.

As someone who has a love/hate relationship with ‘period’ pieces, I really appreciated the level of detail Tessaro put into this novel. Paris in the 20s felt distinctly different from Paris and London in the 50s and so on. As well, Paris and London were distinct from each other, set apart, not just by fashion and street names, but with subtle changes in language choice and tone.

These things, as much as plot, are what make novels work for me.

But The Perfume Collector did not suffer any plot-related shortcomings. It was gripping, compelling me to read it straight through, skipping at least one meal, and causing at least one tub of bathwater to grow cold while I was in it (my ultimate measure of a great novel is ‘does it keep me in the tub?’).

I haven’t read Tessaro’s other work, but if they’re half as good as The Perfume Collector I simply must.

Goes well with Croque monsieur and fizzy lemonade.


TLC Book Tours

This review is part of a book tour from TLC BookTours. For more information, click here.

CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 Review: The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro by Melissa Bartell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

2 thoughts on “Review: The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro

  1. That seems like a special talent to give different decades a particular feel. Since I love all things French, I’d love to see how the author does Paris in the 20’s and 50’s!

    Thanks for being on the tour!

  2. Pingback: Kathleen Tessaro, author of The Perfume Collector, on tour February 2014 | TLC Book Tours

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