Welcome to my stop on the Collector of Dying Breaths book tour! Today I'm sharing my review of the book - so read on for the book's details and my thoughts. To follow the rest of the tour, click on the banner above.
The Collector of Dying Breaths
Author: M.J. Rose
Release Date: April 8, 2014
Publisher: Atria Books
In 1533, an Italian orphan with an uncanny knack for creating fragrance is plucked from poverty to become Catherine de Medici’s perfumer. To repay his debt, over the years René le Florentine is occasionally called upon to put his vast knowledge to a darker purpose: the creation of deadly poisons used to dispatch the Queen’s rivals.
But it’s René’s other passion—a desire to reanimate a human breath, to bring back the lives of the two people whose deaths have devastated him—that incites a dangerous treasure hunt five centuries later. That’s when Jac L’Etoile—suffering from a heartache of her own—becomes obsessed with the possibility of unlocking Rene’s secret to immortality.
Soon Jac’s search reconnects her with Griffin North, a man she’s loved her entire life. Together they confront an eccentric heiress whose art collection rivals many museums and who is determined to keep her treasures close at hand, not just in this life but in her next.
Set in the forest of Fontainebleau, crisscrossing the lines between the past and the present, M.J. Rose has written a mesmerizing tale of passion and obsession. This is a gothic tale perfect for fans of Anne Rice, Deborah Harkness, and Diana Galbadon.
Praise for The Collector of Dying Breaths:“History, mystery, ambition, lust, love, death and the timeless quest for immortality…a riveting tale of suspense.” – B.A.Shapiro, New York Times bestselling author of The Art Forger
“Mysterious, magical, and mythical…what a joy to read!” – Sara Gruen, New York Times bestselling author
The Collector of Dying Breaths is an imaginative and richly detailed novel that spans centuries, continents, and generations with intrigue and passion. The story revolves around the L'Etoile family - one of the most prominent and respected perfumers of France. The reader learns of Rene La Florentine - a monk in the 16th century who was Catherine de Medici's personal perfumer and secret poison maker. Rene is incredibly talented when it comes to creating the perfect scent, but his real objective is to finish the work his mentor started - to collect a person's final breath and put it into another's body to bring the deceased back to life.
The story turns to the 21st century where Jac L'Etoile has inherited the ancient family business and craft of perfume making after the untimely death of her younger brother. Jac finds Rene's notes and obsession of returning people from the dead and she tries to finish the work that he started so long ago. In her quest, Jac encounters an old love, an eccentric heiress, and several other fascinating characters. The journey she takes spans not only countries but centuries as well, which puts Jac's unique gift of recalling past lives to great use.
The novel was full of vivid details, which immediately drew me into the story. The settings, characters, and different scenes throughout the book are described with extreme care and rich imagery, to the point where I could practically smell the oils and perfumes and I felt as if I was in 16th century France. The author takes the world inside the pages of the novel and immerses the reader so deeply - to the point of total enchantment. The characters were all very well rounded with distinctive personalities - showing both their strengths and their flaws, their hopes and fears, and their thoughts and emotions. I felt like I knew Jac personally before the novel was finished and I loved meeting each character we encounter throughout the book. The plot is full of mystery, passion, and history. Being told from two varying viewpoints, from two different time periods, was a fantastic choice for telling the story. It connects the present day characters and happenings back to where they all began and what happened during that time. I found the idea of reanimating people with their dying breath to be compelling and exciting, so the mystery and the passion that occurs around the search for this ability had me eagerly reading each page to see what was going to happen next. In conclusion, this is by far one of the best books I've read so far this year. It's beautifully written with an unique story and unforgettable characters. Very highly recommended for fans of historical fiction, mystery, and general/literary fiction.
M.J. Rose is the international best selling author of fourteen novels and two non-fiction books on marketing. Her fiction and non-fiction has appeared in many magazines and reviews including Oprah Magazine. She has been featured in the New York Times, Newsweek, Time, USA Today and on the Today Show, and NPR radio.
Rose graduated from Syracuse University, spent the ’80s in advertising, has a commercial in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC and since 2005 has run the first marketing company for authors – Authorbuzz.com. The television series PAST LIFE, was based on Rose’s novels in the Renincarnationist series. She is one of the founding board members of International Thriller Writers and runs the blog- Buzz, Balls & Hype. She is also the co-founder of Peroozal.com and BookTrib.com.
Rose lives in CT with her husband the musician and composer, Doug Scofield, and their very spoiled and often photographed dog, Winka.
For more information on M.J. Rose and her novels, please visit her website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.