Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Review: The Book of Lost Fragrances

The Book of Lost Fragrances (Reincarnationist - Book 4) by M.J. Rose

Publication Date: March 13, 2012
Publisher: Atria Books
Genre: Paranormal Suspense
Pages: Hardcover, 384pp
ISBN-13: 978-1451621303
ISBN: 1451621302

(Received for an honest review from Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

M.J. Rose on the WEB: website, blog, facebook, twitter

Books in the series: The Reincarnationist (2007), The Memorist (2008), The Hypnotist (2009), The Book of Lost Fragrances (2012)

CoverArt: Click on the picture for a larger, clearer image of the covers in this series.

Excerpt on The Book of Lost Fragrances


A Secret Worth Dying For …

Jac L’Etoile has always been haunted by visions of the past, her earliest memories infused with the exotic scents that she grew up with as the heir to a storied French perfume company. These worsened after her mother’s suicide until she finally found a doctor who helped her, teaching her to explore the mythological symbolism in her visions and thus lessen their painful impact. This ability led Jac to a wildly successful career as a mythologist, television personality and author.

When her brother, Robbie—who’s taken over the House of L’Etoile from their father—contacts Jac about a remarkable discovery in the family archives, she’s skeptical. But when Robbie goes missing before he can share the secret—leaving a dead body in his wake—Jac is plunged into a world she thought she’d left behind.

Traveling back to Paris to investigate Robbie’s disappearance, Jac discovers that the secret is a mysterious scent developed in Cleopatra’s time. Could the rumors swirling be true? Can this ancient perfume hold the power to unlock the ability to remember past lives and conclusively prove reincarnation? If this possession has the power to change the world, then it’s not only worth living for . . . it’s worth killing for, too.

The Book of Lost Fragrances fuses history, passion and suspense in an intoxicating web that moves from Cleopatra’s Egypt and the terrors of revolutionary France to Tibet’s battle with China and the glamour of modern-day Paris. This marvelous, spellbinding novel mixes the sensory allure of Perfume with the heartbreaking beauty of The Time Traveler’s Wife, coming to life as richly as our most wildly imagined dreams.


The Book of Lost Fragrances is the fourth book in M.J. Rose's highly acclaimed Reincarnationist series. Impeccably researched, The Book of Lost Fragrances takes the reader on a whirlwind journey through time and space, jumping from Cleopatra's Egypt, to Napoleon's revolutionary France, the Dalai Lama's struggle for a free Tibet to the catacombs of today's Paris. This is a complex novel than spans the gap between historical fiction and current headlines, drawing the reader into a satisfying and highly entertaining series.

This is not my first go-round with an M.J. Rose novel. I read The Hypnotist some time ago and had mixed feelings. I am not a believer in reincarnation and thought by liking the book I was somehow giving credence to the beliefs described in it. Since then I've learned a lot about myself, my reading, and how I approach reviewing novels that have subjects I don't necessarily find believable. Many of you know that I am a big fan of paranormal romance and the fantasy genre. I tend to look at books like The Book of Lost Fragrances in the same manner these days. I don't believe in faeries or werewolves and the like, yet I read those kinds of books knowing what I believe or don't believe about them without reservation.

This change in how I view books of this nature really served me well in my reading of this novel. I was able to appreciate The Book of Lost Fragrances from a much more open minded perspective. The research alone, that author M.J. Rose employs in this novel is remarkable. Her passion for the subject is apparent on every page of this book. She takes the reader through history with ease and grace, setting each scene and using period detail and historical references to draw the reader in. 

This book is very much a sensory experience. The sense of smell is something I have always found interesting. Aroma's often remind me of places I've been or periods in my own life. Sometimes they are specific to a certain person or a certain place. It was easy for me to transfer my own ideas about scent to this story, making it seem realistic and authentic. I found it fascinating that the author uses perfumery and the sense of smell to invoke lost memories of past lives. It was a unique idea that I hadn't thought of before and made for a great plot idea. 

There is a lot of shifting in this novel. The time shifts from past to present. The point-of-view shifts amongst all of the players in this political game who are vying for the shards of pottery that could prove the existence of reincarnation. This tended to be a little bit confusing and I had to re-read certain sections in order to keep up. This is a very complex novel and not what I would consider light reading, but it is well worth the time to explore. It can be read as a stand alone or as part of the Reincarnationist series. Rose gives the reader all the background information needed to step right into the series without feeling as though they've missed something.

The Book of Lost Fragrances is primarily a suspense novel but there is a little romance involved as well. I think that hint of love served the author well in giving the reader a secondary source of emotion. I will admit that there came a point that this novel moved me to tears, which is rare. If an author can make a reader feel any emotion whether it be anger, happiness, sadness or any other, then they have accomplished the ultimate goal of a writer which is to move their audience in some way. I still don't believe in reincarnation, but I can certainly see why some do. I think a writer as good as M.J. Rose could almost make a reader believe anything. Extremely well written, full of intrigue and historical detail, and very satisfying in every way. I don't think you want to miss it, not matter what you believe!

Look for a guest post from M.J. Rose next week here at Debbie's Book Bag with your chance to win a copy of M.J.'s book, The Book of Lost Fragrances.

The Book of Lost Fragrances is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

M. J. Rose is the international bestselling author of eleven novels, including The Reincarnationist, The Memorist, and The Hypnotist. She is a founding member and board member of International Thriller Writers and the founder of the first marketing company for authors: AuthorBuzz.com.

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