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The Perfume Garden
on 11 January 2014
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.