Jac L'Etoile has always been haunted by the past, her memories infused with the exotic scents that she grew up surrounded by as the heir to a storied French perfume company. In order to flee the pain of those remembrances--and of her mother's suicide--she moved to America. Now, fourteen years later she and her brother have inherited the company along with its financial problems. But when Robbie hints at an earth-shattering discovery in the family archives and then suddenly goes missing--leaving a dead body in his wake--Jac is plunged into a world she thought she'd left behind. Back in Paris to investigate her brother's disappearance, Jac becomes haunted by the legend the House of L'Etoile has been espousing since 1799. Is there a scent that can unlock the mystery of reincarnation - or is it just another dream-infused perfume?
Frustrated, he exhaled and inadvertently blew his candle out.It must have been all the deep breaths, or perhaps the pervasive darkness. Maybe it was the stale air that made him so dizzy. It didn’t matter. As he battled the vertigo, his awareness of the scent becamemore powerful, more intimate. Finally, he began to identify specific ingredients. Frankincense and myrrh, blue lotus and almond oil. All popular in Egyptian fragrances and incenses. But there was something else, elusive and just beyond his reach.Standing alone, in the dark, he was so deep in concentration he didn’t hear the footsteps of the rest of the party as they came closer.“What’s that odor?”The voice startled the perfumer. He turned to Napoléon, who’d just entered the inner chamber.
|Author M.J. Rose|
I was reading Cleopatra (69 BCE to 30BCE), who was the last pharaoh of Ancient Egypt, and found she was fascinated with and some say obsessed by scent. Marc Anthony built her a fragrance factory where he planted now extinct flora and fauna including groves of balsam trees (important in the creation of perfume at the time) confiscated from Herod.In the 1980s a team of Italian and Israeli archaeologists believe they unearthed the factory at the south end of the Dead Sea, 30 km from Ein Gedi. Residues of ancient perfumes along with seats where customers received beauty treatments were found there.Cleopatra was said to have kept a recipe book for her perfumes, entitled Cleopatra gynaeciarum libri. The book has been described in writings by historians Dioscorides, Homer and Pliny the Elder. No known copy of the book exists today.When I read about that book, I knew I had the idea for a new novel.