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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
I couldn't put it down but also didn't want it to finish.Such a good read have recommended it to my friends
Published 17 months ago by jean bull

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings!
The story surrounding the Spanish Civil War is really strong. The book is well researched, and I have a lot of respect for the author who will have spent a lot of time and effort in highlighting these atrocities. However, the modern day parts of this novel are much weaker. The characters are much more 'one dimensional' and dull, and by the end of the novel I found that I...
Published 10 months ago by Jane C


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read, 13 July 2013
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I couldn't put it down but also didn't want it to finish.Such a good read have recommended it to my friends
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Voyage to VALENCIA, 12 July 2013
This review is from: The Perfume Garden (Paperback)
If you love Spain and all things Spanish, then this is definitely a novel for you! We were enchanted by the style that pulls the reader in and the wonderful evocations of Valencia both during and post Spanish Civil War and in the modern day.

Emma has just lost her Mother, Liberty, the founder of Liberty Temple perfumes. Emma has taken over the enterprise with now ex Joe, who has been ensnared by the third business partner Lila. A novel with depth, that explores relationships, life and family both present day and issues of legacy from past generations. It also brings the horrors of the Spanish Civil War to life. The chapters alternate between The Civil War Years and the early 2000s as Emma abandons her life as a perfumer, and settles in Valencia to search out her roots and her history.

Valencia is the "land of flowers, light and love" which is a perfect backdrop for a character like Emma to explore her story. The novel is very sensory, you can feel the flowery notes as she dabbles and combines natural fragrances... neroli.... orange blossom.. and more....

If you know the city well, this novel will transport you right back there, as the plot moves from Emma's newly restored finca, to the Torres de Quart or across the Plaza Mayor or the Plaza del Ayuntamento. Enjoy a chocolate con churros, roscón de reyes cake or let your taste buds savour the full flavours of paella as the characters enjoy the cripsy layer of socarrat at the bottom of the pan; perhaps go on to enjoy a natillas pudding.

The ending was perhaps the weakest part of the novel - a fireworks ending that somehow jarred with the thoughtful writing in the rest of the book.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Perfume Garden, 27 Jun 2013
This review is from: The Perfume Garden (Paperback)
When Emma's mum, Liberty, dies, she leaves a series of letters to her daughter, and a key to a crumbled villa in Spain. Leaving her job as a leading perfumier in London, Emma leaves and heads to sunny Spain. Heavy with grief after losing not only her mother but her ex-partner and father to her unborn baby, Joe, it's a balm for Emma's soul. For her, it's a place she can retreat and refocus. But for her grandmother, Freya, it serves only as a horrible reminder of her time in Spain during the civil war - a place and time she never wants to revisit.

What I loved about this, was the almost heady sense of description. Right from the very first page, the scene was set so perfectly, I was instantly transported to 1930's Spain and having a main character whose job is to create sublime scents only added to its allure. In fact, it was so good that I wondered rather sceptically about whether it would be sustained throughout the book. I'm pleased to say it was.

The story follows two timelines. One modern day, where we meet Emma in September 2011, and the other during the Spanish civil war. The dual timelines worked well with the heavy descriptions to keep the story fresh but I did feel that sometimes the chapters were a little too short. While the constant switching served as a great pacemaker in the lead up to the terrorist attacks of 9/11 for example, there were other times when I wanted to stay in one place just a little longer.

Because of this, I found it difficult to connect with any one character, and there were quite a few. I admit to being confused for the first few chapters about who was who, which wasn't helped at times by the dual timelines. That being said, once I got into the rhythm of the pace and set up, they began to stick. Every character was different and believeable, and Freya, in particular turned out to be the one I liked the most. The addition of Liberty's letters was a nice touch, and turned her into an actual character, despite her being dead from the outset.

