Have you ever felt the power of scent? Has a smell brought memories back so vivid that you felt they were real? Does the smell of lilacs have you turning to see if someone that has passed years ago was standing right behind you? Fragrances can be the most powerful substance. Smell can do so much to our minds and souls. It is this theme that M.J. Rose uses in The Lost Book of Fragrances.
Ms. Rose takes the idea of reincarnation, archaeology, spies, history, science, love, betrayal, religion, and hope to create a wonderful story that will have you hooked from the moment Napoleon enters a newly discovered tomb in Egypt. What if there was a scent so powerful that it would not only invoke memories from ten years ago or even 50 but from hundreds of years ago?
In this book, a brother and sister have inherited the family business of making exotic and famous perfumes. They sadly have also inherited the debt load. Each one of the siblings have their own problems resulting in the sister finding a home in America and the brother running the business in France. Legends have been passed down through the family generation after generation of a scroll revealing the secret ingredients of a fragrance that was so powerful that it would take the person back to visit their past lives. It has been lost since their ancestor found it buried with two mummies who were lovers and buried together. Only when Napoleon has his men open the tomb does their ancestor personally experience the power of the scent. One bottle breaks while enough remains intact. The perfumer takes the pieces of pottery and the list of ingredients with him back to France and hides it for fear of what others would do if they found it.
Years go by with many people looking for it along with other memory tools. The Chinese are looking for it as they have passed a law against reincarnation and about twenty years earlier kidnapped the next llama that would choose the next Dahli Llama. He is thought to have been killed but has in fact been brainwashed and secreted away in China to be watched carefully. Or has he been brainwashed?
The academic world is after it to prove the existence of reincarnation. The perfumer is after it to create a scent the world would pay anything for. One woman with an extremely sensitive nose just wants to find peace in life but instead finds herself in the middle of it all.
This was a wonderful read. I found myself glued to the pages and read up at all hours of the night. I had to know what was down the tunnel, who was calling, and why she kept going back into time. Through the book I visited ancient Egypt to meet Cleopatra, saw the horrors of the Reign of Terror, and the power of the Chinese mafia. It was an adventure thriller as well as a bit of a history book. I could even call it a love story.
I truly recommend reading this book if you like fiction. It is a great mix of history and fiction giving the reader a sense of learning while being entertained. In fact, after reading the book I wanted to do some research on the power of scent and the role it has played in history. Check out The Lost Book of Fragrances and see what new scents are awakened in you.
Note: This book was provided by the publisher per my request.