Synopsis: From one of America’s most imaginative storytellers comes a passionate tale of love and treachery, spanning the days of Catherine de Medici’s court to the twenty-first century and starring a woman drawn back, time and again, to the past.
In 1533, an Italian orphan with an uncanny knack for creating fragrance is plucked from poverty to become Catherine de Medici’s perfumer. To repay his debt, over the years René le Florentine is occasionally called upon to put his vast knowledge to a darker purpose: the creation of deadly poisons used to dispatch the Queen’s rivals.
But it’s René’s other passion—a desire to reanimate a human breath, to bring back the lives of the two people whose deaths have devastated him—that incites a dangerous treasure hunt five centuries later. That’s when Jac L’Etoile—suffering from a heartache of her own—becomes obsessed with the possibility of unlocking Rene’s secret to immortality.
Soon Jac’s search reconnects her with Griffin North, a man she’s loved her entire life. Together they confront an eccentric heiress whose art collection rivals many museums and who is determined to keep her treasures close at hand, not just in this life but in her next.
Set in the forest of Fontainebleau, crisscrossing the lines between the past and the present, M.J. Rose has written a mesmerizing tale of passion and obsession. This is a gothic tale perfect for fans of Anne Rice, Deborah Harkness, and Diana Galbadon.
Likes: I have only read one other book by M.J. Rose but after finishing The Collector of Dying Breaths, I am convinced that I need to read more! I was kind of feeling like I was in a reading slump and this book pulled me out completely. Once I started reading, there was no stopping! I loved how the story jumped between past and present so seamlessly and how connected the two were. I also enjoyed the romantic aspect as well as the creep factor. It's not really a mystery novel but it definitely had a creepiness to it that I really liked. One of my favorite aspects of the story is the author's descriptions of perfumes: the smells, the ingredients and how they were made. I felt like I could almost smell the specific perfumes as she was describing them.
Characters: Jac is such an awesome character. Her ability to connect with past lives is fascinating and made for an exciting story. I also really liked Rene Bianco. His rise from obscurity to be such a powerful force at the court of Catherine de Medici made for great reading. He was a very complex character; he was a master at creating poisons for Queen Catherine but at the same time, he didn't like
that he was responsible for so many deaths. I've always found Catherine de Medici to be a really interesting historical figure and I'm still on the fence as to how I felt about her in this book. There were things to like about her (saving Rene) and things that were not so likable.
Dislikes: I didn't really 'dislike' anything about this book but I would have liked to know more about Melinoe. She was definitely a very 'unique' person. Her father's death was just so weird and all the shady things she did while working with Jac made me very curious about her life in general as well as her very odd relationship with her step-brother.
Overall: I loved this book. LOVED. 4 1/2 stars.
I received this book from HFVBT in exchange for an honest review.
About the Author:
Rose lives in CT with her husband the musician and composer, Doug Scofield, and their very spoiled and often photographed dog, Winka.
For more information on M.J. Rose and her novels, please visit her website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.
Guest Post from M.J. Rose:
"It is with irony now, forty years later, to think that if I had not been called a murderer on the most frightening night of my life, there might not be any perfume in Paris today. And that scent—to which I gave my all and which gave me all the power and riches I could have hoped for—is at the heart of why now it is I who call myself a murderer."
From The Collector of Dying Breaths
From The Collector of Dying Breaths
“I’m not sure what it was or where she sprayed it, but her scent will be the end of the life I loved. And I will find comfort in the simpleness of sitting with her on a Saturday afternoon with nothing else to do.” ―Darnell Lamont Walker
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