The Scent of Triumph blog tour is stopping by here today. Join me in wishing Jan Moran all the best on her new book.
About Scent of Triumph by Jan Moran
Scent of Triumph is the story of Danielle Bretancourt, a talented young French perfumer with a flair for fashion and a natural olfactory gift. In the language of perfumery, she is a Nose, with the rare ability to recognize thousands of essences by memory. The story opens on the day England declares war on Germany, and Danielle and her family are caught in the midst of a raging disaster sweeping across Europe.
Her life takes a tragic turn when her husband and son are lost behind enemy lines. She spies for the French resistance, determined to find them, but is forced to flee Europe with fragments of her family. Destitute, she mines her talents to create a magnificent perfume that captures the hearts of Hollywood’s top stars, then gambles again to win wealth and success as a couturier. Her intelligence and flair attracts the adoration of Jonathan Newell-Grey, of England’s top shipping conglomerate, and Cameron Murphy, Hollywood’s most charismatic star.
Danielle charts her course through devastating wartime losses and revenge; lustful lovers and loveless marriages; and valiant struggles to reunite her family. Set between privileged lifestyles and gritty realities, here is one woman’s story of courage, spirit, and resilience.
The Mystery of Vintage Perfumes
By Jan Moran
Hello Lorenz, wonderful to join you today, and congratulations on your new books! I’m so impressed!
On my last blog stop, I covered some classic French perfumes, but today I thought I’d share a duo of romantic perfumes that harbor an element of mystery. As you read on, you’ll understand why I chose Vol de Nuit and Narcisse Noir today—excellent choices for vampire aficionados!
My novel, Scent of Triumph, is a suspenseful, historical saga surrounding a young French perfumer. The protagonist, Danielle Bretancourt, comes from a family of perfumers. This world of perfumery is her profession and her passion, so real vintage perfumes of the period are included throughout the book.
Vintage perfumes are rich in history, and their formulas have seduced decades of admirers. These fragrances are what I call the tried-and-true, as beloved today as when they were first introduced. They might be hard to find, but you’ll find it’s worth seeking out these perennial favorites.
Vol de Nuit by Guerlain (1933) – Another timeless classic from Jacques Guerlain, Vol de Nuit is a spicy, ambery Oriental scent designed for the elusive, assertive woman, and is one of the most sophisticated scents from the House of Guerlain. The sensual blend opens with fresh notes of mandarin and bergamot. Orange blossom and jonquil bloom in the heart, while vanilla, spices, and sandalwood create an aura of mystery.
Vol de Nuit, French for “night flight,” is presented in a classic Guerlain flacon. The dramatic gold-colored amber bottle is molded with the shape of French Air Force wings. Indeed, Vol de Nuit was created in homage to the daring aviators of the 1920s, and was named after the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry novel of the same name. Saint-Exupéry, also an avid aviator, was the author of many works, including Le Petit Prince.
The fragrance captures the essence of adventure, the spirit of exploration, the radiance of independence. It is an assertive scent of the 1930s; ideal for the modern woman of today.
Narcisse Noir by Caron (1912) -Created by the great perfumer Ernest Daltroff, founder of Caron, Narcisse Noir is based on the black narcissus, an exotic spring-blooming flower found in China and Persia. Narcissus is blended with aromatic sandalwood, which lends a sensual, lingering aura to a floral bouquet rife with rose and jasmine.
Narcisse Noir was one of the most important fragrances brought forth in 1912, an industrious year in the history of perfumery. It remains a truly enduring, sophisticated classic. Although Daltroff died in the 1940s, his company and fragrances live on, a tribute to his remarkable talent.
Jan Moran writes smart, stylish, sensual sagas. She’s also written several books on perfume.
“My most recent book, SCENT OF TRIUMPH, was inspired by my love of perfumery and history. In writing, I drew upon my own family history and my mother’s memories of World War II, imagining a young entrepreneur whose talent, determination, and fearlessness catapult her to the pinnacle of success, despite mounting personal tragedies and the elusiveness of love.
“I write about strong, capable, female entrepreneurs. I’m a world traveler, so I also enjoy writing about different destinations.”
Jan Moran is the author of SCENT OF TRIUMPH, a historical novel, and FABULOUS FRAGRANCES I and II, which earned spots on the Rizzoli Bookstore bestseller list. She is at work on more series in fiction and nonfiction.
As a fragrance and beauty expert, she has been featured in numerous publications and on television and radio, including CNN and Extra, 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.
