Kathleen Tessaro before? I was immediately pulled into The Perfume Collector.
The life of newlywed Grace Monroe is in a state of flux. She's having trouble fitting into the 1950s London social scene. She doesn't know the right thing to say or do. She wants a life that isn't all about her husband. Grace is thinking about getting a job, but her friend Mallory tries to dissuade her. Grace isn't supposed to want anything for herself. She is supposed to attend society parties, look pretty on her husband's arm, and start a family. Is something wrong with Grace because she wants more out of life? I guess it was during this time period.
Of course life takes a turn for Grace, otherwise what would be the point of the book? Grace's husband isn't the man she thought he was. Her husband cheated on her, and she finds out in a very embarrassing way. She's questioning everything in her life. An inheritance from Eva d'Orsey, a complete stranger, in Paris offers Grace the chance to get away from it all. But why would a stranger leave Grace anything? It's an interesting premise. There has to be something special about Grace.
We get to learn about Eva as well. Her narrative spans several cities, and several decades, from 1920s New York, to Monte Carlo, Paris, and London. She came from nothing, working her way up from chambermaid to perfumer. Her story was an engaging trip for the senses. How one makes perfume is a fascinating story. If you've read M.J. Rose's reincarnationist series, you know what I'm talking about. The descriptions in this book are very vivid. Grace finds her strength by going on this quest for answers. She doesn't know right away why Eva chose her, but their personalities are very similar. In a way, there were ahead of their time. Both of them go against the norm. They go against society's standards for women. If you're a fan of historical fiction, this is the book for you.
Note: I received a copy of the book from the publisher (HarperCollins) as part of a blog tour with TLC Book Tours