New Book – The Perfume Garden by Kate Lord Brown

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Publishing year: 2012

This is one of these books that combine two time frames, which I love, and different settings.

One of the settings is Spain in 1936 when the Civil war is raging all through the country. In the first chapter we meet a man and a woman, both photographs taking photos of the war, and the man Andre apparently has made a name for himself under a fictitious name, Robert Capa. We also get to meet Freya, who is an English nurse who comes to Spain to help, and she writes to her brother Charles to join her.

The plot alternates the past with the present in 2011. We get to know Emma, a young woman. Emma is Freya’s granddaughter, and her mother died recently. Apparently, Liberty, Emma’s mother, had some kind of company that sold perfume. Joe, who used to be Emma’s boyfriend, has now a part in the company and the third owner is Delilah, who got between Emma and Joe, and now she and Joe are together. Emma wants to leave the past behind and sell her part to the Americans, but the past is not possible to forget as she is pregnant with Joe’s baby. From the little we have been shown, I understand that Joe and Emma comforted each other just after Liberty died, and now a baby is growing in Emma’s womb. She hasn’t told Joe yet since he is in America with Delilah. Now Emma is in London visiting her grandmother Freya, but she intends to travel to Spain as her mother bought a house in Valencia. Freya is totally against Emma’s intentions as something terrible must have happened to her during the war that has left such a mark on her that she swore years ago to never set foot in Spain again.

The beginning of the book is intriguing and promising. I am always apprehensive about books by foreign authors who set the action in Spain. I can’t say I’ve found an author who has been able to portray Spain in the true light. Somehow the authors I’ve read showing Spain in their pages have fallen short, and there are often quite a few inaccuracies. Maybe in this case it will be different, and the Spanish characters and the country will be shown in a genuine fashion.

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