THE PERFUME COLLECTOR was the August pick for the She Reads Book Club. I thought the cover was divine but frankly was not prepared for its marvelous insides that completely enamored me. I am definitely a member of the Kathleen Tessaro fan club and will be certain to read her again which includes doubling back to read that novels already here: http://www.kathleentessaro.com/.
We meet Eva D’Orsay a seemingly powerful woman in Paris 1954. She seems to be revered by those in her association but sadly does not seem to value her life. We also meet a young unfulfilled debutante Grace Munroe trapped in an unhappy marriage circa London 1955. Neither story line pulled me in so if you have the same reaction definitely keep going. What follows is a beautiful story comprised of characters not that likeable doing what they believed they needed to do to survive.
After a shocking night that will forever change Grace and open her eyes, she is summoned to France for the reading of a will. This does not make any sense to her as she does not recognize the deceased but she goes anyway. Soon she learns from the solicitor that someone has left her a great deal of money that will come from the sale of an apartment and a stock portfolio. Yet Grace cannot accept this without knowing this woman that left her this generous gift, she knew there had to be more.
Grace and the unwilling solicitor Monsieur Tissot set out to find answers. Grace finds an address that changes everything and she finds herself at the boarded up “Recherchez-Moi”. She and Tissot break in and find a dilapidated perfume store and a old woman caretaker that chases them out. But Grace is not deterred and she returns to the shop and persuades the caretaker Mrs. Zed to share everything with her about the deceased mystery woman.
Grace’s story and that of her benefactor now deceased will find their way to each other under the masterful hand of Tessaro. While this story takes place from the 20s to the 50s it is bound together by Tessaro’s rich writing. It’s descriptive detail sets the stage for the necessary flashbacks throughout. Although I am usually not a fan of period flipping, Tessaro worked her magic where I did not whine, not once.
Be sure to visit She Reads Book Club Blog to see what others thought of the August selection, THE PERFUME COLLECTOR. See what else we are reading or better yet join in the fun: http://www.shereads.org/2013/08/august-book-club-selection-3/.