I have always been a lover of perfumes, and I’m a perfume enthusiast. If I find myself in a shopping centre, the first thing I do is to start sniffing the perfumes. I love noticing the various ingredients, and I love discovering the story behind them. So I’m always searching for novels about scents and perfume whenever I have time.
As you can guess, I love reading about the stories behind them or simply a good novel about a perfumer. As much as I like reading non-fiction books about them, I prefer reading about perfumes (or particular scents) in novels. If you are a perfume lover like I am, I’m sure you’ll enjoy reading novels about scents and perfume as well. Happy sniffing!
Novels About Scents and Perfume
Jitterbug Perfume – Tom Robbins
“Jitterbug Perfume” is an epic. Which is to say, it begins in the forests of ancient Bohemia and doesn’t conclude until nine o’clock tonight [Paris time]. It is a saga, as well. A saga must have a hero, and the hero of this one is a janitor with a missing bottle. The bottle is blue, very, very old, and embossed with the image of a goat-horned god. If the liquid in the bottle is actually is the secret essence of the universe. As some folks seem to think, it had better be discovered soon. Because it is leaking and there is only a drop of two left.
The Book of Lost Fragrances – M. J. Rose
Jac L’Etoile is plunged into a world she thought she’d left behind when her brother. Coheir to their father’s storied French perfumery, makes an earthshattering discovery in the family archives. And then suddenly goes missing–leaving a dead body in his wake. In Paris to investigate his disappearance, Jac becomes haunted by the legend of the House of L’Etoile. If there is an ancient perfume developed in Cleopatra’s time that holds the power to unlock memories of past lives. Possessing it is not only worth living for…it’s worth killing for, too.
Fusing history, passion, and suspense in an intoxicating web that moves from Cleopatra’s Egypt. And the terrors of revolutionary France to Tibet’s battle with China and the glamour of modern-day Paris. This marvelous, spellbinding novel comes to life as richly as our most wildly imagined dreams.
The Perfume Collector – Kathleen Tessaro
One letter will turn newly-married Grace Munroe’s life upside down:
‘Our firm is handling the estate of the deceased Mrs Eva D’Orsey and it is our duty to inform you that you are named as the chief beneficiary in her will. We request your presence at our offices at your earliest convenience, so that we may go through the details of your inheritance.’
There is only one problem. Grace has never heard of Eva D’Orsey.
So begins a journey which leads Grace through the streets of Paris. And into the seductive world of perfumers and their muses. An abandoned perfume shop on the Left Bank will lead her to unravel the heartbreaking story of her mysterious benefactor. An extraordinary woman who bewitched high society in 1920s New York and Paris.
The Scent Keeper – Erica Bauermeister
Erica Bauermeister, the author of the February Reese’s Book Club pick The Scent Keeper. Presents a moving and evocative novel about childhood stories, families lost and found. And how a fragrance conjures memories capable of shaping the course of our lives.
Emmeline lives on a remote island with her father, who teaches her about the natural world through her senses. What he won’t explain are the mysterious scents stored in glass bottles. That line the walls of their cabin, or the origin of the machine that creates them. As Emmeline grows, however, so too does her curiosity, until one day the unforeseen happens.
And Emmeline is vaulted out into the real world–a place of love, betrayal, ambition, and revenge. To understand her past, Emmeline must unlock the clues to her identity. A quest that challenges the limits of her heart and imagination.
Captivating and emotional, The Scent Keeper explores the provocative beauty of scent, the way it can reveal hidden truths, lead us to the person we seek, and even help us find our way back home.
The Secret Ways of Perfume – Cristina Caboni
“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…
Meet Me In Monaco – Hazel Gaynor
Movie stars and paparazzi flock to Cannes for the glamorous film festival, but Grace Kelly, the biggest star of all, wants only to escape from the flash-bulbs. When struggling perfumer Sophie Duval shelters Miss Kelly in her boutique to fend off a persistent British press photographer, James Henderson, a bond is forged between the two women and sets in motion a chain of events that stretches across thirty years of friendship, love, and tragedy.
James Henderson cannot forget his brief encounter with Sophie Duval. Despite his guilt at being away from his daughter, he takes an assignment to cover the wedding of the century, sailing with Grace Kelly s wedding party on the SS Constitution from New York. In Monaco, as wedding fever soars and passions and tempers escalate, James and Sophie like Princess Grace must ultimately decide what they are prepared to give up for love. Shortlisted for the 2020 Goldsboro Books Historical Romantic Novel Award.
The Perfume Garden – Kate Lord Brown
A sensuously written international bestseller of lost love, family secrets, and the art of creating a perfect perfume, perfect for fans of Kate Morton and Tatiana de Rosnay.
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, and the garden, laden with orange blossom, grows wild. Emma Temple, London’s leading perfumer, is the first to unlock its doors in seventy years. Her free-spirited mother has just passed away, leaving her the house mysteriously purchased just before her death. At the same time, Emma broke up with her long-time lover and business partner, although she carries his baby.
Guided by a series of letters and a key bequeathed to her in her mother’s will, Emma makes it her mission to restore the beautiful but decaying house to its former glory. But for her aging grandmother, Freya, a British nurse who stayed in Valencia during Spain’s devastating civil war, Emma’s new home evokes memories of a terrible secret, a part of her family’s past that until now has managed to stay hidden. With two beautifully interwoven narratives and a lush, atmospheric setting, Kate Lord Brown’s The Perfume Garden is a dramatic, emotional debut that readers won’t soon forget.
The President’s Hat – Antoine Laurain
A charming fable about the power of a hat that takes the reader on a roller-coaster ride through French life during the Mitterrand years. Dining alone in an elegant Parisian brasserie, accountant Daniel Mercier can hardly believe his eyes when President François Mitterrand sits down to eat at the table next to him.
After the presidential party has gone, Daniel discovers that Mitterrand’s black felt hat has been left behind. After a few moments’ soul-searching, so Daniel decides to keep the hat as a souvenir of an extraordinary evening. It’s a perfect fit, and as he leaves the restaurant Daniel begins to feel somehow … different.
Chocolat – Joanne Harris
When a mysterious stranger, Vianne Rocher, arrives in the French village of Lansquenet with her daughter and opens an exotic chocolate boutique directly opposite the church, Father Reynaud denounces her as a serious moral danger to his flock – especially as it is the beginning of Lent, the traditional season of self-denial.
As passions flare and the conflict escalates, so the whole community takes sides. Can the solemnity of the Church compare with the sinful pleasure of a chocolate truffle?
Chocolat was Joanne Harris’ first book about Vianne Rocher, and so was turned into a popular Oscar-nominated film with Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp. The story of Vianne and her daughters was continued in Lollipop Shoes, and then in Peaches for Monsieur le Cure, and now in her new novel, The Strawberry Thief.
Gazelle – Rikki Ducornet
As mesmerizing as a tale from the lips of Sheherazade, Gazelle traces the story of Elizabeth, a thirteen-year-old American girl whose adolescent passion is awakened in the exotic climate of 1950s Cairo. While her mother-whose beauty and sexual prowess both frighten and fascinate Elizabeth-moves into a hotel to pursue a string of lovers, her father, a historian, loses himself in a world of chess and toy soldiers.
Elizabeth’s imagination, primed by an explicit edition of The Arabian Nights, leads her to fantasies about her father’s friend, a gentle, older man named Ramses Ragab, a perfume maker who visits their house regularly to play games of war and who opens her up to the mystery of hieroglyphics and so the art of exotic scents.
Do you also like novels about scents and perfume? Please share your favourite books and yes, your perfume with me in the comments below.