This is a well researched novel set in Grasse, the perfume capital of the south of France, but at the same time it is also a great family drama with mystery, suspense and emotions that have been bottled up and divided a family for too many years. It really drew me in and I was happy to give in and let myself be immersed within the pages.
Perfumer Zoe Flore travels to Grasse from New York to collect a perfume formula left to her in a will and is suddenly thrust into a family who she never knew existed and most of them knew little about her. There is suspicion from both sides and when someone steals the formula she doesn’t know who to trust, or why anyone else would want it so badly. Then there is her journey of discovery; maybe someone here can explain why her mother left Grasse for New York so suddenly?
Philippe, Zoe’s rival, is lovely; a slightly nerdy guy for whom work comes first. He is stuck in a routine until everything he thinks of as normal suddenly dissolves with one sniff of a mysterious perfume that possesses him and has the power to change his life forever. When Philippe and Zoe find themselves competing for a big contract, this just adds pressure and more drama.
I especially loved the character of Loulou; full of teenage hormonal anger that seeped within me as I was reading it. Things are not easy for Loulou, but her independent streak and zest for life never let her down.
The characters are strong and there is so much detail that gives them layers and depth, ensuring they stay with you long after you turn the final page. I loved that we came to know the unique scent of each character, the scents they smell, the scents they create and their funny quirks, as well as the colour of their hair and eyes.
Interwoven throughout the pages are passion, love, secrets and tears as well as the cutthroat business of the perfume industry. The descriptions of the scents that are all around in this novel really added an extra dimension to the storyline and made me determined to add Grasse to my list of ‘must visit soon’ places. I need to be among the jasmine fields and I would love to know what happened next for Zoe. I’m sure you’ll feel the same having read this book.
A Perfumer's Secret: A Novel is published by Velvet Morning Press and is available in ebook and paperback format. Amazon links to this novel and others by Adria can be found below.