Fragrant: The Secret Life of Scent by Mandy Aftel ~ book review

Fragrant: The Secret Life of Scent by Mandy Aftel, book plus kit

In fiction, an effective writer uses plot not just to move the story along, but to illuminate an underlying theme. If Mandy Aftel’s Fragrant: The Secret Life of Scent were a novel, the plot would be the five essences — cinnamon, mint, frankincense, ambergris, and jasmine — around which she structures the book. The theme would be beauty.

In Fragrant’s first chapter, Aftel writes about how she became involved with perfume, then says:

As I researched and thought about the deeps ways that perfume touches our most primal selves and the collective self of our species, I realized that I had the makings of an adventure story of sorts…

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(Even) more new & upcoming perfume books for 2014

More new and upcoming perfume books for 2014: Dior: The Perfumes by Chandler Burr; The Perfume Bible by Josephine Fairley and Lorna McKay; Season of the Dragonflies by Sarah Creech; and Parfums: Scents and Sensibilities by Philippe Claudel. Also, the second edition of Roja Dove’s The Essence of Perfume is due out in October.

Dior: The Perfumes

Dior: The Perfumes, book cover

Written by Chandler Burr…

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The Collector of Dying Breaths by M. J. Rose ~ perfume book review

The Collector of Dying Breaths by M. J. Rose, cover

The Collector of Dying Breaths by M.J. Rose brands itself as “a novel of suspense.” After reading it, I’d like to propose another genre for it: modern gothic. The novel features an old French chateau, complicated family relationships, dungeons, murderous intrigue, and spontaneous past life regression. Open the book and you practically hear the thunder rumbling in the distance.

The Collector of Dying Breaths follows two interwoven storylines. The first story is told through a letter from René le Florentin, Catherine de Medici’s perfumer. René learned his trade at a monastery, where he was apprenticed to a monk who was working on a formula for immortality, which required as an ingredient a person’s last living breath. His story is interspersed with Jacqueline L’Etoile’s present-day story, told in the third person. Jac comes from a long line of perfumers…

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