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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, interesting and unusual suspense, 29 Nov 2012
LEP "LEP" (England) - See all my reviews
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An excellent suspense melding the world of perfumery with reincarnation. The ideas in the book are based on the premise that smell is such a stong sense that odours/perfume/scents can evoke in us memories of where/when we smelt that particular smell before. So, if a perfume/scent can do that, could thay make us regress to past life memories?

The L'Etoile family are perfumiers. In the 18 century Gile L'Etoile discovered, in Egypt, clay jars with the essense of a perfume still lingering in them. For generations the L'Etoiles have believed that those "lost" jars contained an fragrance that enabled people to regress to distant lives. Robbie L'Etoile has taken over the family business from his ill father, only Robbie isn't the real "nose" of the family, his sister Jac is. The problem is that when Jac was 15 years old she suffered a trauma and has not entered the family laboratory since and refuses to have anything to do with the perfumery.

Robbie finds that his father has left a mountain of debts and chaos and the only way out of the mess is to sell two of the firm's signature perfumes, which he is reluctant to do. Then he finds shards of a broken pot which date back to ancient Egypt. Do they prove that the family legend is true. Jac is sceptical. Then the pair find that shards are wanted by people who will stop at nothing, even murder, to get them.

The story is interlaced with two other stories from the past and the plight of modern day Tibet.

Vastly enjoyable. It held me all the way through and it takes a lot to do that nowdays. Extremely good book.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fact and fiction join together to make a gripping read, 13 Mar 2012
Shazjera (Bournemouth) - See all my reviews
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When I saw The Book of Lost Fragrances on NetGalley, not only did the suspense and historical aspect draw me in ... I've also read and experienced how scent/aroma is a trigger to memory. Add in the mystery of reincarnation and I'm totally hooked!

We begin our reading journey with a prologue. This is a newspaper report that explains the unrest in Tibet, the 14 part regulation banning living Buddha's from reincarnating without permission and the abduction of a Panchen Lama. This is one of the threads that links with the L'Etoile family discovery.

A large part of the story is spent in the present time - with Jac and her brother Robbie, with the Chinese Mafia in Paris and Xie Ping in China. The timeline does regress. In Egypt in 1799 we meet Giles L'Etoile while he is exploring Nefertum's tomb (the god of perfume) with Napolean and further back, Cleopatra and her obsession with perfumes. This may sound confusing but it isn't ... it's all linked with the discovery Robbie found in the family archives. Each chapter gives the reader just enough information so that there is a need to keep turning those pages to see what will happen and how it will all come together.

The characters have had childhood trauma or have an obsession and therefore have something to prove. It's the obsession that leads the story through the suspense, crime and mystery. The romance is sparked when Griffin (someone from Jac's past) is involved in the discovery by Robbie. I really can't say much more without giving away too much! The intimacy is beautifully written and will touch your soul.

Robbie's discovery is coveted by different factions for different reasons but underlying this is Jac's childhood experiences of visions that have made her feel insecure about her own stability. Although there is sadness there is understanding and release.

The Book of Lost Fragrances doesn't disappoint. There is plenty of suspense. There are two key points that had me sitting on the edge of my seat - in the catacombs under Paris and in the gallery. I experienced everything the characters did. There were a couple of characters that I wasn't sure whether I should be wary of or take them at face value and so watched them very carefully. The Buddhist aspect and Tibetan unrest is well-written.

It is clear that MJ Rose has researched her historical facts. Although this is a work of fiction, all the separate parts are drawn to come together to create a gripping story.
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The Book of Lost Fragrances
The Book of Lost Fragrances by M. J. Rose (Paperback - 12 Feb 2013)
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