High in the hills of Valencia, a forgotten house guards its secrets. Untouched since Franco’s forces tore through Spain in 1936, the whitewashed walls have crumbled, and the garden, laden with orange blossom, grows wild. Emma Temple is the first to unlock its doors in seventy years. Emma is London’s leading perfumier, but her blessed life has taken a difficult turn. Her free-spirited mother, Liberty, who taught her the art of fragrance making, has just passed away. At the same time, she broke up with her long-time lover and business partner, Joe, whose baby she happens to be carrying. While Joe is in New York trying to sell his majority share in their company, Emma, guided by a series of letters and a key bequeathed to her in Liberty’s will, decides to leave her job and travel to Valencia, where she will give birth in the house her mother mysteriously purchased just before her death. The villa is a perfect retreat: redolent with the exotic scents of orange blossom and neroli, dappled with light and with the rich colors of a forgotten time. Emma makes it her mission to restore the place to its former glory. But for her aging grandmother, Freya, a British nurse who stayed in Valencia during Spain’s devastating civil war, Emma’s new home evokes memories of a terrible secret, a part of her family’s past that until now has managed to stay hidden. With two beautifully interwoven narratives and a lush, atmospheric setting, Kate Lord Brown’s The Perfume Garden is a dramatic, emotional debut that readers won’t soon forget.
On the Hills of Valencia, a house with secrets, and a garden that is so beautiful described you can almost smell the aroma coming through the pages. This evocative debut is brilliant! Let’s not forget love, ties of family, loss and war. Powerfully written and the author honors the reader with an emotional setting, time period, wonderfully written characters…long after I read this novel I continued to think of Freya, Rosa, Macu, Liberty, Emma and Joe. They are forever stamped in my mind.
This is one of the best stories I have read in 2015. What first drew me to this novel was the title and book cover. Then when I read the book description, I knew this would be a winner and it was. The story actually went beyond my expectations I had for it. I will definitely be reading this story again and I highly recommend it!
Five Star Rating
Stephanie M. Hopkins