Publication Date: April 8, 2014Atria Books Hardcover; 384p ISBN-10: 1451621531
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.
Praise for The Collector of Dying Breaths
“History, mystery, ambition, lust, love, death and the timeless quest for immortality…a riveting tale of suspense.” – B.A.Shapiro, New York Times bestselling author of The Art Forger
“Mysterious, magical, and mythical…what a joy to read!” – Sara Gruen, New York Times bestselling author
M.J. Rose has managed to imbue the world of perfume creation with a mystique and grandoure that draws readers in much the same manner that an enticing scent on warm skin draws a lover.
The present and the past coincide within this read; with stories of the perfumer Renee Le Florintine, who is plucked from obscurity by none other than Catherine de Medici, and brought into her court to server as her personal perfumer. For Rene however, all things fragrant are not the rose. He soon discovers that his duties to the queen are far more nefarious than he could have imagined. He must use his gift to concoct death potions that his queen then uses against her rivals.
Rene is a man with a few secrets of his own. Determained to right the wrongs and regain the losses of his past, he becomes obsessed with reanimation of the dead. Armed with a store of ornate bottles containing the 'last breaths of the dying', Rene is a man bound both by his passion for creation and his duty to destroy.
The link to modern time can be found in the story of Jac L'Etoile. Jac is a woman struggling with her own spectors of grief and loss,doing all she can to distance herself from the perfuming world into which she was born, and the powerful psychic images that the scents found there evoke. When her work as a mythologist puts Rene's journals and their alchemical secrets in her lap; the lure of possibility is too great to resist.
This book has much to offer the reader. There is of course the historical aspect with Rene and his tale of court and crown. There are the almost magical elements of both alchemy and reincarnation. There are two perfectly heart wrenching tales of loss. Let's not forget lies, intrigue, and mystery. If that's not enough...there is romance, romance, romance.
Readers who are not familiar with the writings of MJ Rose will be happily surprised to find tha this is not the first story involving Jac. Not to worry though the story found here does well as a stand alone.
Readers will also be impressed by the share amount of research that has gone into Rose's descriptions of the uses of oils, scents, and the like. She seamlessly incorporates the nuts and bolts of the machine into the story in such a way that one is never distracted from the beauty and flow of said work.
The only true negative of this astounding read is the slowing down of the plot toward the end. This is an engrossing and stimulating read that is sure to pique your interest, light your fire, and stir your soul.
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.