The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro

The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro


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.’ 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.

My Perspective

This is the twenty-second book I read from my post Credit Where Credit’s Due. I read about The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro from Ionia at Readful Things Blog. You can read her thoughts on the book here.

The Perfume Collector is about Grace, a young newlywed living in London, England in the 1950s and how she finds herself the sole beneficiary of a deceased Parisian woman’s estate of whom she’d never met. She decides to stay in Paris awhile to find out who this lady really was however the more she learns, the more she finds there is to untangle.

I love a good mystery and although this one was rather predictable, the telling of the tale with all its intricate details was highly enjoyable.

Grace was a fairly easy character to like. There were moments where I found her frustrating however considering the upheaval happening in her life, it would be unrealistic if she didn’t have moments of weakness and unwise decision making. I didn’t find it easy to like Eva however I found it hard not to admire her. She had it tough, her life was far from easy and she kept fighting all the way. Monsieur Tissot was a dream! Probably too unrealistic 😉

The story was rich in detail and description, with fascinating settings, delicious food and overall beauty and depth. It was hard not to be immersed.

There were some slight sexual references in the book (including rape) however as a said, it is very slight so enough to make me uncomfortable and to mention it however not enough to warrant me feeling the need to stop reading the book.

It was well written, interesting and kept you turning the pages. I would definitely recommend this book if you like historical fiction.


The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas Pere

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas PereBlurb

This swashbuckling epic of chivalry, honor, and derring-do, set in France during the 1620s, is richly populated with romantic heroes, unattainable heroines, kings, queens, cavaliers, and criminals in a whirl of adventure, espionage, conspiracy, murder, vengeance, love, scandal, and suspense. Dumas transforms minor historical figures into larger- than-life characters: the Comte d’Artagnan, an impetuous young man in pursuit of glory; the beguilingly evil seductress “Milady”; the powerful and devious Cardinal Richelieu; the weak King Louis XIII and his unhappy queen—and, of course, the three musketeers themselves, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, whose motto “all for one, one for all” has come to epitomize devoted friendship. With a plot that delivers stolen diamonds, masked balls, purloined letters, and, of course, great bouts of swordplay, The Three Musketeers is eternally entertaining.

My Perspective

The Three Musketeers follows d’Artagnan, a young Frenchman, as he journeys to Paris to join the King’s Musketeers. He soon becomes firm friends with three of the King’s Musketeers whilst entangling himself in the political war between the King, the Cardinal and the Queen.

I really enjoyed this book.

It was fairly slow to start off with and the language took a bit of getting used to however once d’Artagnan was in Paris, it started to flow a lot more smoothly.

Although young and a bit foolhardy, d’Artagnan is easy to like. His companions, Athos, Porthos and Aramis are extremely likeable and the more you read, the more you feel a part of their friendship group. They are both honourable and courageous as well as arrogant and pleasure seekers. I pitied the Queen, thought the King was spineless, and the Cardinal both cruel and intriguing. I absolutely loathed and abhorred Milady. I wondered what on earth happened to her to create such a monster of a person.

The story was long and fairly detailed and although it had a steady pace, most of the time it had me hardly able to put it down. It was quite complex due to its political nature and there were times that I got a bit lost however it was so interesting that I didn’t mind that at all. It had action, some romance, intrigue and drama – all what make a great novel.

I enjoyed the way in which it was written, it was fairly unique with the author’s tidbits throughout.

Overall I really enjoyed the story and I would definitely recommend it if you like historical fiction.


2018 Goodreads Reading Challenge

As i posted in I Did It!!! And In Only Six Months!!!, i achieved my goal of reading twelve books this year – in fact by the end of 2017 my total books read was nineteen! Obviously the less screen time, more reading time before bed worked.

For this years challenge, i don’t want to get too ahead of myself so i have decided to up last years goal by three – so fifteen books in total. Hopefully i will be able to achieve this!

Good luck to everyone else attempting the challenge 😀



2017 In Review

Here is a book that i read in 2017 that i didn’t review. If you’re a fan of the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice, it’s definitely worth reading. I found it super interesting and really enjoyed reading it!

The Making of Pride and Prejudice by Sue Birtwistle & Susie Conklin

The Making of Pride and Prejudice by Sue Birtwistle & Susie Conklin Blurb

The Making of Pride and Prejudice reveals in compelling detail how Jane Austen’s classic novel is transformed into a stunning television drama.

Filmed on location in Wiltshire and Derbyshire, Pride and Prejudice, with its lavish sets and distinguished cast, was scripted by award-winning dramatist Andrew Davies, who also adapted Middlemarch for BBC TV. Chronicling eighteen months of work – from the original concept to the first broadcast – The Making of Pride and Prejudice brings vividly to life the challenges and triumphs involved in every stage of production of this sumptuous television series.

Follow a typical day’s filming, including the wholesale transformation of Lacock village into the minutely detailed setting of Jane Austen’s Meryton.

Discover how Colin Firth approaches the part of Darcy, how actor’s costumes and wigs are designed, how authentic dances are rehearsed and how Carl Davis recreates the period music and composes an original score.

Piece together the roles of many behind-the-scenes contributors to the series, from casting directors and researchers to experts in period cookery and gardening.

Including many full-colour photographs, interviews, and lavish illustrations, The Making of Pride and Prejudice is an indispensable companion to the beautifully produced series and a fascinating insight into all aspects of a major television enterprise.

