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Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Perfume Garden by Kate Lord Brown


The Perfume Garden
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Summary:
 
The Perfume Garden combines the gripping storytelling of Kate Morton with the evocative settings of Victoria Hislop to tell this sumptuous story of lost love and family secrets set between modern day Valencia and the Spanish Civil War. High in the hills of Valencia, a forgotten house guards its secrets. Untouched since Franco's forces tore through Spain in 1936, the whitewashed walls have crumbled, the garden, laden with orange blossom, grown wild. Emma Temple is the first to unlock its doors in seventy years. Guided by a series of letters and a key bequeathed in her mother's will, she has left her job as London's leading perfumier to restore this dilapidated villa to its former glory. It is the perfect retreat: a wilderness redolent with strange and exotic scents, heavy with the colours and sounds of a foreign time. But for her grandmother, Freya, a British nurse who stayed here during Spain's devastating civil war, Emma's new home evokes terrible memories. As the house begins to give up its secrets, Emma is drawn deeper into Freya's story: one of crushed idealism, lost love, and families ripped apart by war. She soon realises it is one thing letting go of the past, but another when it won't let go of you.

‘Brown’s pacing is exquisite, revealing each twist slowly and deliberately, leaving you gripped to the end.'
We Love This Book (The Bookseller)
‘If I could have given this book 11/10 I would have done so.’ Novelicious
‘Sweepingly romantic … heartbreaking at times; a vivid, gripping read’
Katherine Webb, author of The Legacy
Summary & Cover taken from Goodreads.com
Length: 479 pages (Paperback)
Source: Review Copy
Available Formats: Print
Publication Date: June 1st 2012 by Atlantic
 
The Perfume Garden was first read by Kate Lord Bron and it was the first novel I've read set (in part) during the Spanish Civil War which I absolutely loved reading about. I haven't seen many historical fiction novels set in that time period so now that my interest is piqued I'm looking forward to reading more books like this one.
 
I enjoyed how this novel was told using two different story lines. I know that using this method is more complex and harder for authors to pull together and make cohesive yet still have some relative independence from each other but I really think the author did a bang up job bringing it all together and the way the chapters alternated was great.
 
The characters were interesting but I really loved Emma's character the best. She had so much going on emotionally in the book that it was so hard not to feel for her but I was glad to see her come into her own so I could see her grow as a character and finally learn how to set herself free and I felt while the other characters were well developed she was my favourite from the beginning.
 
The plot was very well paced and I liked the perfume element to the story played out. As a lover of perfumes myself I enjoyed learning a little bit about them and I enjoyed Emma's love for them and the story made me want to go out and visit Spain and get lost in the beauty of the country.
 
Overall, I thought that The Perfume Garden was an excellent read and I'm glad I was able to escape to a place I haven't read many books set in during a time period that I'm not all that familiar with. There were so many emotions captured in the book it was like an emotional roller coaster through time and it's one that I will be reading over and over again and I can't wait to read more by Kate Lord Brown.
 
I highly recommend The Perfume Garden to fans of historical fiction, novels that are told in alternating points of view and time periods as well as those interested in reading a book set in Spain during the Spanish Civil War that will break your heart and make you smile.
 

About the Author

Kate Lord Brown 1Kate grew up in the wild and beautiful Devon countryside. After studying philosophy at Durham University and art history at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, she worked as an international art consultant, curating collections for embassies and palaces in Europe and the Middle East. She is married to a pilot, and lives with her family in Qatar. Her debut novel ‘The Beauty Chorus’ was inspired by the many hours she spent on airfields in the UK, and the experiences of pilots in her family during WW2. Her second novel about the Spanish Civil War, ‘The Perfume Garden’, draws upon the years she lived in Spain, and will be published in paperback in April 2013 by Atlantic.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my free and honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are 100% my own.


 
Loved it!
★★★★★
 
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5 comments:

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  2. I haven't heard of this one but I really like the cover. I have never read a book on Spanish Civil war and your review makes me want to go pick this up. Two different story line sometimes works for me, at others, not. Glad to know it worked for you. Great review, Kimberly. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. The cover is so pretty, and the book sounds really great!

    ^_^

    ReplyDelete
  4. Well, I wasn't really a fan of historical fiction before. But now, that I have read some, it really intrigues me and I love it
    So I cannot wait to add this to my TBR and possibly, read it sometime in the future
    Your reader,
    Soma
    http://insomnia-of-books.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks for reviewing, and taking part in the tour Kimberly!

    ReplyDelete

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