on 23 June 2011
Heaven Scent is the 3rd book by Sasha Wagstaff.
Cat Hayes is an English girl who meets and marries a guy called Oliver Ducasse whilst in St Tropez. Sadly he dies suddenly very soon after their marriage. On her return back to England she receives a letter from his family `The Ducasse'. Knowing nothing about them at all she heads to France arriving at their Mansion and a whole different world to what she is used to.
There was much more to Oliver than she was aware of. The family is very suspicious of her and in some cases rather unkind. Cat's reaction is to just turn and leave but there is always someone asking her to stay just that bit longer. She certainly doesn't need them, but do they need her?
Full of elegant French chic, fabulous locations and the most beautiful perfumes this book will has you turning each page with lots of unexpected twists and turns from the very start. You can't help but fall in love with some of the characters! If you love sophistication and sexy leading men, you will adore this book just like me.
I am a huge fan of all of Sasha's work. To me she reminds me of a younger Jackie Collins and her books certainly do not disappoint with the glitz and glamour (not forgetting a little bit of love interest!!).
Can't wait for Sasha's next book.
on 12 July 2011
If you aren't already aware, the main focus of Heaven Scent is perfume. It's set in the South of France and focuses on the Ducasse family who have a large perfume empire. I'm not a big perfume fan. I don't like the smells - they're too heavy for me and cloying, but I buy a lot of it for my mam who loves perfume so I'm pretty au fait with the people who make perfumes. I don't know so much about heart notes or base notes or anything, well, I didn't until I read Heaven Scent. Because the Ducasse family own their own perfume empire, and they're trying to stop Cat from `stealing' it, there's obviously a lot of perfume talk through the novel and I learnt a lot. For someone like me with no knowledge of perfume, reading Heaven Scent was enlightening. I learnt how a perfume is made, how each perfume maker has a `nose' that's able to blend the perfect ingredients to make a scent, all about the history of the fictional Ducasse-LaFleurie perfumes which must be similar to the Chanel's and Givenchy's of the world. Even though I've never found perfume interesting, nor would I think I'd enjoy reading about it, I found it enjoyable and if any one has doubts about a novel all about perfume, I'd say put them to one side because it's a fascinating business.
I've said previously in another review that I don't particularly like France (in fact I inadvertently offended someone with my comment, so much so that I won't repeat it here). I know lots of people love France and find it romantic, but for some reason I never have. However the setting of the South of France for Heaven Scent is brilliant, and with each new France-centered novel I read, I am appreciating the country a tad bit more. I did wonder how the plot was going to work - the Ducasse family are so against Cat at the beginning that I was perplexed as to the strap line ("For a family in need of rescue, she's the perfect remedy") because it took a long, long time for Cat to even be treated with the teeniest bit of respect from the family seemingly allergic to allow anybody into their chateau and into their life. However, the plot kept me hooked as Cat tries to show the family that she isn't some horrible gold-digger and that she truly loved the recently deceased Olivier. Eventually the strap line makes sense, and although it may seem wrong, I liked that the Ducasse family first wanted to look after their own rather than just let Cat swan into the family when they knew nothing about her (and her them, in fact).
The characters are mainly made up of the Ducasse family, as you might expect, along with Cat and Olivier's best friend Ashton. I found them all fascinating characters. Cat's raw love for Olivier and her shock at his fortune and his wealth was portrayed very sympathetically, and I did feel sad the way the family treated her (though as I said above, I understood their reticence). I liked seeing how Cat and the Ducasse family came together as strangers, bound by Olivier whom we never know but whom we hear a lot about (my thoughts on Olivier? Ew.). I found the Ducasse family fascinating. Delphine, the matriarch of the family and the one who seemingly weilds all of the power, her son Guy, his son Xavier and his twins Max and Seraphina and Leoni, Xavier and the twin's cousin. It took me a while to warm to them properly, but I soon did and I became so involved in their family that I was sad to leave them at the end. Xavier in particular left a lasting impression. He sounded absolutely gorgeous. I'd love to know who Sasha based him on. I also liked Leoni, despite the fact she's constantly cold towards Cat. I thought they were a fascinating bunch of characters, the only character I didn't like was the hateful Angelique, a French actress who wiggles her way into the family.
