The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro

The-Perfume-Collector-PBThe Perfume Collector is a book that often falls under the nebulous and debated genre known argumentatively as women’s fiction. To be honest, books with this dubious label I often avoid just because there’s a sameness to them that irks me. But several readers I really respect have read this and loved it, so when it was offered for review I decided to give it a shot.

The narrative follows two main characters. Grace Monroe is a married British woman in her late twenties who discovers her husband has been cheating while also learning a mysterious woman has died and left her an enormous inheritance. She takes off to Paris to uncover the woman’s identity and keys to her own past. Interwoven throughout, we follow Eva d’Orsey, an orphaned French teenager working in a high class hotel in New York City in the 1920s. Along the way we meet scoundrels, perfumists, and visit the hallowed halls of 1930s Monte Carlo.

Tessaro’s novel is easily read and quickly finished. The armchair travel might be worth the read whether or not you enjoy these kinds of novels. I loved visiting the fancy hotels of New York, Paris, and Monte Carlo along with the characters. I preferred Eva’s story to Grace’s, but both narratives held my attention and kept me turning the pages. I’d suggest this as a great summer read while lounging poolside. Tessaro really knows how to put her readers in a certain time and place.

On the flipside, I can’t say the novel will stay with me or be something that I remember this time next year. The plot, while enjoyable enough, was also burdened with a predictability that plagues similar stories. I wish something in the book’s conclusion had surprised me. I also wish the book had had a better editor. It’s been a long time since I read a book with so many typos and grammatical mistakes. Boo.

Have you read The Perfume Collector? What do you think about novels with the same predictable plot twists? Do they annoy you or do other aspects of the novel, like the armchair travel, make up for these limitations?


Thanks so much to TLC Book Tours and the publisher for a copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review. Check out the other tour stops here!!

About the Author:

Kathleen-TessaroKathleen Tessaro is the author of EleganceInnocenceThe Flirt, and The Debutante. She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with her husband and son.

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11 thoughts on “The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro

  1. I didn’t find this too predictable, but I also might just not think ahead much when I’m reading a book 🙂 I loved the writing and also enjoyed her ability to bring different locations to life. I don’t think my version had a bunch of typos, but it’s been a bit and I might just not remember them.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed and didn’t find anything too predictable. As soon as some mystery aspect comes into play, I immediately start trying to solve the thing. And I guessed this ending long before we got there so it bugged me. Maybe it’s just a personal problem, lol. And the typos…I don’t know what to say. I have the hardcover finished copy and wow. I’ve seen others complain as well.

  2. I did guess who Eva was to Grace from the beginning but I did not guess some of the other small details. I thought the depth of the characters was so great that it didn’t bother me. I loved the journey. But predictability has never been something that bothers me… I’m more concerned with character and plot development, I guess.

    Also, I’ve been looking for someone who has this book fresh in their memory… I just finished it last week and I really think that there was a mistake in the last chapter and Madame Hiver’s and Eva’s names were switched. Did you notice? Or am I just confused?

  3. Pingback: Kathleen Tessaro, author of The Perfume Collector, on tour February 2014 | TLC Book Tours

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