The Collector of Dying Breaths

collector-of-dying-breaths-cover   Title: The Collector of Dying Breaths

Author: M.J. Rose

Publisher:  Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc

Pages:  385 Pages

Genre: historical fiction, mystery, paranormal thriller, suspense

Source: Amazon Book Page, Goodreads

Rating:  4 Stars



Florence, Italy—1533:  An orphan named René le Florentin is plucked from poverty to become Catherine de Medici’s perfumer. Traveling with the young duchessina from Italy to France, René brings with him a cache of secret documents from the monastery where he was trained: recipes for exotic fra­grances and potent medicines—and a formula for an alchemic process said to have the poten­tial to reanimate the dead.  In France, René becomes not only the greatest perfumer in the country, but also the most dangerous, creating deadly poisons for his Queen to use against her rivals. But while mixing herbs and essences under the light of flickering candles, René doesn’t begin to imag­ine the tragic and personal consequences for which his lethal potions will be responsible. Paris, France—The Present: A renowned mythologist, Jac L’Etoile—trying to recover from personal heartache by throw­ing herself into her work—learns of the sixteenth-century perfumer who may have been working on an elixir that would unlock the secret to immortality. She becomesobsessed with René le Florentin’s work—particularly when she discovers the dying breaths he had collected during his lifetime. Jac’s efforts put her in the path of her estranged lover, Griffin North, a linguist who has already begun translating René le Flo­rentin’s mysterious formula. Together they confront an eccentric heiress in possession of a world-class art collection, a woman who has her own dark purpose for the elixir . . . for which she believes the ends will justify her deadly means. This mesmerizing gothic tale zigzags from the violent days of Catherine de Medici’s court to twenty-first-century France. Fiery and lush, set against deep, wild forests and dimly lit cha­teaus,The Collector of Dying Breaths illuminates the true path to immortality: the legacies we leave behind.



I found this book while scrolling through my newsfeed on facebook – I follow a lot of book pages. It was compared to Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel’s Legacy Series. Let me just say that is a complete bald face lie. The two cannot compare to each other. Its not a bad thing but I felt just a tiny bit let down. Moving on now…I loved this book. From what I can see on Goodreads this is #6 in the reincarnationist series however I found that this stood well on it’s own and will only go looking for The Book of lost Fragrances and MAYBE Seduction. The Collector of Dying Breaths flip flops between time periods and perspective which kind of makes sense when you encounter Jac L’Etoile. She is special because she can access the memories from her past life and from what i understood the memories of other people from the past as well. Jac comes from a long line of perfumers and while this is not what she does exclusively this gives her an “in” on a project that is surrounding the life, life work, love, and death of  famous perfumer Rene le Florentin who was saved by none other than Catherine de Medici herself. Rene on the run from a crime he did not commit believes he can bring people’s souls back to life. Needless to say pieces of this project were brought to the present and this is where Jac, her brother, Griffin, and basically the whole family comes in. I wont give away anymore of the plot but I will say it gets interesting. I truly enjoyed the way that the book shifted perspectives, from past to present and back. For me it made the story grow. I know i have complained about this method before but the author does it in such a way that it is unmistakable which time period you are in and it doesn’t even seem to break the stride of the story at all. I like that Jac while she doubted herself learned to trust herself and her instincts and in the end embrace her off the wall gift. There is a bit of a romance theme to it but it was not the main focus of the story. This story was steeped in history and perfumery. That to me was the best part of the the WHOLE book – The perfume aspect. It was just so different for me to encounter in a story and piqued my interest enough to have me swirling essential oils about to see what i come up with. It wasn’t too terribly long but it was certainly a page turner. I couldn’t put it down and was in the end very happy that I had stalked down the physical copy down in Books a Million.  The cover was eye catching and it made me even more curious to read it. I love rich covers. Suspense wise I didn’t think that it was heart stopping and gut wrenching. Yes, i rushed to see what happened next but in a pleasantly anxious way that didn’t give me heart palpitations. I was just happy to read the book and it was wonderful.


Recommendation: E copy or Hard copy I say give this a go and be transported back to a time where science and magic were one and the same. Meet the father of perfumes in the novel and become even more curious about the characters and the past itself. Enjoy the fragrant journey through this novel and let me know what you think.




2 thoughts on “The Collector of Dying Breaths

  1. I read this book a few months ago and really enjoyed it. I love Rose’s storytelling style. I also wish each book came with a scratch and sniff section for all the fragrances 🙂 great review!


    1. I agree with the scratch and sniff part 150%!! Normally switching back and forth between time periods and point of views confuses and irritates me but I think she more than pulled it off into a cohesive easy to follow and love story. Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving your feed back!


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