I thoroughly enjoyed Heaven Scent. It was a gripping family read, but it moved at a good pace so I never got bored. It had romance, which made me happy, I like having couples I can root for in a novel. Wagstaff is a brilliant writer, the story just flows so easily and the 500 pages just whizzed by for me. I loved the book. There was a slight twist at the end, which I guessed. I didn't see it coming, but once there was an inkling there was something afoot, I knew what it was. Which is a shame, I suppose, but it didn't spoil it for me. At this point, I'm used to guessing any surprises in Chick Lit, not because Chick Lit is so predictable, just because I'm perceptive. OK, so maybe Chick Lit is a bit predictable. I would thoroughly recommend Heaven Scent, it was a wonderful read, filled to bursting with a good plot and brilliant characters - characters you care about. Usually in these massive novels, the characters are cold and detached but that's not the case here and I for one am eagerly awaiting Sasha's fourth novel and I hope it's just as wonderful as Heaven Scent.
on 21 November 2011
Cat is heartbroken after a brief but intense (and to Cat, very real) marriage to a Olivier, a Frenchman she met on vacation, ends, after his death in an accident. While struggling to come to terms with her loss she decides to visit the family of her late husband, little knowing that Olivier had lied about his roots and is not penniless, but heir to the Ducasse Perfumery fortune. Another surprise for Cat is not only did Olivier have a wealthy family, but the invitation to France she received was not to welcome her into the family, but to ensure the best way to permanently cut her out so as not to receive any of their beloved Olivier's inheritance inheritance.
The Ducasse family have a rich variety of characters all struggling with their own personal demons and dysfunctional relationships, including Max, still struggling with the death of his wife a long time ago, his twin children, Max and Seraphina, not coping with their father's strict parenting style, underappreciated Leoni, and broody Xavier who is the talent (nose) of the family business but wants nothing to do with it. And then of course there is the intimidating matriarch Delphine Ducasse who will do anything to protect her family. They are all well developed characters and their emotions are effortlessly portrayed and you can just about smell the Ducass perfume creations.
The story line is fresh and engrossing, making a nice change from the usual city-girl-unlucky-in-love, but is quite predictable (but it is chicklit snd chicklit readers want sunny reads not dark twisty plots after all) and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
on 21 December 2011
I was soo sad after finishing the last pages of this book... I missed the main characters and sub-characters so much. I am determined to seek out more Sasha Wagstaff books. The storyline all takes place around the perfume industry in France and one can almost smell the 'Heavenly Scents'! The world portrayed is wealthy and gamourous and the heroine is a lovely feisty woman, who actually wins the day simply by being her kind natural beautiful self in the face of all the adversity thrown at her. Through her mysterious late husband's demise she is shocked to find that she stands to inherit his share of the Ducasse-Fleurie perfume dynasty(She thought he was a waiter). The family want this 'nobody-cum-fortune-hunter' gone and so the the story unfolds and a very dysfunctional family is healed and united by the actions of one naturally honorable but still no pushover, gorgeous young woman. Even the sub-characters find a very definite place in one's heart. More, and I'll give this titillating story away. I think it would be very hard not to be enchanted with this modern down-to-earth fairytale. Did I mention that the main male character is really dreamy ... Hmmmm! Five plus stars from me! :))
on 20 September 2013
Heaven Scent is the first Sasha Wagstaff book I've read but it won't be the last. I found it hugely enjoyable. Set on a beautiful estate in Provence it had everything - great location, romance, intrigue and a story that really gripped me from the start.
All the characters were well written, mulitlayered and had real depth. Though down on her luck and down in spirits Cat came across as warm and sympathetic, open to life's possibilities. All the members of the troubled Ducasse family were charismatic and interesting as well as glamourous and very classy. While they initially seemed hostile and clannish, as Cat got to know them individually I warmed to them all - the terrible twins, distant but well meaning patriarch Guy, the rather yummy Xavier and sweet, wonderful, family friend Ashton. I also loved how all the family instinctively analysed the perfume anyone they met was wearing; a quirky family trait. There were a couple of real villains too & it was fun to see them getting their inevitable comeuppance.
I loved the perfume background. Usually in books I find a lot of stuff about business pretty boring and offputting but not here. I've always been interested in the science of perfume & it probably didn't hurt that I've been to Grasse & the Fragonard museum that Cat visits with Xavier. It was a glamourous and interesting background and a world away from the plethora of twee cupcake and tea shop tales flooding the market these days.
Romance is always my main interest in any book and there were romantic entanglements aplenty - unrequited love, unsuitable attachments, misunderstandings and one huge, incredibly romantic gesture. I just wish there had been a tad more sizzle between Cat and Xavier - it was there but it could have been slightly more intense. A minor quibble.
Great story with strong characters, well told. Highly recommended.