The Collector of Dying Breaths by M.J. Rose
From one of America’s most imaginative storytellers comes a passionate tale of love and treachery, spanning the days of Catherine de Medici’s court to the twenty-first century and starring a woman drawn back, time and again, to the past.
In 1533, an Italian orphan with an uncanny knack for creating fragrance is plucked from poverty to become Catherine de Medici’s perfumer. To repay his debt, over the years René le Florentine is occasionally called upon to put his vast knowledge to a darker purpose: the creation of deadly poisons used to dispatch the Queen’s rivals.
But it’s René’s other passion—a desire to reanimate a human breath, to bring back the lives of the two people whose deaths have devastated him—that incites a dangerous treasure hunt five centuries later. That’s when Jac L’Etoile—suffering from a heartache of her own—becomes obsessed with the possibility of unlocking Rene’s secret to immortality.
Soon Jac’s search reconnects her with Griffin North, a man she’s loved her entire life. Together they confront an eccentric heiress whose art collection rivals many museums and who is determined to keep her treasures close at hand, not just in this life but in her next.
Set in the forest of Fontainebleau, crisscrossing the lines between the past and the present, M.J. Rose has written a mesmerizing tale of passion and obsession. This is a gothic tale perfect for fans of Anne Rice, Deborah Harkness, and Diana Galbadon.
In 1500’s France, René le Florentine becomes perfumer to Catherine de Medici after she saves him after he’s been accused of murder. But being a royal perfumer isn’t his sole passion, it’s trying to capture person’s dying breath to make an elixir that will bring person back to life.
At present-day France Jac promises her dying brother to continue his work trying to figure out the dying breath mystery that he was doing for a wealthy couple. Even as Jac starts to have suspicions about the couple, she can’t leave the project that her brother was working on.
I haven’t read the previous books in the series, or any of author’s books, but this could be read as stand alone just fine.
I found the perfume making world much more interesting than I thought I would. There was lots of telling how it was made and some of it just flew over my head, but it was really interesting.
I loved René’s story and loved seeing how he grew and how he ended up doing some things he didn’t wan’t to do. He stayed loyal to the queen through everything and I was so sad to see where it led him and what it cost him.
It took more growing into Jac and I’m not sure why but I just didn’t feel that kind of connection with her that I felt with René. I don’t know if it would have been different if I had read the previous books and known her better. Her issues with Griffin was starting to annoy me but I felt like there’s something I don’t know about them.
I loved seeing how Jac’s and Rene’s lives were connected as well as their love lives.
I really liked this book and I’m sure to read the other books in the series too!
Published: Atria Books (2014)
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
About the author
M.J. Rose is the international best selling author of fourteen novels and two non-fiction books on marketing. Her fiction and non-fiction has appeared in many magazines and reviews including Oprah Magazine. She has been featured in the New York Times, Newsweek, Time, USA Today and on the Today Show, and NPR radio. Rose graduated from Syracuse University, spent the ’80s in advertising, has a commercial in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC and since 2005 has run the first marketing company for authors – Authorbuzz.com. The television series PAST LIFE, was based on Rose’s novels in the Renincarnationist series. She is one of the founding board members of International Thriller Writers and runs the blog- Buzz, Balls & Hype. She is also the co-founder of Peroozal.com and BookTrib.com.
Rose lives in CT with her husband the musician and composer, Doug Scofield, and their very spoiled and often photographed dog, Winka.