Connie A Thompson

Tag Archives: Kathleen Tessaro

Review: The Perfume Collector

Le droit de choisir — every woman should have the right to choose.


Grace Munroe is surprised when a Parisian attorney contacts her informing her that she is the sole heir to the estate of Madame Eva d’Orsey. At first Grace believes it is merely a case of mistaken identity.

Grace is married and childless. Children are not part of her future. Her husband travels for business frequently. Grace is not like other women. She doesn’t much care for fashion or hairstyles. She is intrigued with numbers and patterns. And yet her friend, Mallory persists on taking Grace out and to parties and events forcing her to engage with others. And it is at one of these parties that Grace learns her husband might be having an affair. Paris seems to be just the answer, a diversion from the reality of her life.

Grace boards an aeroplane for Paris, which is quite an adventure given that it is 1955 and her beloved England is still recovering from the war.

In Paris,  she expects to find answers. Who is Madame d’Orsey and why did she leave her fortune to Grace? The handsome lawyer takes her around town introducing her to French cuisine. She meets people who knew the late Madame, but all refuse to speak of her.

The story is told through two characters, Eva and Grace. We meet Eva as a fourteen-year-old orphan, who gains employment with a prestigious hotel in New York. Working with the alcoholic Rita, it does not take young Eva long to realize that this is not the life she wishes to lead. She takes chances. She’s exploited. She finds a way out of the dismal life she was destined to lead.

Grace is an aristocratic woman. Her father died when she was young. Her mother died in the bombings. She lived with an uncle and now she’s married. She seems to lead the perfect life, but something is missing.

Grace is on a quest to discover who Eva was and why she would leave her such a fortune. Grace is excited by the mystery, but as secrets are revealed, Grace isn’t sure she wants to know the truth.

The Perfume Collector is the kind of story that envelops you transporting you to other worlds and other lives. It is storytelling at its best.

The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro is the August selection of She Reads. Please join us at She Reads for blog posts, reviews, discussions, giveaways, recipes,  and a wine pairing.