Publication Date: March 31, 2015
St. Martin's Griffin
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance
When French perfumer Danielle Bretancourt steps aboard a luxury ocean liner, leaving her son behind in Poland with his grandmother, she has no idea that her life is about to change forever. The year is 1939, and the declaration of war on the European continent soon threatens her beloved family, scattered across many countries. Traveling through London and Paris into occupied Poland, Danielle searches desperately for her the remains of her family, relying on the strength and support of Jonathan Newell-Grey, a young captain. Finally, she is forced to gather the fragments of her impoverished family and flee to America. There she vows to begin life anew, in 1940s Los Angeles.
Through determination and talent, she rises high from meager jobs in her quest for success as a perfumer and fashion designer to Hollywood elite. Set between privileged lifestyles and gritty realities, Scent of Triumph is one woman's story of courage, spirit, and resilience.
Praise for Scent of Triumph"SCENT OF TRIUMPH [is a] World War II epic." -Los Angeles Times
"Though romance figures importantly in [SCENT OF TRIUMPH], Danielle's professional life is most appealing, profiting from perfume expert Moran's (Fabulous Fragrances, 1994, etc.) authentic experience...The casual demeanor with which Danielle always notices scents in her environment helps establish her character and professional credibility in a charming way...Danielle makes for a strong, unusual heroine who doesn't always make wise decisions, although her resilience, style and knowledge remain admirable.... [A] historical fiction carried by a complex, resourceful heroine with a nose for business." -Kirkus Reviews
“Warm and well written, with characters who attract the reader’s sympathy and affection. A lovely story well-told, which will appeal to romantics, fashion and perfume devotees, and fans of historical fiction.” -Amy Edelman, founder of IndieReader.com
Guest Blog Post for SCENT OF TRIUMPH on Chanel No. 5, Joy, Mitsouko
by Jan Moran, excerpted from Vintage Perfumes
Thank you for allowing me to pick up my pen and guest host for you today during the SCENT OF TRIUMPH blog tour debut for St. Martin’s Press. The main character in my novel is Danielle Bretancourt, who is a French perfumer and couturier. Set against the 1940s background of World War II, Danielle’s world is also filtered through her olfactory sense, or her sense of smell, so I thought I’d share some of my research on perfumery to help bring that sense to life while you read.
For years I worked in the beauty industry; I cataloged thousands of new and classic perfumes for women and men, and created touch-screen programs for Sephora, DFS, Nordstrom and JCPenney stores, work for which I received a FiFi award from The Fragrance Foundation in New York.
When I began to write, it seemed natural to write about perfumery. Perfume and aromas are Danielle Bretancourt’s professional frame of reference, so vintage perfumes are laced throughout the book. As a couturier, she also notices many visual details throughout the story. The juxtaposition of beauty with war serves to further heighten the devastation of the war. Danielle is desperate to reunite her family, and in the resistance, but she is forced to make a difficult decision to protect her family. The saga is told from a woman’s view on war, a point of view often lacking in history. The question that haunted me was what did women do to survive? What would you do to survive, and what choices would you make?
On Vintage Perfumes
Chief among vintage perfumes are the perennial classics of Chanel No. 5, Joy, and Mitsouko, which have fanned the flames of romance for nearly a hundred years.
Even if you’ve never worn them, chances are someone you know does. Our olfactory sense is the strongest memory trigger we have, with a direct path to the limbic center of the brain, the seat of memories and emotions. While these perfumes might conjure memories of your mother or grandmother, they’re still hot, haute scents for fashion-forward women.
In Scent of Triumph, my protagonist, Danielle Bretancourt, has specific memories or encounters with each one of these perfumes. (Without giving the scenes away, I wanted to share the history on each perfume, so when you read SCENT OF TRIUMPH, you’ll have extra insight as to why these were included.)
These fragrances are quite different; Mitsouko is warm, elegant and mysterious; Chanel No. 5 is powdery and sophisticated; Joy is rich in flowers and exuberantly feminine. Try them all, but choose the one that speaks to your soul.
Mitsouko by Guerlain (1919) – Created on the eve of the Roaring Twenties, Mitsouko reflects the Far Eastern style that became the rage in the flamboyant years after World War I. Third generation perfumer Jacques Guerlain developed Mitsouko for women of passion, intensity, strength, and introspection. The Guerlain family was terribly affected by World War II; Jacques Guerlain lost his son in battle, and the perfume factory was bombed. The fact that Guerlain survived the war is indeed a testament to the family’s dedication to perfumery.
Mitsouko opens with fruity top notes of tangy bergamot and smooth, mellow peach. A lilac blend follows, dissolving into a woody chypre drydown, redolent of vetiver, oakmoss, and amber. Mitsouko is a sensual, voluptuous fragrance, like a dark, full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon.