I Grew My Boobs in China (Sihpromatum #1) by Savannah Grace

I Grew My Boobs in China (Sihpromatum #1) by Savannah GraceBlurb

In 2005, 14-year-old Savannah Grace’s world is shattered when her mother unexpectedly announces that she and her family (mother, 45; brother, 25; sister, 17) would soon embark on an incredible, open-ended journey. When everything from her pets to the house she lived in is either sold, given away or put in storage, this naïve teenage girl runs headlong into the reality and hardships of a life on the road.

Built around a startling backdrop of over eighty countries (I Grew my Boobs in China relates the family’s adventures in China and Mongolia), this is a tale of feminine maturation – of Savannah’s metamorphosis from ingénue to woman-of-the-world. Nibbling roasted duck tongues in China and being stranded in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert are just two experiences that contribute to Savannah’s exploration of new cultures and to the process of adapting to the world around her.

My Perspective

This is the twenty-first book I read from my post Credit Where Credit’s Due. I read about I Grew My Boobs in China (Sihpromatum #1) by Savannah Grace from Ionia at Readful Things Blog. You can read her thoughts on the book here.

The book follows Savannah, a fourteen-year-old Canadian girl who’s life is uprooted when her mother decides to sell all of their possessions and go backpacking with her and two of her older siblings.

I found the book hard to get into at first. Savannah was obviously quite upset at being uprooted from her life as she knew it and being the age she was, didn’t have much say, so the start was quite self-pitying and not so much negative but not very positive. It also wasn’t super interesting until they finally started their journey however it was a chance to get to know Savannah and her family so I don’t think it was something that could have been edited out without affecting the “character development”.

When they finally started their journey, the pace of the story picked up and it was a lot more interesting to read.

Savannah doesn’t make it easy on herself with the attitude she takes to her mother’s plans. It’s completely understandable however also can’t be changed so you are kind of waiting for her to “get over herself”. Thankfully she does otherwise I think it would be a bit of frustrating read.

It was fascinating reading about their traveling experiences. They certainly didn’t travel luxuriously or much like foreigners and they had plenty of adventures!

This is an interesting yet unusual coming of age story that I would definitely recommend to those who like travel memoirs/autobiographies. I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

Murder On The Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Murder On The Orient Express by Agatha ChristieBlurb

The Orient Express was unusually full for the time of year. Hercule Poirot sat in the elegant restaurant-car and amused himself by observing his fellow passengers: a Russian princess of great ugliness, a haughty English colonel, an American with a strange glint in his eye . . . and many more. The food and company were most congenial and the little Belgian detective was looking forward to a pleasant journey.

But it was not to be. After a restless night, Poirot awoke to find that tragedy had struck. First, the train had been brought to a standstill by a huge snowdrift. Secondly, a passenger lay dead in his berth – murdered.

My Perspective

Awhile ago I was able to sift through a few boxes of books that my mother-in-law was giving away. One of the books was this one, and even though I’ve read it before, I can’t say no to owning and rereading any Agatha Christie novel!

Murder On The Orient Express is the story of how Hercule Poirot becomes the investigator of a murder that takes place on the train he is travelling on and how he solves it.

I vaguely remembered the story and the ending so things weren’t a huge mystery for me however I still thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

Agatha Christie is a superb author so obviously it was well written with great character development and a clever storyline. I don’t think you can really fault her and to me a review on one of her books is a bit pointless!

Basically it was a fantastic read that I would highly recommend if you like murder mysteries. A classic whodunnit novel.

Xylophones Above Zarundi: A Chaotic Tale of Melody by Geoffrey McSkimming

Xylophones Above Zarundi: A Chaotic Tale of Melody by Geoffrey McSkimmingBlurb

While on a stopover in the mysterious African country of Zarundi, Jocelyn Osgood – that well-known Valkyrian Airways Flight Attendant and ‘good friend’ of Cairo Jim – becomes unwittingly embroiled in the theft of a priceless royal tiara.

She and her companions find themselves thrown into a world of subtle chaos, which carries them across an intriguing and colourful landscape as they try desperately to locate the stolen regalia and two renegade Tropical Xylophonists…

My Perspective

Xylophones Above Zarundi: A Chaotic Tale of Melody follows Jocelyn Osgood and Joan Twilight as they become mixed up in the theft of the royal tiara while on stopover in Zarundi. In order to get it back, they find themselves on the trail of the two xylophonists who went missing at the same time as the tiara…

As much as I love the Cairo Jim novels, I LOVE the Jocelyn Osgood novels even more. I’m not sure why, there isn’t a specific thing that I can pinpoint, they are just a really great read.

In saying that, this story was probably my least favourite of the Jocelyn Osgood novels as I found the mystery and adventure of the other books far more fascinating because they had a lot more history involved. This was still good, it just lacked that extra oomph.

Jocelyn is extremely easy to like and is a fantastic female lead. She’s strong, capable, smart, and kind as well as still having real emotions and moments of self doubt. Joan is hilarious and one finds it hard not to like her despite her obvious “blonde” personality. They make a great team and bounce off one another well. The other characters were in usual Cairo Jim form – extremely quirky and unusual and slightly silly. The villain in this story was EXTREMELY unlikable.

The story was interesting, well written and held mystery for the reader. It had me guessing right up until the very end.

I would definitely recommend this book however it’s probably better to start with the first Jocelyn Osgood novel, After The Puce Empress, so you can read how Jocelyn and Joan first met.