Thursday, September 30, 2021

Friday Focus: The Friday 56 and Book Beginnings


It's Friday . . . time to share book excerpts 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.

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.

The Perfume Thief

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.


From GoodReads:  A Gentleman in Moscow meets Moulin Rouge in this stylish, sexy page-turner about Clementine, a queer American expat and notorious thief of rare scents, who has retired to Paris, only to return to her old tricks in hopes of protecting the city she loves when the Nazis invade in 1941.

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.


This Friday Focus: The Friday 56 & Book Beginnings post was originally composed and/or compiled and published by Catherine for the blog,  It cannot be republished without attribution. 

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  1. I do like the tone of the quotes, I'm definitely intrigued as well! I got slight whiffs (ha!) of 'The Perfume' by Suskind from this as well. I do love that we have an older protagonist as well, there aren't enough of those around! I hope you enjoy it and that you have a lovely weekend :)
    Juli @ A Universe in Words

  2. I recieved this book awhile ago as an ARC and really enjoyed the story

    Here is my link:

  3. Oh, Clementine sounds like an intriguing character! Great excerpts. Here's mine: “BRAVE GIRL, QUIET GIRL”

  4. Very interesting snippets, especially that 56! She sounds like a strong woman! Happy weekend!

  5. Wow. What a complex plot. How does one go about stealing the scent off people?