Book Review: The Book of Lost Fragrances by M.J. Rose


Atria Books

Publish Date:
March 13, 2012

From Publisher For Review


A sweeping and suspenseful tale of secrets, intrigue, and lovers separated by time, all connected through the mystical qualities of a perfume created in the days of Cleopatra--and lost for 2,000 years.

Jac L'Etoile has always been haunted by the past, her memories infused with the exotic scents that she grew up surrounded by as the heir to a storied French perfume company. In order to flee the pain of those remembrances--and of her mother's suicide--she moved to America. Now, fourteen years later she and her brother have inherited the company along with it's financial problems. But when her Robbie hints at an earth-shattering discovery in the family archives and then suddenly goes missing--leaving a dead body in his wake--Jac is plunged into a world she thought she'd left behind.

Back in Paris to investigate her brother's disappearance, Jac becomes haunted by the legend the House of L'Etoile has been espousing since 1799. Is there a scent that can unlock the mystery of reincarnation - or is it just another dream infused perfume?

The Book of Lost Fragrances fuses history, passion, and suspense, moving from Cleopatra's Egypt and the terrors of revolutionary France to Tibet's battle with China and the glamour of modern-day Paris. Jac's quest for the ancient perfume someone is willing to kill for becomes the key to understanding her own troubled past.

Review: The Book of Lost Fragrances is sensuous, mystical, and full of intrigue. Knowing how easily scent can trigger a memory, it's not impossible to believe there is a special scent which would bring forth memories of your past lives. This is what the L'Etoile family and many others, including governments, have been searching for centuries to find. From the time of Cleopatra to present day France, the search for this fragrance has been unabated. Jacinthe L'Etoile and her brother Robbie are the last of the L'Etoile family, the owners of the House of L'Etoile perfumery. Jac has felt mentally unstable for years, suffering from what she believes are hallucinations, but will this quest bring her and so many others the answers they desire?

Beautifully written with passages which evoke the very scents they are describing carve their way into your brain. Ms. Rose has created a feast of the senses in The Book of Lost Fragrances. Vivid imagery, scent, and history weave a savory path as you read the tale which spans centuries. I enjoyed the voyage very much and loved the characters, history, action, and the education in the world of perfume and scents.


  1. Thank you so very much for your lovely review and for reading the book! I do appreciate it!

  2. Great review, even the author left a comment. That's a nice rarity. I will be reviewing this book later this month as well.


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