Mitsouko means “mystery” in Japanese and was inspired by a character in the Claude Farrère novel, La Bataille, or The Battle. The story revolved around the ill-fated love of an English officer and the wife of the ship’s commander – a beautiful Japanese woman named Mitsouko. Farrère had mentioned another Guerlain fragrance, Jicky, in one of his novels, so Jacques Guerlain reciprocated the honor by naming his fragrance after a Farrère character. And so Mitsouko lives on, in print and in fragrance. It remains one of the great jewels of the House of Guerlain.
Chanel No. 5 (1921) – Chanel No. 5 was the first fragrance from Parisian couturier Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, who was one of the first designers to introduce a perfume. According to Chanel, the secret behind Chanel No. 5 is an extraordinary, powdery blend of aldehydes – ingredients that defy categorization–combined with rich floral and warm amber notes. Take a tip from Marilyn Monroe – when the press once asked what nightwear she wore to bed, she smiled and answered, “Chanel No. 5.” And that was all.
What inspired the numeric name? Chanel once reported that when she asked Ernest Beaux to create a fragrance for her, he presented her with several scents, and she selected the bottle numbered “5.” Coincidentally, her couture collection was scheduled for presentation on the fifth day of the fifth month – May 5. Interpreting this as a good omen, she bestowed upon the fragrance the name of Chanel No. 5. It was the popularity of the early Chanel fragrances that spawned the designer fragrance industry of today.
Joy by Jean Patou (1930) – French couturier Jean Patou had set out to create a fragrance “free from all vulgarity” at any cost, as well as “impudent, crazy, and extravagant beyond reason.” Indeed, the sumptuous scent quickly became revered as the world’s most extravagant perfume and to this day Joy remains one of the costliest perfumes to produce, according to the Patou firm.
The dominant notes are absolute of jasmine and Bulgarian rose, two of the world’s rarest and most expensive essences. Each ounce contains the essence from more than 10,000 jasmine flowers and twenty-eight dozen roses.
Jean Patou launched his quest for Joy in 1926 when he took his assistant, cafe society woman Elsa Maxwell, with him to Grasse to work with perfumers on the new scent. Together they searched for a fragrance that would meet the exacting requirements of the best-dressed and most discriminating women of the world. After exhaustive testing they were presented with the formula for Joy; it called for twice the amount of essential oils that other popular perfumes contained. But alas, the perfumer told them it was too expensive to be commercially viable. That cinched it. Hence was born the “costliest fragrance in the world,” and women the world over had to have it.
SCENT OF TRIUMPH Extras
Each one of these perfumes is mentioned in SCENT OF TRIUMPH, so when you come across them, now you can further appreciate the character’s frame of reference in the story.
As you might imagine, I could only include a small amount of historical detail without slowing down the saga, so I compiled some of this research into another book, VINTAGE PERFUMES. For a limited time, if you buy SCENT OF TRIUMPH, simply email a receipt or a take a selfie with the book or your ereader, and I’ll send you a free digital PDF edition of Vintage Perfumes as a thank-you.
If you’re in a book club, or want to experience vintage perfumes as you read, I’ve included a Reader’s Guide in the book, and a vintage perfume “aromatrack” on my site so you can explore more classic perfumes. Thank you again to my host, and I hope everyone enjoys reading SCENT OF TRIUMPH.
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Jan has been featured in numerous publications and on television and radio, including CNN, Women's Wear Daily, Allure, InStyle, and O Magazine. As an editor and writer, she has covered fragrance, beauty, and spa travel for a variety of publications such as Cosmopolitan, Elle, Costco Connection, and Porthole Cruise.
A perfume and beauty industry expert, she is the creator of Scentsa, a touch screen fragrance finder in Sephora stores.
From Jan: "I love smart and fierce female protagonists. I hope you enjoy these books, and if you'd like to Skype me into your book club meeting, simply send me a message!"
For more information and to sign up for Jan Moran's newsletter visit her official website. Jan blogs at Jan Moran Writes. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Goodreads, and LinkedIn.
Special Offer from Jan Moran!
Jan Moran is running a special incentive on her website for a free digital ebook of her new non-fiction book, Vintage Perfumes, to everyone who purchases Scent of Triumph from March 31 to April 30! All you have to do is email your receipt to Jan Moran at email@example.com, along with a photo of yourself with the Scent of Triumph book, eBook, or your tablet.
Scent of Triumph Blog Tour ScheduleWednesday, April 1
Interview & Excerpt at Passages to the Past
Thursday, April 2
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Spotlight & Excerpt at Genre Queen
Friday, April 3
Review & Excerpt at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book
Interview at Let Them Read Books
Monday, April 6
Guest Post at The Maiden's Court
Tuesday, April 7
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews
Wednesday, April 8
Excerpt at The Never-Ending Book
Thursday, April 9
Review at The Eclectic Reader
Tuesday, April 14
Interview at A Literary Vacation
Thursday, April 16
Guest Post at Book Nerd
Friday, April 17
Review at The Lit Bitch
Guest Post at Mina's Bookshelf
Interview at Reading Lark
GiveawayTo enter to win a signed copy of Scent of Triumph, please complete the giveaway form below.
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Scent of Triumph