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Book Review: "The Perfume Collector" by Kathleen Tessaro

"The Perfume Collector" by Kathleen Tessaro
"The Perfume Collector" by Kathleen Tessaro

Perfume finishes any stylish woman's look. There are so many scents to choose from whether it be floral, seductive, or sweet. A perfume can really help enhance and compliment a woman's look and style. Every perfume has a story behind its creation. "The Perfume Collector" by Pittsburgh's own Kathleen Tessaro shows the power of perfume and how perfume can tell a story and reveal secrets and revelations from the past.

"The Perfume Collector" follows two very different women, but women that were very connected. One part of the novel focuses on Eva d'Orsey in the 1920's and 1930's going from working as a maid in a hotel to kept woman who counts cards to the muse of a perfume creator to a mistress of a powerful man with money and influence. Another part of the novel focuses on Grace Monroe, a lonely and frustrated woman thrust into London's social circles and in an incredibly cold and fulfilling marriage. When Grace receives a grand inheritance from the late Eva d'Orsey, she goes to Paris to find out why she received this random inheritance and learns about Eva's life. Grace discovers a surprising connection to Eva that will change her life forever and make her change as a person. "The Perfume Collector" is the story of perfume and the personal stories and growth of two very connected women.

"The Perfume Collector" is such a lovely novel. The two female characters are fascinating, complex, and enjoyable to read about. Eva's transformation from hotel maid to the muse of a perfume creator is a wonderful journey. Eva is ambitious, a chameleon, and a complex character. Meanwhile, Grace starts out as a wounded and lonely little bird in London, but transform into a beautiful and confident butterfly when she arrives in Paris. Their journeys are so great and interesting to read about.

Another strong aspect of the novel is how Tessaro brings to life the different time periods. Tessaro manages to bring to life 1920's New York City, 1930's Monte Carlo and Paris, and 1950's London and Paris. Tessaro portrays the glamour and partying of the 1920's, the impact the war had on London and Paris, and the lush carelessness and fun of Monte Carlo. Tessaro really captures all the settings in her novel.

The other part of the novel that soars is the other star of the novel: the perfume. The portrayal and role of perfume in the novel is unique. The novel provides interesting and detailed descriptions of the various perfumes and connects the perfumes to various parts of Eva's story and how it impacts Grace's story. Whether it be a description of the perfume Eva inspired or a scent a particular person had, perfume really shines in this novel.

"The Perfume Collector" is a great novel about two different yet connected women and how perfume can really change a woman's look and life. The next time you wear your favorite scent just think, there could be a special story behind that perfume!

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