The book of lost fragrances by M. J. Rose


Very short synopsis:

The Book of Lost Fragrances fuses history, passion, and suspense, moving from Cleopatra’s Egypt and the terrors of revolutionary France to Tibet’s battle with China and the glamour of modern-day Paris. Jac’s quest for the ancient perfume someone is willing to kill for becomes the key to understanding her own troubled past.the ancient perfume someone is willing to kill for becomes the key to understanding her own troubled past.




In a nutshell:

I read it in: English

I liked it:    Not really, it was a DNF

For people who like: Not sure, I didn’t get past page 45. 

My thoughts (remember, it was a DNF for me, so take it with a grain of salt):

I got this book after I received an email specifically about this book from Netgalley and thought it looked and sounded interesting. Ancient Egypt, Cleopatra, a fragrance, what is not to like?

The first chapter is set in Egypt when Napoleon’s men discover an unusual tomb with a mummified couple and a fragrance so powerful, only a glimpse (or rather a tiny sniff) causes the men present to get rapterous and have visions of past love. This turned me off quite a bit, not because I don’t like the idea per se but it seemed extremely similar to Patrick Süskind’s “Perfume”. If we had been told (maybe we are, I will never know) that that fragrance was manufactured with the help of a dozen murdered virgins I wouldn’t be in the least surprised.

Anyway, then there is a chapter about the main character Jac who has always had visions and they are still plaguing her. I am sorry to say that

a. I can’t stand visions in general, I am not for psychic mumbo jumbo, and

b. visions are too easy a way to link otherwise unconnected things and resolve them.

Then there is a chapter about two Chinese discussing the recent problems between China and Tibet concerning the re-incarnation of a lama.

That was when I realized that the blurb above was not exaggerating. Ancient Egypt, the psychological problems of a Franco-American perfumer and all the other topics thrown together were just too big a hodgepodge of ideas and just didn’t do it for me.

However, if you like complicated stories with lots of storylines (that come together at the end, or so I have heard) and haven’t read “Perfume”, this might be the right book for you.

Product info and buy link :

Title The book of lost fragrances
Author M. J. Rose
Publisher Atria Books
ISBN 9781451621303
I got this book from Netgalley
Buy link Buy The book of lost fragrances

If you click on the buy link above you will be taken to The Book If you buy the book through this link I will earn a small commission. You can find my general affiliate links to The Book Depository, and here.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.

Read this post on The Book of Lost Fragrances at Beth Fish Reads 

6 Comments Write a comment

    • Like I said, it definitely reminded me of Perfume, too. I absolutely loved Perfume, I never thought one could describe how things smell in such a way. An amazing book!


    • Definitely fiction, Alex.
      Not sure if it says anything about the making of perfume, but “Perfume”, the book we talked about above, even though it is fiction, also, tells the reader a lot about how perfume was made when it was still done “by hand”. Very interesting!


  1. Thanks for posting your thoughts. I have read an M J Rose books and it does seem to be common that she has lots of different ideas in her plots. I have seen a lot of positive reviews for it, so yours provides a bit of balance.
    Marg’s last post ..Sunday Salon: Announcing….


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