The Perfume Garden 3


I haven’t been able to read much since I was away for the weekend.

After this morning’s read, I realize there are several “fronts” in the novel.

There is the present-time subplot with Emma, and old Freya and Charles. Emma has been in a love triangle, with Joe, her life partner, having an affair with the third person of their business, Delilah. Naturally, Emma walked out, something that Joe recriminated her. Now it’s September 11, 2001, and Emma is pregnant with Joe’s baby after the last night they were together. Joe learns about the existence of the baby just before he goes to a meeting in the World Trade Center. It is the day the twin towers are hit by terrorists, and Joe doesn’t make it. In the middle of her grief, Delilah calls Emma, proudly announcing that she and Joe had married a month before. So Delilah gets to inherit a great part of the business and all of Joe’s assets. Emma is hurting, not just because of Joe’s betrayal but also because of his death. I think Emma is better off without Joe, and even if Joe had made out of the twin towers alive, I don’t think she should have get back with him. Charles, Emma’s uncle, is right; he was just a seducer, stringing along Emma and Delilah. The man was not good, and Delilah is quite vile as well.

Now Emma has decided to move to Valencia permanently to raise her child there, which is not something Freya and Charles approve of. The elderly pair of brothers are quite bitter about Spain after what they lived during the war. I think their attitude is a bit over the top. In 2001 Spain was very different to the country they experienced during the war. Their story is the second front of the book. Freya travels to Spain to work as a nurse, and she meets a Canadian doctor who she falls in love with, and they plan to marry. There is no mention of Tom Henderson at present, so I guess that he was killed there. And was Freya’s daughter, Liberty, Tom’s daughter? Freya mentions being unable to get pregnant because her period has stopped. Emma is now reading some letters that her mother left for her before she died, and Liberty writes to her about a family secret she should ask Freya about. What is this family secret? Is it about Liberty’s origins?

This takes me to the third front, which is Rosa and Jordi. Rosa is a Spanish dancer with Granada who is in love with Jordi. They have been fighting in Madrid, but since Rosa is pregnant, Jordi sends her to Valencia, where he is from, to live with his older brother Vicente. Rosa doesn’t like being apart from Jordi, but she can’t argue. I wonder if Rosa’s child might be the key to the story. I tend to let my mind wander, so I am playing with the idea that Rosa’s child might be Liberty, and somehow the child ended up with Freya and in England. So that might be the real reason why Freya has never set foot in Spain again and why she is so against Emma living in Spain.

Now the story is becoming more and more interesting. The references to the war are heartbreaking, and this is just a sample of what the conflict was really like for both sides.


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