Thursday, April 09, 2015

Scent of Triumph by Jan Moran ~ Review & Giveaway

Title: Scent of Triumph: A Novel of Perfume and Passion
Author: Jan Moran
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publication Date: 31st March 2015
Pages: 384
Book Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Synopsis: When French perfumer Danielle Bretancourt steps aboard a luxury ocean liner, leaving her son behind in Poland with his grandmother, she has no idea that her life is about to change forever. The year is 1939, and the declaration of war on the European continent soon threatens her beloved family, scattered across many countries. Traveling through London and Paris into occupied Poland, Danielle searches desperately for her the remains of her family, relying on the strength and support of Jonathan Newell-Grey, a young captain. Finally, she is forced to gather the fragments of her impoverished family and flee to America. There she vows to begin life anew, in 1940s Los Angeles.

Through determination and talent, she rises high from meager jobs in her quest for success as a perfumer and fashion designer to Hollywood elite. Set between privileged lifestyles and gritty realities, Scent of Triumph is one woman’s story of courage, spirit, and resilience.

My Thoughts:
The story opens as England declares itself at war with Germany. The WWII setting is what initially appealed to me, England, France, Poland but Scent of Triumph is actually more sweeping family drama and one woman's determination to provide and care for her remaining family after facing great tragedy. 

Danielle is a fiercely determined, clever, hard-working, resilient woman and I admired that about her but I didn't always feel an emotional connection with her. I'm not sure how to explain it, it might be that I wasn't quite so enamored once Danielle was living in Los Angeles. Despite tragic losses she seemed so cool and removed and focused, I actually felt the distance but when Danielle was immersed in creating a perfume she came alive to me. 

I thought parts of the story were a little predictable and I'll also be honest and say I found the ending disingenuous. Despite these points there was much to love. 

I loved Danielle's mother-in-law Sophia and her small but significant, and lasting part, her courage really touched me. I liked Jon, and Jon and Danielle together, it was so frustratingly obvious they were meant for each other and I wanted to shake both of them for the misunderstandings. 

I loved the artistry, history and tradition of perfumery, I felt Danielle's love for the creative process, the trial and error composition and design of a new perfume. I loved Moran's descriptions of the Bretancourt family perfumery gardens in Grasse, so beautiful I want to visit. I loved how Moran's writing appealed to my senses, I could smell what she was describing, my mouth actually watered at the "sweet, buttery scent of the boulangerie in Grasse where they bought croissants ..." and the perfume aspect gave the book a very sensual feel. 

"She waved blotter strips of paper under her nose, then made notes in her journal. Too much bergamot in this one, too tart; no depth in this one; bring forward the orange blossom in another."

"She inhaled again, going farther, detecting the bouquet of jasmine and rose, rich and silky, entwined with a spicy note of carnation, adding verve and vitality, robust brilliance. It needs a splash of complexity here, a sprig of basil there, an accent of clove."

Overall, Scent of Triumph was a little different from what I was expecting but a lovely, entertaining read. 

Cover: cover fairy worked on this one ... it's beautiful!  

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Tour Wide Giveaway:
To enter to win a signed copy of Scent of Triumph, please complete the giveaway form below.

Giveaway starts on April 1st at 12:01am EST and ends at 11:59pm EST on April 17th.
Giveaway is open to residents in the US only and you must be 18 or older to enter.
Winners will be chosen via GLEAM on April 18th and notified via email.
Winners have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.


  1. I enjoy WWII settings, and this novel sounds like it will have a new dimension. Thanks for the giveaway

  2. Like this one. Don't count me in though.

  3. Great review! I read this book a few weeks ago and agree with all your points. It did make me more thoughtful about what perfume I put on in the morning!

  4. This sounds like a wonderful book!!! Thanks for another great review!!!

  5. I do think I want to read it :)

  6. Looks like fun, but i am curious abouth the ending now!

  7. That is indeed a stunning cover. (Not really my sort of read, but I can always appreciate a good cover!) :-)

  8. I'd like to read Scent of Triumph. I enjoy historicals and anything around WWll.
    Thanks for the post.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com


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