Friday, June 21, 2013

Friday Focus: The Friday 56 and Book Beginnings #2

It's Friday, time to share excerpts from one of my current reads with:

Book Beginnings on Fridays hosted by Rose City Reader, where bloggers share the first sentence or more of a current read, as well as initial thoughts about the sentence(s), impressions of the book, or anything else that the opening inspires.

The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice, where you grab a book and turn to page 56 (or 56% of an ebook), find one or more interesting sentences (no spoilers), and post them.

This week's selection:
The Book of Lost Fragrances
The Book of Lost Fragrances  M.J. Rose

Overview (from  A Secret Worth Dying For …

Jac L’Etoile has always been haunted by visions of the past, her earliest memories infused with the exotic scents that she grew up with as the heir to a storied French perfume company. These worsened after her mother’s suicide until she finally found a doctor who helped her, teaching her to explore the mythological symbolism in her visions and thus lessen their painful impact. This ability led Jac to a wildly successful career as a mythologist, television personality and author.

When her brother, Robbie—who’s taken over the House of L’Etoile from their father—contacts Jac about a remarkable discovery in the family archives, she’s skeptical. But when Robbie goes missing before he can share the secret—leaving a dead body in his wake—Jac is plunged into a world she thought she’d left behind.

Traveling back to Paris to investigate Robbie’s disappearance, Jac discovers that the secret is a mysterious scent developed in Cleopatra’s time. Could the rumors swirling be true? Can this ancient perfume hold the power to unlock the ability to remember past lives and conclusively prove reincarnation? If this possession has the power to change the world, then it’s not only worth living for . . . it’s worth killing for, too.

The Book of Lost Fragrances fuses history, passion and suspense in an intoxicating web that moves from Cleopatra’s Egypt and the terrors of revolutionary France to Tibet’s battle with China and the glamour of modern-day Paris. This marvelous, spellbinding novel mixes the sensory allure of Perfume with the heartbreaking beauty of The Time Traveler’s Wife, coming to life as richly as our most wildly imagined dreams.

China Tells Living Buddhas To Obtain Permission
Before They Reincarnate
April 4, 2007

Tibet's living Buddhas have been banned from reincarnation without permission from China's atheist leaders.  The ban is included in new rules intended to assert Beijing's authority over Tibet's restive and deeply Buddhist people. . .
     Excerpted from an article in the Times (UK) by Jane Macartney
Questions start to form in my mind as I read this opening does this newspaper article relate to the story overall?  What significance does it hold for the main characters?  How does it connect to 1799 Alexandria, Egypt,  the setting of Chapter 1?  I am completely drawn in by the puzzle being laid out by the author.

Page 56:
"'If it were to get into the hands of the religious zealots, it would give them fuel.  They broke the law two weeks ago.  They claimed they found a reincarnated lama in Lhasa.  Something expressly forbidden.'"

I got my signed copy of The Book of Lost Fragrances when I met the author at a BEA event in 2012.  Initially, I started the book a few months ago, when it was the chosen selection for one of my book clubs.  Even though I was enjoying the book immensely, I set it aside when I discovered that a schedule conflict would prevent me from attending the book club meeting. It took a while to get back to it, but I'm happy to say that I am now 50 pages away from finishing this book...and also one step closer to fulfilling the Spring Reading Thing Challenge I'm participating in.

When I resumed reading, I once again became deeply immersed in this historical, mysterious, suspenseful story and the lives of its characters.  M.J. Rose's writing style is wonderfully descriptive as she takes readers to such far flung corners of the world as modern day China and ancient Egypt.  I am particularly enjoying taking up residence in contemporary Paris at the House of L'Etoile, inhaling its legendary fragrances, strolling its garden maze, and living vicariously through the many generations and reincarnations of the L'Etoile family. 

Enjoy life with books...


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Friday Focus: The Friday 56 and Book Beginnings #2 was originally published by Catherine for This post cannot be republished without attribution.

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