From time to time I review books with a French connection here at Blog in France. Today I’m playing host to M J Rose’s virtual book tour with her historical fiction, Collector of Dying Breaths. The French element is that it features Catherine de Medici, Queen of France, and France’s most famous parfumier, René le Florentine.
The sense of smell is one of the more primal and powerful senses that human beings possess – a tantalising aroma is more than capable of subverting even the most focussed of minds just as it is capable of conjuring up vivid memories of scenes or moments long gone. And as Jac L’Etoile, heroine of M.J. Roses’s book, “The Collector of Dying Breaths” is all too aware, scent and memory entwined can be as much a blessing as it is a curse.
Heiress to a perfuming empire, it becomes readily apparent just as to why Jac would rather follow her own path rather than tread in the family’s footsteps: particular scents can cause vivid flashbacks into times long gone.
This ability becomes quite useful as the story of the book diffuses, as the plot takes us back to the 16th century court of Catherine de Medici, and more precisely to René le Florentin. He is not only one of the greatest perfumers of his age, but also the most dangerous in that he is a master poisoner as well as a perfumer; despite his protesting conscience.
The story begins in earnest once René’s work is uncovered five hundred years later by Jac and sparks both passion and obsession in that René may have indeed discovered the secret of immortality, a veritable elixir of life that yet requires one very particular and exotic ingredient to be brought to fruition…
The story is a heady one; it is a thriller; well-written and believable with a powerful story with evocative descriptions of both perfumes and people diffused without. Well worth a read! And do follow the rest of the book’s tour.
M.J. Rose, is the international bestselling author of 13 novels;Lip Service, In Fidelity, Flesh Tones, Sheet Music, Lying in Bed, The Halo Effect, The Delilah Complex, The Venus Fix,The Reincarnationist, The Memorist, The Hypnotist, The Book of Lost Fragrances, and Seduction.
Rose is also the co-author with Angela Adair Hoy of How to Publish and Promote Online and with Randy Susan Meyers of What to Do Before Your Book Lauch.
Getting published has been an adventure for Rose who self-published Lip Service late in 1998 after several traditional publishers turned it down. Editors had loved it, but didn’t know how to position it or market it since it didn’t fit into any one genre.
Frustrated, but curious and convinced that there was a readership for her work, she set up a web site where readers could download her book for $9.95 and began to seriously market the novel on the Internet.
After selling over 2500 copies (in both electronic and trade paper format) Lip Service became the first e-book and the first self-published novel chosen by the LiteraryGuild/Doubleday Book Club as well as being the first e-book to go on to be published by a mainstream New York publishing house.
Rose has been profiled in Time magazine, Forbes, The New York Times, Business 2.0, Working Woman, Newsweek and New York Magazine.
Rose has appeared on The Today Show, Fox News, The Jim Lehrer NewsHour, and features on her have appeared in dozens of magazines and newspapers in the U.S. and abroad, including USAToday, Stern, L’Official, Poets and Writers and Publishers Weekly.
Rose graduated from Syracuse University and spent the ’80s in advertising. She was the Creative Director of Rosenfeld Sirowitz and Lawson and she has a commercial in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.
She lives in Connecticut with Doug Scofield, a composer, and their very spoiled dog, Winka.
Her website is at http://www.mjrose.com/
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