Monday, April 7, 2014

"That a book can envelop and immerse our senses so completely is truly a marvelous thing."~Judy S.

A lush and imaginative novel that crisscrosses time as a perfumer and a mythologist search for the fine line between potion and poison, poison and passion…and past and present.

Florence, Italy—1533: An orphan named René le Florentin is plucked from poverty to become Catherine de Medici’s perfumer. Traveling with the young duchessina from Italy to France, René brings with him a cache of secret documents from the monastery where he was trained: recipes for exotic fragrances and potent medicines—and a formula for an alchemic process said to have the potential to reanimate the dead. In France, René becomes not only the greatest perfumer in the country but the most dangerous, creating deadly poisons for his Queen to use against her rivals. But while mixing herbs and essences under the light of flickering candles, Rene doesn’t begin to imagine the tragic and personal consequences for which his lethal potions will be responsible.

Paris, France—The Present: A renowned mythologist, Jac L’Etoile, is trying to recover from personal heartache by throwing herself into her work, learns of the 16th century perfumer who may have been working on an elixir that would unlock the secret to immortality. She becomes obsessed with René le Florentin’s work—particularly when she discovers the dying breathes he had collected during his lifetime. Jac’s efforts put her in the path of her estranged lover, Griffin North, a linguist who has already begun translating René le Florentin’s mysterious formula. Together they confront an eccentric heiress in possession of a world-class art collection. A woman who has her own dark purpose for the elixir… a purpose for which she believes the ends will justify her deadly means. This mesmerizing gothic tale of passion and obsession crisscrosses time, zigzagging from the violent days of Catherine de Medici’s court to twenty-first century France. Fiery and lush, set against deep, wild forests and dimly lit chateaus, The Collector of Dying Breaths illuminates the true path to immortality: the legacies we leave behind.
Judy S. says:
"I absolutely loved this book! This is the third in a series of artistic suspense novels, and quite possibly her best yet. If you like perfumery, Renaissance history, French chateaus with secret rooms, mysterious engravings on ancient relics, and art woven through your fiction, then you will enjoy this read. 

During the reign of Catherine de Medici, the story is set in Barbizon, France, at an ancient chateau, Le Belle Fleur, that is bestowed with architectural details by Da Vinci, and art by del Sarto, Cellini, etc. Its cellars tunnel deeply, and the manse has secrets ... many. As time alternates between 1573 and the present, they are gradually revealed.

As a modern-day heiress to the House of E'toile Perfumery, Jac is looking for a coveted elixir that will reanimate (reincarnate, if you will) dying breaths collected in the 16th century. It's a quest to honor her dying brother's wishes, and to complete his work toward solving that alchemical puzzle.

What I liked most about this book is that Rose's writing revels in the sensory experience -- delivering fully the scent of ambergris, the feel on the skin of a misting rain, the rich smell of an ancient forest, the velvety touch of moss, and the hidden desires of the human heart. That a book can envelop and immerse our senses so completely is truly a marvelous thing."

No comments: