Renee began this Throwback Thursday meme at Its Book Talk as a way to share some of her old favorites as well as sharing books that she wants to read that were published over a year ago. Books that were published over a year ago are almost always easier to find at libraries or at a discounted sale price. As I have been sifting through my TBR list and purging those books that no longer hold my interest, I came across several from years past that I’d love to share with you!
Title: The Collector of Dying Breaths by M.J. Rose
Published: April 2014
Published by: Atria Books
My rating: 4/5
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.
This book was my first introduction to Rose’s writing and I’ve picked up several more by her since then. I simply fell in love. Typically when a book jumps between two different time lines, as this one does, I end up annoyed and don’t enjoy the book. I always feel like it interrupts the flow of the story but not in this case. Both the past and present flow together seamlessly. This is a mesmerizing story and if you want to give any of Rose’s works a try I would definitely recommend this one first. It is the sixth book in her Reincarnationist series but you can easily pick up any of the books in the series without having read the others. The theme is ongoing but the story line, at least so far as I’ve noticed, is confined to each book. I would definitely recommend them.