05 March, 2013

#BookReview & #CharacterInterview :: Scent of Triumph by Jan Moran

Scent of Triumph is the story of Danielle Bretancourt, a talented young French perfumer with a flair for fashion and a natural olfactory gift. In the language of perfumery, she is a Nose, with the rare ability to recognize thousands of essences by memory. The story opens on the day England declares war on Germany, and Danielle and her family are caught in the midst of a raging disaster sweeping across Europe. 

Her life takes a tragic turn when her husband and son are lost behind enemy lines. She spies for the French resistance, determined to find them, but is forced to flee Europe with fragments of her family. Destitute, she mines her talents to create a magnificent perfume that captures the hearts of Hollywood's top stars, then gambles again to win wealth and success as a couturier. Her intelligence and flair attracts the adoration of Jonathan Newell-Grey, of England's top shipping conglomerate, and Cameron Murphy, Hollywood's most charismatic star.

Danielle charts her course through devastating wartime losses and revenge; lustful lovers and loveless marriages; and valiant struggles to reunite her family. Set between privileged lifestyles and gritty realities, here is one woman's story of courage, spirit, and resilience.

Set during the World War II era, the story follows the life of Danielle Bretancourt. As pregnant Danielle and her husband travels from New York to England after business trip, the Nazis threaten to sink their ship as England declares war on the Germans. That’s just the beginning. Finding herself alone and helpless during the war, Danielle taps into her inherent talent of perfumery. She creates her own perfume that leaves Hollywood in a wowed daze. All the while she also tries her best to do anything and everything in her power to reunite with her husband and son.

The character of Danielle is all about strength, perseverance and resilience. I really liked her because being pregnant and away from family without any news during the war times cannot be easy on a person. Yet she simply rolls up her sleeves and gets to work in order to survive and to reunite her family.  She is like phoenix, toiling against most difficult situations and rising from it victorious. While there are various other characters in this novel, playing different parts to give a formation to the storyline and taking it forward - to me, they all seemed a bit pale in comparison to Danielle. Jonathan, a rich businessman from the shipping industry, plays an important role in the story as he is attracted to Danielle. He is a good man.

The plot is pretty much straightforward and predictable. But that didn’t stop me from reading the book as Jan Moran already had me through Danielle and her style of writing. While I cannot label the author’s style and language as exotic, there is something very charming about it - especially at the times when she is narrates about different scents.

Overall, it’s a great historical fiction with romance, drama and adventure in it. Whats not to like?

Character Interview with Danielle Bretancourt

What is one word that best describes you?
Just one? How about two or three? Creative, determined, and tenacious. 

If you took a trip, where would you like to go?
Since I’m from Europe, I’d love to see more of the United States, my adopted country. I’d love to visit San Francisco and New York (I hear there are some excellent, authentic French restaurants there!), and ski the snowy mountains of Utah and Colorado. Of course, I’ll always love France; it’s the heart of perfumery, which is my true passion. 

How do you relax in your free time?
I love to garden… I love the aromas of fresh spring blossoms and sun-warmed herbs, even moist black dirt!

Do you play sports?
I love to dance! My mother took me to the ballet when I was a young girl in Paris, and I talked her into allowing me to take lessons. But I love all forms of dance—jazz, tango, and all the new dances in America! 

What is your favorite saying or quote? 
“Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.”  It’s a complicated French phrase, but it means that the more things change, the more they remain the same (literally), but it also means that even thought we might change our lives, we might continue to struggle with the same problems. Real change requires a fundamental shift. 

What’s the best advice you’d ever heard?
Winston Churchill once advised, “Never give up!”

What songs do you have on your iPod?
What’s an iPod? Is it like a radio?

If you won the lottery, what would you splurge on?
I’d buy all the original perfumes I could find!

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  1. I love women..I love how unconditionally they love..they sacrifice their own happiness for the sake of family. & like always the review lured me in.

  2. by the way I'd like to ask what acc. to you is your strength as a woman? And who is your fav. literary character (woman) of all times?