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Wednesday, 31 July 2013

The Power of Perfume in books - a collection

Recently we have come across quite a few novels in which perfume is a significant feature, so we thought we would bring together a collection to stimulate and saturate the senses. Several genres feature, so take your pick, sniff out (sorry!) a good read! And of course, we would love it if our readers would add their favourite perfume-themed books via the Comments Box, as we are sure there are many more out there, we have simply started the ball rolling.... 

We would like to thank the readers at Mumsnet, who gave us their suggestions:
PoppadomPreach, FruminousBanderSnatch, KatyMac, SarahandFuck, thequeenmary

The Scent of Triumph by Jan Moran is set both in Paris and GrasseParis-born Danielle Bretancourt von Hoffman is a modern young woman with a natural gift. In the language of perfumery, she is a Nose, with the rare ability to recognize thousands of essences by memory.

The year is 1939, and on the day that England declares war on Germany, Danielle and her family are caught in the midst of a raging disaster sweeping across Europe.Her life takes a tragic turn when her husband and their only son are stranded behind enemy lines. Summoning her courage, she spies for the French resistance, but is forced to flee Europe with fragments of her family. Destitute, she mines her talents to create a magnificent perfume that captures the hearts of Hollywood stars, then gambles to win wealth and success as a couturier. 

The Perfume Garden by Kate Lord Brown is set in Valencia. High in the hills of Valencia, a 
forgotten house guards its secrets. Untouched since Franco's forces tore through Spain in 1936, the whitewashed walls have crumbled, the garden, laden with orange blossom, grown wild.
Emma Temple is the first to unlock its doors in seventy years. Guided by a series of letters and a key bequeathed in her mother's will, she has left her job as London's leading perfumier to restore this dilapidated villa to its former glory. It is the perfect retreat: a wilderness redolent with strange and exotic scents, heavy with the colours and sounds of a foreign time. But for her grandmother, Freya, a British nurse who stayed here during Spain's devastating civil war, Emma's new home evokes terrible memories. Our blogpost

Perfume by Patrick Suskind set in Paris and Le Midi
Survivor, genius, perfumer, killer: this is Jean-Baptiste Grenouille. He is abandoned on the filthy streets of Paris as a child, but grows up to discover he has an extraordinary gift: a sense of smell more powerful than any other human's. Soon, he is creating the most sublime fragrances in all the city. Yet there is one odour he cannot capture. It is exquisite, magical: the scent of a young virgin. And to get it he must kill. And kill. And kill...

The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro is set in New York and Paris of the 1920s. One letter will turn newly-married Grace Munroe’s life upside down: ‘Our firm is handling the estate of the deceased Mrs Eva D’Orsey and it is our duty to inform you that you are named as the chief beneficiary in her will. We request your presence at our offices at your earliest convenience, so that we may go through the details of your inheritance.’
There is only one problem. Grace has never heard of Eva D’Orsey.
So begins a journey which leads Grace through the streets of Paris and into the seductive world of perfumers and their muses. An abandoned perfume shop on the Left Bank will lead her to unravel the heartbreaking story of her mysterious benefactor, an extraordinary woman who bewitched high society in 1920s New York and Paris.

Wildest Dreams by Jennifer BlakeTwo extraordinary women - 150 years apart - search Europe for a special perfume, and their own secret hearts for the thing that matters most....
The perfume is legendary, once worn by Cleopatra and Empress Josephine -- and made in New Orleans for more than 150 years. Its history and enthralling scent render it priceless, and while many are determined to exploit it, Joletta Caressa's beloved grandmother, Violet, took its secret formula with her when she died.
Now Joletta must reconstruct it using the journals written by Violet, who brought the perfume home from a Victorian-era grand tour of Europe. The code is in the yellowed pages, tied to the places Violet visited -- London, Paris, the Swiss Alps, Venice, and a secluded garden in the Italian countryside.

Perfume of Paradise by Jennifer Blake set in the Caribbean and New Orleans - Hot, sultry passion blooms on a lush Caribbean island, but is it real? The drums warn of trouble on the island of Saint-Domingue as Elene prepares to be wed to a groom she barely knows. To soothe her fears, her servant Devota gives her a special voodoo perfume said to captivate any man, insuring his lifelong devotion. But a slave uprising interrupts the wedding vows.Sea Captain Ryan Bayard rescues the fascinating bride-to-be and retreats to safety with her. Trapped together in close quarters as death and destruction rage outside, the scent of her perfume is maddening. The attraction is so strong Ryan cannot resist making passionate love to her.

In non fiction we feature Chandler Burr's account to find the perfect perfume in The Perfect Scent. Follow the creation in NYC of the scent 'Lovely' for Sarah Jessica Parker. And in Paris follow how Hermes sets about creating 'Un Jardin sur le Nil' - facts abound (170,000 bottles of fragrance are sold in France every day, for example). A revelation of the top companies who own other companies, the real inside track.

The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber has a nod to the perfumier. It is the story of a well-read London prostitute named Sugar, who spends her free hours composing a violent, pornographic screed against men. Michel Faber's dazzling second novel dares to go where George Eliot's The Mill on the Floss and the works of Charles Dickens could not. We learn about the positions and orifices that Sugar and her clients favour, about her lingering skin condition, and about the suspect ingredients of her prophylactic douches. Still, Sugar believes she can make a better life for herself.When she is taken up by a wealthy man, the perfumer William Rackham, her wings are clipped and she must balance financial security against the obvious servitude of her position. 

Click on the covers to find our more about each book. 

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Tina and The TripFiction Team 

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