Book Review: The Collector of Dying Breaths by M.J. Rose

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Title: The Collector of Dying Breaths
Author: M.J. Rose
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: April 8, 2014
Hardcover; 384p
ISBN: 978-1-4516-2153-2


Praise for The Collector of Dying Breaths:

“History, mystery, ambition, lust, love, death and the timeless quest
for immortality…a riveting tale of suspense.”
– B.A.Shapiro, New York Times bestselling author of The Art Forger

“Mysterious, magical, and mythical…what a joy to read!”
– Sara Gruen, New York Times bestselling author



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The Collector of Dying BreathsThe Collector of Dying Breaths
A Novel of Suspense
M.J. Rose
Atria Books, April 2014
ISBN 978-1-4516-2153-2

From the publisher—

In 1533, an Italian orphan with an uncanny knack for creating fragrance is plucked from poverty to become Catherine de Medici’s perfumer. To repay his debt, over the years René le Florentine is occasionally called upon to put his vast knowledge to a darker purpose: the creation of deadly poisons used to dispatch the Queen’s rivals.

But it’s René’s other passion—a desire to reanimate a human breath, to bring back the lives of the two people whose deaths have devastated him—that incites a dangerous treasure hunt five centuries later. That’s when Jac L’Etoile—suffering from a heartache of her own—becomes obsessed with the possibility of unlocking Rene’s secret to immortality.

Soon Jac’s search reconnects her with Griffin North, a man she’s loved her entire life. Together they confront an eccentric heiress whose art collection rivals many museums and who is determined to keep her treasures close at hand, not just in this life but in her next.


There are few series these days in which I never miss an installment, mainly because I read so much that I don’t have the time to keep up with series no matter how much I may like them. It doesn’t help that I’m not a speed reader. Still, there are a handful that I just don’t want to miss and The Reincarnationist series is one of those.

Technically speaking, this isn’t a true series because the first three books would properly be termed standalones but they all have the same theme of reincarnation and they all have a connection to a past-life research group known as the Phoenix Foundation while the later books also revolve around perfumes and their special properties.

The real appeal to me in The Collector of Dying Breaths is in the historical time period and characters. Catherine de Medici is larger than life even 500 years later and she has always fascinated me, along with her interactions with all the titans of her world. Since René le Florentine was also a real person and did, in fact, have a years-long relationship with Catherine as her perfumer and poisoner, this particular tale became the crux of Ms. Rose’s wonderful storytelling for me.  René was truly as reprehensible a person as one could find in the 16th century but the author wraps him in a cloak of humanity that makes him entirely captivating. Having Catherine such a notable part of the story was the icing on the cake for me. Now she was a woman no one could ignore 😉

This absorption in history is Ms. Rose’s true strength in this series. Her deep research is clear as is her love of her chosen settings and characters. Adding a large dose of suspense makes The Collector of Dying Breaths one of my favorite entries in the series and I thank the author for once again giving us a cracking good read.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, May 2014.

About the Author


MJ RoseM.J. Rose is the international best selling author of fourteen novels and two non-fiction books on marketing. Her fiction and non-fiction has appeared in many magazines and reviews including Oprah Magazine. She has been featured in the New York Times, Newsweek, Time, USA Today and on the Today Show, and NPR radio. Rose graduated from Syracuse University, spent the ’80s in advertising, has a commercial in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC and since 2005 has run the first marketing company for authors – The television series PAST LIFE, was based on Rose’s novels in the Renincarnationist series. She is one of the founding board members of International Thriller Writers and runs the blog- Buzz, Balls & Hype. She is also the co-founder of and

Rose lives in CT with her husband the musician and composer, Doug Scofield, and their very spoiled and often photographed dog, Winka.

For more information on M.J. Rose and her novels, please visit her website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.


“It is with irony now, forty years later, to think that if I had not been
called a murderer on the most frightening night of my life, there
might not be any perfume in Paris today. And that scent—to which
I gave my all and which gave me all the power and riches I could
have hoped for—is at the heart of why now it is
I who call myself a murderer.”

From The Collector of Dying Breaths

MJ Rose Perfume Bottle

“I miss your fragrance, sometimes I miss it this much that
I can clearly smell you in the air.”—Quaisar Iqbal Janjua


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