“Sometimes real passion means living the life you’ve always wanted.”

 

NO MAJOR SPOILERS

What do you do when your husband leaves you, the divorce is final, and basically all you get is the house that you subconsciously don’t want? You ignore the fact that the furnace needs repaired and let it blow up. Then you move to an apartment complex lovingly referred to as Splitsville by the tenants. So begins Madame Mirabou’s School of Love.

But if the title gives you visions of the female tenants of the complex receiving words of wisdom from a perpetually happily married matriarch while they all sip wine you’re going to be surprised.

This is a charming little book that lightly delves into the art of perfumery. Sprinkled throughout the narrative are descriptions of different scents, when to use them and the memories they invoke. This is a nice addition to the story; informative without being intrusive.

Nicole’s new life involves waiting tables at a local organic restaurant, helping her neighbors in Splitsville, coping with her daughter’s decision to live on the other side of the country with her father, and testing the waters of being a single woman again after so many years. Top it off with a little will-the-insurance-company-pay-up and what-to-do-with-the-rest-of-my-life quandaries and it all wraps up nicely.

This is a light book. With the exception of Madame Mirabou’s emotional instability, which is not dwelled on, nothing too depressing happens. This makes for a lovely get-away book, a good beach or vacation read. Some wonderful things about this book that make it stand out from other books of this genre is that Nicole, the main character, isn’t perfect either on the inside or the outside. She’s 40-ish, on the plumper side, she is aware of the how the world works, and she works for a living and relizes the consequences of missing a shift.

As an audio book “reader” the narrator is very important to me. This one was great. The narration flowed nicely with different and distinctive voices for each character. The narrator’s voice was easy on the ears and added to the story unobtrusively. That may sound strange if you aren’t an audio book aficionado but those that listen to audio books a lot will know what I mean. The voice of the narrator should never remind you that they are narrating. There shouldn’t be a time when you are shocked out of the story-world by the narrator’s voice.

The one thing about this book that really stuck with me is how it made me more aware of how scents affect us. White Shoulders perfume reminds me of my Grandmother. Smoke from a brush fire reminds me of my ex and our firefighting days. The last state I lived in the air always smelled heavy and oppressive. Since I’ve returned to my home state I’ve noticed that the air has is lighter with light scents of Tide (from my neighbor’s laundry), grills firing off burgers and freshly mown grass. Is it always the scents that invoke these feelings? Or the fact that I’m back home where I love it that filters out unpleasant odors that would interfere with my feelings and memories? Weeks later I’m still thinking about this. Every time I encounter a new or strong scent I think of Madame Mirabou’s School of Love. And really, isn’t that what books are meant to do?

Madame Mirabou’s School of Love rates a 4 on my bookometer. It’s on my favorite list and there are a few friends that I will recommend it to.

 

Reviewed by:

Teresa M

Added 25th May 2015

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Teresa M

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