Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Romance Intrigue Novel: The Book Of Lost Fragrances by Author: M.J. Rose

The complex scent of Rose

Wow where to start to talk about this amazing book that I loved; The Book Of Lost Fragrances by M.J. Rose

It has a complicated, twisty-turny, back and forth in time plot which all resolves seamlessly; a credit to M. J. Rose’s ability to craft a story.

It has lovable, wounded, flawed characters.

It brings you into other worlds and gives you a realistic-seeming taste of them. For instance, I was vaguely aware that Paris, France has catacombs underneath. This book made them real for me.

It’s another book that has elements I would not choose in a book and yet I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

There is reincarnation and past life regression stuff. The Dalai Lama has a side-character role. There is Zen Buddhism. That’s a lot for my atheist mind to overlook. Yet I had no trouble doing so. None of those things pulled me out of Rose’s story.

It also has an element that I love, love, love; the world of fragrance, aromatherapy, scent. And part of that is in France where aromatherapy is real, serious medicine like acupuncture in Japan or ayurveda in India.

While attending school to become a Holistic Healthcare Practitioner, a term that only has meaning in California, I studied aromatherapy under Francoise Rapp*. Francoise is descended from what would be the equivalent of doctors in the aromatherapy field in France.

I found that world fascinating. I did not find a door into it that led any farther than a short visit for me, but, I would love to someday immerse myself in that world.

And for now I can do it in this book.
Perfumer's Organ

The book speaks of fragrance in the sense of perfumes; both perfumes custom-made to suit the individual; a company that mass-markets fictional perfumes with names like Rouge and Noir; and medicinal perfumes.

“This was one of the scents from The Game of Impossible Fragrances. In the scent vocabulary that made up her and Robbie’s secret language, this was Fragrance of Loyalty, Jac’s favorite. Adding notes of bergamot to a rich earthy base of oakmoss, she’d come up with a chypre—a type of warm, woody scent first made famous by the legendary perfumer Francois Coty in 1917. Fragrance of Loyalty was neither feminine nor masculine, and could be worn by either brother or sister. And that was as it should be, she said, so they both could use it to signal when something was wrong and they needed help.” The Book of Lost Fragrances by M. J. Rose.

I have to warn my regular readers – this book does not have a HEA, everyone-gets-married, ending. The ending is happy and hopeful but the soul mates, ‘Ames souers’, do not ride off into the sunset together.

I highly recommend that you read this book when you want to be completely drawn into another world. Taken away. Transported.

I also recommend a look at M. J. Rose's other books. They are listed with synposis and excerpts on her beautiful website. Some of my readers, Julie for example, will especially love her books for the past life references alone.

I used to always wear a personalized mix of essential oils. I’ve gotten away from that but I intend to delve back in. I love sweet flower essences like jasmine, rose and honeysuckle. I also love base notes like vetiver and citrus notes like bergamot and woody notes like cedar and eucalyptus and…and…and…

What kind of fragrance or scent do you like? Do you have a favorite essential oil or perfume?

*I could not find an English language website for Francoise but if you put her name in bing you find references to several articles such as this one titled, The Aromatherapy of Love, that list theories and recipes for aromatherapy.


  1. Fragrances are closely related to emotions and memories. Excellent post.

    Co-host, A to Z Challenge 2013

    1. Glad you enjoyed it. The book was great.
      Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Past lives? YAY!!!

    Ooooo, I used to have a personal scent too, and yes, MUST get back to it.

    Which answers the second question:
    essential oils, oh yeah baby! Mine was ylang-ylang, honeysuckle, patchouli, and lemongrass. Although I preferred grapefruit, just harder to find. And I had to put it on my clothes, the patchouli, while rhyming nicely with my name, can be heavy and doesn't do so well on my beige sweaty skin.

    First question: I either love, or hate, scents. Amongst the "good" ones are: anything citrus, plumeria and jasmine, but not usually rose. Yes eucalyptus!

    Lastly, uh....... my mother's maiden name was Rapp. You know, the Mexican mother? Her father was an 8th German. Not a drop of French to be found.

    1. I think 'Rapp' was her husband's name. I'm not 100% certain, though.

  3. Sounds fascinating!

    Personally, I love the lighter floral scents, though I don't often wear perfume of cologne.

    1. I like to have something in a bottle with me to sniff sometimes as much as I like wearing it.

  4. I have always liked the scent of Amber resin and wore the essential oil as my own scent for quite a while. I like lemon and tea rose and and sandalwood as well, but I've never tried to see if they all go together.

    1. Amber is an interesting scent. Of course, Amber is fascinating all the way around.

      If you want to try them together, get a small bottle of grapeseed, jojoba or sweet almond oil, put some in a small vial, add a drop or 2 of each. Keep adding until you get what you want or decide it's not going to work.

  5. I've always wanted to do my own perfume. I have no knowledge of the scents, though. All I know is that I like warm and spicy things in winter, citrusy things in summer. So that narrows it down. ;)

  6. It's pretty easy to do. Most health food stores sell essential oils. Go sniff out 2 or 3 scents you like that you think will mix well together then follow the procedure in my reply to Skye's comment.
    It's fun.

  7. One of my besties (Maewitch) is a huge scents fancier. Huge collection of oils, and has a Canadian site for selling her fave American brands.


    I decided I wanted some, one day, so she got me some things to try. I can't have anything too intense or I get a headache. I can't remember now what I bought! But I tend to like sugar-citrus types, and cucumber.

    1. It's surprising how cucumber tends to be such a clean fresh scent. I can see why you'd like it. I also favor citrus.