The Collector of Dying Breaths: A Novel of Suspense by M.J. Rose
From one of America’s most imaginative storytellers comes a passionate tale of love and treachery, spanning the days of Catherine de Medici’s court to the twenty-first century and starring a woman drawn back, time and again, to the past.
In 1533, an Italian orphan with an uncanny knack for creating fragrance is plucked from poverty to become Catherine de Medici’s perfumer. To repay his debt, over the years René le Florentine is occasionally called upon to put his vast knowledge to a darker purpose: the creation of deadly poisons used to dispatch the Queen’s rivals.
But it’s René other passion—a desire to reanimate a human breath, to bring back the lives of the two people whose deaths have devastated him—that incites a dangerous treasure hunt five centuries later. That’s when Jac L’Etoile—suffering from a heartache of her own—becomes obsessed with the possibility of unlocking Rene’s secret to immortality.
Soon Jac’s search reconnects her with Griffin North, a man she’s loved her entire life. Together they confront an eccentric heiress whose art collection rivals many museums and who is determined to keep her treasures close at hand, not just in this life but in her next.
Set in the forest of Fontainebleau, crisscrossing the lines between the past and the present, M.J. Rose has written a mesmerizing tale of passion and obsession. This is a gothic tale perfect for fans of Anne Rice, Deborah Harkness, and Diana Galbadon.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
There were many things about this book that made me really like it. Jac was a very well drawn character with a compassionate nature and an interesting background. From the beginning, her compassion for those she cared about made me feel close to her and want to keep learning more about her life.
That being said, this book was not as historical as I expected after reading the blurb. There is a lot of historical reference in it, and it does bounce back and forth between time periods, but much of the story is a romance set in the present day. This did not make me unhappy with the overall story, but it was much different than what I had expected. I liked the chemistry between the main character and her love interest and enjoyed the settings in this story as well.
I was impressed by how fluid the writing was much of the time, although I did feel the story changed course and lagged a bit in some spots. It was never boring, but on occasion I thought there was some overkill going on with all of the descriptions.
If you are a dedicated fan of historical/contemporary cross overs, this would be a good book to add to your personal collection. I am happy I had the chance to read it, even if it wasn’t what I had thought.
This review is based on a digital ARC from the publisher and provided by Netgalley.