Book Review: The Book of Lost Fragrances by M.J. Rose

February 28th, 2012

My interest in The Book of Lost Fragrances by M.J. Rose began because I have always loved perfume. So much so that a shelf in my room is devoted to all the fragrances I have bought and continue to buy. This novel went beyond my expectations in terms of learning a lot on the history of fragrance making; at times I was sure the scents were wafting right off the pages and to me. As well the mystery and the idea of past lives kept me turning the pages quickly and truth be told I pretty much read this book in a day – it is that good.

Jac L’Etoile and her brother Robbie have come from a long line of perfumers and are heirs to their family’s French perfume company which is in financial trouble. For Robbie he wants nothing more than to create a new scent that will bring the company back to it’s former glory but Jac has pushed that side of her life as far from her as she can and focuses instead on mythology. The thing is though that it is really Jac with the incredible sense of smell and the knack for putting scents together. When Robbie finds an ancient pottery pot that is in shards it seems to be an item that several people want and ultimately Robbie goes missing. When Jac receives the call that her brother has gone missing she travels back to her childhood home with reservations. It is there that she is thrown right back into the family business and her visions begin to escalate with greater frequency as well. These pottery shards that Robbie had seem to be tied into a family legend and it is said that the pot contained a scent that can take a person back in their past lives and find their true soulmate – that a person has a connection with this individual all through time.

As a young girl Jac suffered from episodes and nobody seemed to be able to help her until Malachai, a doctor who has a great interest in past lives helps Jac learn how to handle the episodes and be able to live her life. Once back at her childhood home these visions begin to escalate again but this time she starts to look at them a little differently and instead of being terrified she tries to find the meaning within them. Jac’s visions will take her back to the days of Cleopatra and back into her own family’s past. Will they once again destroy her sense of sanity or will they lead her to her own true soulmate?

There are many other side stories going on as well that all come together nicely in the end and this is what really keeps the reader guessing. There is even a love interest of Jac’s that she had that comes back into her life. Are they meant to be together despite everything? Will Jac risk everything to find that out? I will say no more on the story because it’s a complex tale that can’t be covered here and you need to read it yourself to really get the whole atmosphere of the story. I’ll just say that between Jac’s visions into the past and the exciting events in the present we are taken on a great adventure from ancient times in Egypt to the present in New York, China and Paris and it was one I thoroughly enjoyed.

This book deals with past lives a great deal and this is something that has always interested me. Reincarnation is an interesting concept to consider even though I’ve never experienced anything that would make me think it’s real. It’s fascinating to me though to think that people have lived past lives and the way that the author portrays it in this story is through the sense of smell. A certain scent can trigger an episode that will take a person through flashbacks into their past life. M.J. Rose also uses incredibly vivid descriptions of different scents and I loved these parts of the novel. For me this was a really great read and I am looking forward to losing myself in a few more of M.J. Rose’s books soon!


M.J. Rose and The Book of Lost Fragrances is on tour with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours so be sure to check out the other tour stops to see what others are saying about the book. You can find M.J. Rose on her website or Facebook and you can pick up your own copy of The Book of Lost Fragrances here in the US and here in Canada.

16 Comments to “Book Review: The Book of Lost Fragrances by M.J. Rose”

  1. vivienne says:

    I have a couple of books by this author and I never seem to get around to reading them. This does sound good.

  2. I’ve seen this around the blogosphere, but wasn’t sure what it was about. This sounds very interesting. Thanks for the review.

  3. Bookworm says:

    Great review Dar. I enjoyed this one too and I liked the vivid descriptions as far as the scents were concerned.

  4. Anna says:

    So glad to see you enjoyed it. I will be reading it soon and can’t wait! I’ve read the 1st two books in Rose’s reincarnation series and enjoyed them.

  5. Mary says:

    Lovely review, Dar. Reincarnation interests me as well as perfume. Adding it to my list!

  6. zibilee says:

    This is the first review of this book that I have seen, and I have to admit that it makes me want to grab it out of my pile and get to it soon! I also love fragrances and smelly stuff, and my husband jokes about how many body sprays I have hidden all over the house, but hey, you never know when you are going to need to smell good! This was a wonderful review, Dar, and I will have to let you know what I think when I finally do get to it!

  7. Sandy says:

    I got this book at SIBA…they were really pushing it. I love smells too, in fact I have some friends that laugh and call me “olfactory Sandy” because I always have a candle or incense burning. I even fantasized that I would get a job in France as a “nose”. But I digress. I’ve read a couple of Rose’s reincarnation books, and wasn’t all that impressed with them. But I will read this. It is all about the smells.

  8. Serena says:

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVED this book. It’s likely to make my best books of the year. I loved it that much and you could totally smell the perfume wafting up from the pages…I loved all that extra info in the arc about her research.

    And the mystery was well done.

  9. Muzette says:


    I am ashamed to admit that I have this book in my ARC pile, but haven’t read it yet! I’m going to have to though! Thanks for the review!


  10. blodeuedd says:

    I read the.. something book by her and was not won over, so not my genre

  11. I’m not so sure about the reincarnation parts, but the perfume parts sound fascinating!

  12. Samantha says:

    I’ll admit that I skimmed your review since I have a copy downloaded onto my Kindle. I’m super excited to hear that you enjoyed it though as I’m looking forward to reading it!

  13. Staci@LifeintheThumb says:

    I had to skim your review because I will be starting this one this weekend!! I’m glad that you enjoyed it so much that you read it in one day! I’m excited to read this and the perfume aspect is what captured my attention too!!

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