The Perfume Lover: A Personal History of Scent
By: Denyse Beaulieu
Source: Advanced Reading Copy courtesy of the publisher & GoodReads First Reads programme
What if the most beautiful night in your life inspired a perfume? When Denyse Beaulieu was growing up in Montreal, perfume was forbidden in her house, spurring a childhood curiosity that became an intellectual and sensual passion. She pursued this passion to Paris, where she now lives, becoming a respected fragrance writer. But little did she know that it would also lead her to achieve a perfume lover’s wildest dream.
When Denyse tells a famous perfumer of a sensual night spent in Seville under an orange tree in full blossom, wrapped in the arms of a beautiful young man, the story stirs his imagination, and together they create a scent that captures the essence of that night. As their unique collaboration unfolds, the perfume-in-progress conjures intimate memories, leading Beaulieu to make sense of her life through scent—a sort of Eat, Pray, Love of fragrance. Throughout the book, she weaves the history of perfumery into her personal journey, evoking the masters and the masterpieces, the myths and the myth-busting, down to the molecular mysteries that meld our flesh to flowers.
The Perfume Lover is an enticing account of the complexity of composing a fragrance, and a uniquely candid insider’s view into the world and history of fragrance.
I kindly received an advanced reading copy of this novel from Penguin Canada through GoodReads. I don’t read a lot of memoirs or nonfiction these days, nor is perfume a major feature of my everyday life (it’s there, I use them every now and then but beyond that I don’t know much about it), but the premise of this book was interesting.
This book is part of the Books on France Reading Challenge 2013 that I am participating in.