The Secret Ways of Perfume by Cristina Caboni

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From Goodreads: From Florence to Paris, a scent like no other can take you unexpected places . . .

Ten-year-old Elena lives in Florence with her cold and distant perfumier grandmother. Only when enveloped in aromas does Elena feel at home, and she has nurtured a unique gift: the ability to decipher the ingredients of a perfume, and experience the feelings it evokes.

Years later, Elena’s talent leads her to the cobbled streets of Paris. There she rediscovers an old, secret family perfume recipe that no other perfumier has been able to replicate.

As Elena begins to open her heart to new adventures she meets a man who is guarding his own secrets. From France’s sun-drenched lavender fields to the ancient heart of Italy, together they will follow a path of secret scents, distant memories and new hopes . . .

From Penguin:

Scents evoke the memories that linger in our minds and our hearts in this evocative, romantic, international bestselling novel.

“Remember Elena, perfume is the truth. The only thing that really counts. Perfume never lies, perfume is what we are, it’s our true essence.”

Elena Rossini has a rare gift: She has the ability to decipher the ingredients of a perfume from its scent alone. Passed down through generations of her family, Elena’s ability delights as easily as it overwhelms, especially when she catches a scent in the air that evokes painful memories of her mother.

For so long, Elena has avoided the world that was her past. But when a betrayal destroys her dreams for the future, her best friend lures her from Florence to Paris. There, Elena finds that when she is wrapped in the essences of flowers, herbs, and spices, she doesn’t feel quite so alone.

Once again immersed in the ancient craft of perfumery, Elena searches for a celebrated family recipe that no perfumer has been able to replicate. And as she opens herself up to secret scents and distant memories, Elena discovers the very essence of the woman she could become…

I received an ARC from Penguin’s First to Read.

I like both of those covers. The one with the Eiffel Tower is the Hardcover edition and the woman in the field is the Kindle edition.

The story was a bit clichéd and formulaic (ha – a pun), but I still enjoyed it very much. Some parts were repetitive and dragged, but overall I liked the characters and the journeys they went on.

I was invested in the mystery about Elena’s ancestor, Beatrice, and her lost Perfect Perfume, and how it affected generations of the Rossini women. The outcome was plausible and satisfying.

There were a few things I nitpicked about. I would have liked Elena and her mother to reconcile sooner so that the epilogue could have taken place a few years into the future. But I have my own head cannon for that.

The descriptions about the perfumes themselves were divine and delightful. I would usually read while commuting and I swear I could smell people’s perfumes more acutely than usual because of the beautiful prose. It made me want to have my own personalized perfume. There was even one part of the story that took place in a bakery, and I swear I could smell pastries.

4 out 5 Perfect Perfumes.

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One thought on “The Secret Ways of Perfume by Cristina Caboni

  1. Pingback: 2016 Book Challenge | Stephanie

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