The Perfume Garden by Kate Lord Brown was a fantastic read and will top my favorites list this year. This is a five hundred page book that literally flew by for me. The storyline is captivating, the characters endearing, and the history an added bonus. The Perfume Garden is a beautifully told and written novel of love, loss, the tragedies of war, and ultimately of the hope of new life. Something I really liked about the book was the theme of fragrance which is something I’m always taken with; how it can make us think of a certain person or evoke a certain memory. Throughout The Perfume Garden fragrance, memories, and family secrets are woven together to form a story that will touch your heart and I can promise you that you won’t soon forget it.
Emma is at a crossroads in her life. She has lost her mother and her fiance to her best friend and on top of it all she is pregnant. She needs a new start and although her mother is gone she has left Emma with a way to maybe achieve that for herself. She left her a key to a home in Valencia, Spain and Emma feels that she needs to go there – to see why her mother left her this key. She also left Emma a box full of letters on all kinds of topics covering things she wouldn’t be able to share with Emma anymore. Against the advice of her grandmother Freya but with the encouragement of her Uncle Charles Emma travels to Valencia and there finds the ramshackle home that her mother left her. This doesn’t discourage Emma though. She’s actually excited to renovate it to its former glory and to get back to what she really wants to do with her life – make fragrances.
The story goes back and forth between Emma’s life and in the past to the Spanish Civil War in the 1930’s. With war raging all around in Spain people are just trying to survive. We meet Rosa, a woman forced into a marriage she doesn’t want and her friend Macu who will protect her with her own life if she has to. It is also here that we see how Emma’s grandmother Freya risks her own life to nurse those injured and fallen in the war. The history of this war is so vividly described that I could feel the fear and hopelessness of those involved. In my head I could hear the never ending bombings and see the injured and dying young men – it left me feeling the terror that those who experienced it must have felt and respecting those that fought and worked to help who they could.
What’s fascinating about this story is how what happened back in the 1930’s/40’s impacts Emma’s life. In the face of danger and the overwhelming need for survival people often make decisions that will affect generations to come. As the years go by the secrets fall deeper and deeper into the past where they are sometimes best left. For Emma though, making a life in Valencia, the past begins to creep into the present and with that an overwhelming urge to find out just how the house and people of Valencia somehow seem to relate back to Emma.
I loved this book. It’s a story spanning generations which is something I always enjoy and the historical aspect is fascinating as well. I had not known much about the Spanish Civil War before at all and I appreciated being able to learn something while reading such a good book. This is one I highly recommend if, like me, you enjoy family sagas and stories of war.
The Perfume Garden by Kate Lord Brown is touring with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours so be sure to check out the other tour stops. Kate can be found on her website and blog as well as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. There is also a Facebook and Pinterest page for The Perfume Garden so take a look at that too. Your own copy of The Perfume Garden can be purchased at Amazon, Amazon Canada, Amazon UK, and The Book Depository. Kate has also written a short prequel (eBook) to The Perfume Garden called The Last Rose of Summer and that can be purchased at Amazon or Amazon UK.
GIVEAWAY DETAILS (Audio CD – open Internationally)
I have one Audio CD set of The Perfume Garden by Kate Lord Brown to share with my readers and I bet this would be a fantastic book to listen to! To enter…
- For 1 entry leave me a comment entering the giveaway.
- Tweet, share on Facebook, or blog for 2 extra entries.
This giveaway is open Internationally! I will draw for the winner on June 8/13. Good luck!
Source: Review copy provided by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and the Publisher. No compensation was received and all opinions are my own.