BOOK OF THE MONTH: Amanda Hampson’s The French Perfumer
Describe The French Perfumer in one word:
The French Perfumer tells the story of Iris Turner who takes up a secretarial role for the mysterious Hammond Brooke. She is then initiated in the mysterious world of perfume and ends up entangled in a web of intrigue and deception.
a. What sparked this concept for you?
I’d been toying with the idea of an unworldly single woman caught in a drama between a more sophisticated and manipulative man and woman for some time. I had the sense of the premise and character but not the setting. In April 2014, I set off to walk the Camino de Santiago, 800km across Spain. As often happens when you have time to think, you think about nothing on the surface but the sub-conscious is running in the background. On the 39th day of the 40 day journey, the story was bestowed on me.
b. Why did you specifically choose the perfume industry?
A close friend’s parents were perfumers, so I knew it was a fascinating area. I wanted my character to enter a mysterious world with closely guarded secrets. So perfume combined with my love of France and an interest in history seemed like something that would be fun to work with.
Was there anything surprising about the perfume industry that you learned during the research process?
That perfumers can recognise thousands of fragrances, even in the most infinitesimal amounts.
What was your biggest challenge in writing The French Perfumer?
I wanted every chapter to have a surprising twist, so that was quite challenging but a great way open my mind to alternative ways the story could play out.
What’s next for you?
I’m currently working on my next novel ‘Madame Mathilde’ which is also set in France and is about the relationship between two expat couples that starts well but, like many things in life, ends badly.
The French Perfumer
‘Shorthand typist required by English speaker in the South of France. Live-in, full board plus salary commensurate with experience.’
Iris Turner, an unworldly young Englishwoman, arrives in the French Riviera to take up a secretarial role for the mysterious Hammond Brooke. Living in a small, exclusive hotel among eccentric and unpredictable aristocrats and struggling to gain her employer’s trust, she soon realises that nothing is as it seems. Initiated into the mysterious world of perfume, she finds herself entangled in a web of intrigue and deception. Gradually discovering the truth, she gains a new understanding of the meaning of love, loyalty and betrayal.
By the bestselling author of The Olive Sisters, this is a captivating and evocative novel full of surprising twists and turns.
About the Author:
Growing up in rural New Zealand, Amanda Hampson was determined to be a writer from an early age. She moved to London in her twenties where she fell in love with British literature and developed a fascination for the complexities of British culture.
Eventually settling in Australia, she has a particular interest in the themes of place, family and the meanings of home. She now lives in Sydney’s Northern Beaches.
Author of two non-fiction books, The Olive Sisters was her highly successful debut novel, followed by Two for the Road. Her most recent novel is The French Perfumer.