PLOT: 5/5

“Being a woman is difficult. I can see why my mother didn’t like her own gender. We can do so much. Give so much. But not everyone wants what we’re offering. And in the end, we’re left with…pieces of a whole. Shards. Splinters. Chips. Pick them up, they cut our hands. Leave them on the ground, they cut our feet. It’s hard for us to just walk away.”

― Alka Joshi, The Perfumist of Paris

I couldn’t contain my excitement as I eagerly awaited the release of the last book in the Jaipur Trilogy, “The Perfumist of Paris” especially after falling head over heels for The Henna Artist. To say I wasn’t disappointed would be an understatement. It provided the perfect, satisfying conclusion to all the characters’ journeys we’ve been following throughout the series.

The plot

Radha, Lakshmi’s younger sister, is now 32 and lives in Paris in 1974. She’s married to her French husband, Pierre, and has two young daughters whom she adores, a stark contrast to her painful experience of giving up her firstborn at the tender age of thirteen. In the charming streets of Paris, she stumbles upon her true passion when she’s offered a position at her friend’s grandfather’s perfumery.

Here, Radha discovers not only her talent but also her deep love for crafting personalized fragrances that bring joy to her customers. Slowly but steadily, she carves a niche for herself in this enchanting world of perfumery. Now, what she yearns for, as her professional life blooms, is for Pierre to not only understand her newfound passion but also wholeheartedly support and encourage her.

Opportunity knocks when she’s entrusted with her first major project: creating a scent inspired by a painting in a prestigious Parisian art gallery. To achieve this, Radha embarks on a journey to India, seeking the guidance of her sister Lakshmi and the courtesans of Agra, who possess the art of using fragrances to captivate their clients. In the rich tapestry of India, Radha discovers the missing piece of her creative puzzle.

However, upon returning to Paris, her past starts to resurface, casting wider cracks in her already delicate marriage. To add to her challenges, she faces resistance at work from someone who wishes to see her fail.

The question looms: Can Radha summon the strength to stand up for herself and pursue her heart’s true desires?

My thoughts

“The Perfumist of Paris” is the perfect finale to the Jaipur Trilogy series, and let me tell you, it’s an absolute gem! This book not only provides wholesome entertainment but also ties up every character’s story from Book 1 with a beautiful resolution.

Now, I’ll be honest, after finding Book 2 just “okay,” I was a tad skeptical about how Book 3, set 20 years later in Paris, would unfold. But oh boy, from the very first pages, I was completely immersed in Radha’s captivating journey. The book is divided into four parts, each concluding with a significant phase in Radha’s life, and it keeps you eagerly turning the pages.

Alka deserves a standing ovation for the meticulous research and craftsmanship that went into this book. Her descriptions of the world of scents and fragrances, the intricate details of perfume-making, the trials, and errors in perfecting the ideal combination – it’s an absolute joy to read. Trust me, you’ll never smell a perfume the same way again when you pick up a bottle for yourself.

The “The Perfumist of Paris” is a rollercoaster of emotions, with enough drama to keep you hooked. It explores themes of guilt, the heart-wrenching experience of a mother parting with her child, and the unexpected blossoming of friendships (seriously, your mother-in-law turning into your greatest ally when you need her the most – who saw that coming?).

What struck me the most was the book’s profound message: people come into your life when you need them the most and only stay for a certain period. Isn’t that the truth? Radha’s journey is a testament to this.

But that’s not all; the book offers a glimpse of India, shedding light on the lives of the courtesans of Agra, their struggles, the early stirrings of female empowerment, and the interconnected lives of Lakshmi, Malik, Kanta, and Dr. Jay. It’s a fitting conclusion that ties up all the loose ends.

And here’s a juicy tidbit – the entire trilogy is being adapted for the small screen, with Freida Pinto playing the role of Lakshmi. I, for one, can’t wait to see how they bring this enchanting story to life on screen for a global audience. But until then, don’t wait any longer – dive into this captivating series. Trust me; you won’t be able to put it down.

Get your copy of “The Perfumist of Paris” using the link below, and prepare for an unforgettable journey!