Wednesday, April 22, 2015


At about the same time that Grace discovers that her husband has been cheating on her, she finds that she is heir to a recently deceased woman named Eva whom Grace has never heard of.  The novel bounces back and forth between Eva’s life and Grace’s quest to unearth her benefactor’s story.  Eva forges some fortuitous connections while working as a hotel cleaning woman, finds that she has a knack for counting cards, and becomes involved in perfume making when she impresses a guest with a fragrant homemade cleaning solution.  All in all, Eva leads a pretty exotic, if highly unlikely, existence, and does pretty well for herself, particularly considering that she has a drinking problem.  Grace, on the other hand, plunges into Eva’s history, meets Madame Zed, who created the formula for the perfume My Sin, and picks Madame Zed’s brain to find out why Eva has bequeathed her such a fortune.  Grace’s husband does her a big favor by giving her an excuse to explore a relationship with the attorney handling Eva’s estate.  This novel holds no real surprises and no real conflict, but the book is a pleasant enough read, albeit a little overly tame.  I kept hoping for some big revelation or battle, but none came.  Certainly the descriptions of fragrances, such as wool, hair, wood, rain, and, of course, flowers, that are combined into perfumes are mildly enlightening, but the subject of scents is just not something that really appeals to me.  I can’t say that I can identify the smell of snow, for example.  This book falls squarely in the genre of women’s fiction, and it’s just a tad too frilly for me.

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