Published July 26th 2016 by Berkley (first published May 8th 2014)
Format read: E-ARC via publisher
Elena Rossini has a rare gift: She has the ability to decipher the ingredients of a perfume from its scent alone. Passed down through generations of her family, Elena’s ability delights as easily as it overwhelms, especially when she catches a scent in the air that evokes painful memories of her mother.
For so long, Elena has avoided the world that was her past. But when a betrayal destroys her dreams for the future, her best friend lures her from Florence to Paris. There, Elena finds that when she is wrapped in the essences of flowers, herbs, and spices, she doesn’t feel quite so alone.
Once again immersed in the ancient craft of perfumery, Elena searches for a celebrated family recipe that no perfumer has been able to replicate. And as she opens herself up to secret scents and distant memories, Elena discovers the very essence of the woman she could become...
Cristina Carboni introduces readers to Elena, a woman with an elegant, unusual gift that has been passed down in her family through the ages. Though her gift has felt like more of a curse for some time now, life makes sure that she begins to pursue it in earnest...
There are many things to love about this book, beginning with the fact that it appears to be a translation. The translator has done an amazing job of evoking the original atmosphere of the Italian, creating a whimsical tone that brings Elena's gift to life.
While a woman coming to terms with a cursed family gift is a story that is not unfamiliar in fiction, Caboni's tale is told in a way that is elegant and consuming. She helps us get in-depth with Elena's background and motivations, pushing us to accept her journey and the changes that she undergoes.
Though the book ends somewhat expectedly, the beauty of the journey is one that will not be forgotten any time soon.
Strongly recommend for readers who are looking for transportive summer read. This is the one for you.