May 6, 2014

Book Review: The Collector of Dying Breaths: A Novel of Suspense

A lush and imaginative novel that crisscrosses time as a perfumer and a mythologist search for the fine line between potion and poison, poison and passion…and past and present.

Florence, Italy—1533: An orphan named René le Florentin is plucked from poverty to become Catherine de Medici’s perfumer. Traveling with the young duchessina from Italy to France, René brings with him a cache of secret documents from the monastery where he was trained: recipes for exotic fragrances and potent medicines—and a formula for an alchemic process said to have the potential to reanimate the dead. In France, René becomes not only the greatest perfumer in the country but the most dangerous, creating deadly poisons for his Queen to use against her rivals. But while mixing herbs and essences under the light of flickering candles, Rene doesn’t begin to imagine the tragic and personal consequences for which his lethal potions will be responsible.

Paris, France—The Present: A renowned mythologist, Jac L’Etoile, is trying to recover from personal heartache by throwing herself into her work, learns of the 16th century perfumer who may have been working on an elixir that would unlock the secret to immortality. She becomes obsessed with René le Florentin’s work—particularly when she discovers the dying breathes he had collected during his lifetime. Jac’s efforts put her in the path of her estranged lover, Griffin North, a linguist who has already begun translating René le Florentin’s mysterious formula. Together they confront an eccentric heiress in possession of a world-class art collection. A woman who has her own dark purpose for the elixir… a purpose for which she believes the ends will justify her deadly means. This mesmerizing gothic tale of passion and obsession crisscrosses time, zigzagging from the violent days of Catherine de Medici’s court to twenty-first century France. Fiery and lush, set against deep, wild forests and dimly lit chateaus, The Collector of Dying Breaths illuminates the true path to immortality: the legacies we leave behind.

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I know that I haven't posted a book review in a while.  It wasn't because I have stopped reading, never that.  Instead I was savoring a book. 

THE COLLECTOR OF DYING BREATHS isn't a book that one rushes through. This book was so rich and lush that I was reading it in small bites so that I could truly savor it.  The characters are so multidimensional that they seem to step right off the pages.  

Ms. Rose moves her readers from the present day back to fifteen century France with a grace to be envied.  I was able to pick up the sights and, more importantly, the fragrances of both time periods.  I fell in love with Jac and Rene's characters.  I felt sorry for Serge and felt a chill when his stepsister entered the room.

THE COLLECTOR OF DYING BREATHS is truly a remarkable book and I plan on picking up the rest of the catalogue of this series.  I recommend it to any of my readers who enjoy their romance and suspense with an otherwordly twist.

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