- 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.
Today I'm featuring an upcoming read, The Perfume Thief by Timothy Schaffert. The excerpts shared are from a hardcover version borrowed from the library.
Beginning: If you're picturing me in some ladylike frock printed with posies, lace at the collar, don't. I'm not done up that way. I began wearing trousers long before ladies were allowed.
Page 56: I've had a long career of taking things from people, but rarely things I'd keep for myself. My clients would covet something priceless, and they'd hire me, the international expert at lifting perfume from the skin.
My thoughts: This book was recommended to me by a librarian friend who has introduced many fantastic reads over the years. The excerpts I shared have me very curious about the narrator and the story.
Clementine is a seventy-two year-old reformed con artist with a penchant for impeccably tailored suits. Her life of crime has led her from the uber-wealthy perfume junkies of belle epoque Manhattan, to the scented butterflies of Costa Rica, to the spice markets of Marrakech, and finally the bordellos of Paris, where she settles down and opens a legitimate shop bottling her favorite extracts for the ladies of the cabarets.
In 1941, as the German's stranglehold on the city tightens, Clem's perfume-making attracts the notice of Oskar Voss, a Francophile Nazi bureaucrat, who comes to demand Clem's expertise and loyalty in his mysterious play for Hitler's favor. Clem has no choice but to surrender fully to the con, but while she knew playing the part of collaborator would be dangerous, she never imagined it would be so painfully intimate. At Oskar's behest, and in an effort to win his trust, Clem recounts the full story of her life and loves, this time without the cover of the lies she came to Paris to escape.
Complete with romance, espionage, champagne towers, and haute couture, this full-tilt sensory experience is a dazzling portrait of the underground resistance of twentieth-century Paris and a passionate love letter to the power of beauty and community in the face of insidious hate.
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