Because of the sometimes confusing timelines and characters, The Perfume Garden isn't a book I flew through quickly, but then, I didn't really want to. If I had it my way, I'd have read it by a pool somewhere hot, because it's stories like these that I like to luxuriate over. If you're a fan of books by authors like Kate Mosse and Kate Furnivall, you'll love this.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings!, 17 Feb 2014
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The story surrounding the Spanish Civil War is really strong. The book is well researched, and I have a lot of respect for the author who will have spent a lot of time and effort in highlighting these atrocities. However, the modern day parts of this novel are much weaker. The characters are much more 'one dimensional' and dull, and by the end of the novel I found that I had lost interest in them completely. I would have enjoyed this book far more if there had been more emphasis on the history.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read, 5 Aug 2013
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I did not know much about the Spanish civil war. This story showed once again the horrors of war and human sacrifices made.
The story line is plausible and well written. It's detail is clear and easily pictured. I could even smell the perfume against the back drop of the Spanish scenery.
Even though the story is set in the 1930`s and 2011, it runs smoothly and makes it a good 'read. All the characters and their stories come together.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Perfume Garden, 11 Jan 2014
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Set in Spain during the civil war of the 1930's, The Perfume Garden travels between Valencia then and now. Perfumier Emma decides to leave her home in London after her divorce and settle in a house in Valencia owned by her late mother. There, she meets Luca and unravels details of the houses past occupants and ties with her family members.

This book took a little while to get into and I couldn't quite grasp who was who during the beginning, so the first chapter or two dragged a bit for me, but after learning more about the characters and their part in the story, it became quite involving. As Gerda and Capa were real people and events true to life, their story took on special significance.

I knew virtually nothing about the Spanish Civil War, let alone the fact that people from other countries were willing to give their lives to save Spain from the Nationalists, so for this reason, and Kate Lord Brown's excellent and vivid depictions of the war and its consequences, I bumped my rating up a star. However, I then decreased it again for the ending of the book, which seemed to have no real relevance to the rest of the story and felt like it belonged in a crime novel.

The Perfume Garden didn't quite reach Victoria Hislop's level of superb characters and scenes for me, but was enjoyable nonetheless, and I'll certainly be keen to read Kate Lord Browns future work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Horrible war deserves more respect, 3 Oct 2014
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This novel is trying to do too much in its telling of an historic and a modern story. The parts concerning the both Spanish and international combatants in the Spanish civil war start to be gripping but then get cut short to return to the modern story. This story of a young woman twice bereaved and trying to build a new life is undermined by turning it into a "feel good" romance. The unveiling of the past and present stories through each other begins convincingly but ultimately knowing the outcome for the older characters destroys any tension. The novel deals with the terrible atrocities of war and if you have no knowledge of this particular conflict it may be enlightening. But those horrors deserve better than to be turned into a platform for a soppy love story. It might have been 4 stars for the historic story - but the conclusion is such a silly attempt at bringing in a dramatic twist that it leaves a sour taste. There is too much going on here both in story line and literary devices (letters from a dead mother conveniently opened to move along the plot??) - if the writer had just dealt with love and loss through the war it would have been stronger.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Uplifting and thought provoking, 12 May 2013
I abandoned a well written but rather dark story set in Glasgow for the Perfume Garden. It is the first time I have read any novel by Kate Lord Brown and I am delighted to have come across her. Switching between the Spanish Civil War and the aftermath of 7/11, the book centres round three women perfumers and a house in Spain which is central to all the main characters. Despite the horrors of the Civil War and the tragic history of the house, the book is nonetheless totally entrancing. I decided that the reason I loved this book so much and hated Gods and Beasts by Denise Mina is because the characters in The Perfume Garden are open hearted and morally and spiritually aware, whilst those in Gods and Beasts are generally mean spirited, corrupt and despairing. Both books are equally well written, but the Perfume Garden transports you to a world where it is OK to hope, love and dream, whereas Gods and Beasts takes you to a place that is full of despair and hopelessness, a self-centred, modern version of Dante's Inferno. If you like people, love life and want to smell the flowers, then The Perfume Garden is for you. I am about to embark on The Beauty Chorus, Kate Lord Brown's earlier novel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too soapy for my liking, 7 Nov 2014
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It took me quite a long time to work my way through this book. I didn't care for it too much, to be honest. I usually love this kind of duel time-frame novel (Kate Morton comes to mind), however this one failed to deliver. The part about the Spanish Civil War was quite interesting and prompted me to research the war photographer Robert Capa and his lover Gerda. I love any book that's based on real life characters or events. Sadly, that part of the story wasn't fully developed and in the end the whole thing turned into a silly soap opera. The ending was particularly ridiculous. This was the first book I'd ever read by this author and I'm willing to give her another chance. I've just downloaded The Beauty Chorus and I'm hoping it will be more deserving of the five-star reviews.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Read, 5 Jan 2014
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A moving and enjoyable read I would read this author again The story was down to earth and realistic. The
descriptions were very good I could image myself there.
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