Scent of Triumph
by Jan Moran
“Merci, Danielle,” the young woman said with a smile as Danielle placed an armload of fragrant white lilies next to the blush pink roses she had already chosen. “You always choose my best flowers.”
Danielle winked at her friend, the owner of the Flower Pot in Beverly Hills. “And you always have the best flowers in town, Mimi. Especially this spring.”
“Mais oui! It’s a good season. Are these for a special occasion or party?”
“These are just for me. You know I can’t resist walking past your beautiful flowers.” Danielle buried her nose in the bouquet of roses that Mimi had already wrapped in newspaper. “I feel so much better when my home is full of flowers. Their perfume always lifts my spirits.”
“Mine, too. That reminds me, my brother just sent some potted gardenias from the farm. They’re full of buds and would be perfect for the windows in your boudoir. Did you see them? They’re in the front of the shop.”
“I’ll take a look.” Danielle meandered through a brilliant maze of cut flowers, charming topiaries, and magnificent floral arrangements. She loved the scents that swirled through the air, and they really did lift her spirits.
After she had committed Cameron to the sanitarium for his alcohol and drug addictions, she tried to banish the turmoil that had been in their home. Not only had his behavior affected her, but it had also disturbed Liliana, Jasmin, and Marie. Once he was gone, she had asked a friend, who was an interior designer, to make subtle changes throughout their home using an ancient Chinese design theory called feng shui, which they all found calming and healing. The sound of waterfalls and the aroma of flowers had helped restore balance and happiness to their home, and reminded her of her uncle’s flower fields in Grasse. Since then, Danielle managed to find time in her busy schedule to shop for fresh bouquets every week, and she felt better than she had in years.
She drank in the heady aromas wafting through the air, closing her eyes from time to time as she leaned into an exotic flower or plant to breathe in its scent. I could almost be in Grasse, she thought.
She loved her friend’s shop, in fact, she had helped Mimi and her brother start their business with a small investment. They were from the Provence region of France, and while Mimi ran the retail shop, her brother oversaw their farm in a valley north of Los Angeles where they grew the flowers and plants.
The shop was busy this Saturday morning in May, bustling with people in their casual weekend clothes enjoying the warm spring weather. Danielle folded up the long sleeves on her white cotton shirt, and as sunshine streamed through the front windows, she pulled her dark sunglasses from their casual perch atop her head, shielding her eyes against the bright glare. She spied the gardenias and made her way to them.
She rubbed the glossy green leaves, touched the moist earth in the pot, and let her fingers trail along a fresh white flower bursting from a tightly swirled bud. Instinctively, she sniffed her fingers.
Perhaps I’ll capture this aroma, she thought to herself, smiling. Cool greens combined with sweet gardenia, the moist earth, the warmth of the sun—it would be perfect for this season. Maybe a new line of garden-inspired perfumes—
She squeezed her eyes shut, her fingers still hovering beneath her nose. Am I hearing things? She heard someone call her name. And not just anyone, but it sounded just like— And that scent…the patchouli, the hint of rose…it was Spanish Leather and the scent of his warm skin…oh, mon Dieu! She felt a hand on her shoulder, and felt a shiver of remembrance course through her.
Slowly she swung around. The shop seemed to fall away, and she felt suspended in the moment. She pushed her sunglasses up on her head and blinked, staring at the handsome man who stood before her. “Jon?”
“It must be kismet.” A wondrous smile spread across his face. “I stopped to buy flowers for Abigail, and I thought I saw you through the window.” He ran his hand down her shoulder and caught her hand, drawing her to him, intensifying the delicious scent of him in her nose.
“I can’t believe it, what brings you here?” She felt her heart beating wildly, and was certain he could see it beneath her blouse.
“We have a ship going out on the Pacific from Long Beach. I didn’t have much notice, what with security and all. So I thought I’d surprise Abigail.”
Danielle laughed nervously. “Oh, you would have. But she’s not here. She’s in San Francisco with Lou. He has a film shooting on location there.”
He ran a hand through his thick hair, releasing a faint scent of the sea. “Ah, once again, I should have called ahead.”
He smiled wistfully at her, his warm eyes crinkling at the corners. She noticed his face was leaner than before, but his chest was broad, and he looked more muscular. He’s even more magnificent than I remembered.
“Then our meeting really is kismet,” he murmured. His voice sounded low and gentle, yet charged with emotion and strength. “You look so different, Danielle, you’ve bloomed, just like these flowers. How many years has it been since that day outside of your apartment?”
Danielle felt her face flush, and moistened her lips to speak, but at that moment, Mimi bustled toward them.
“Did you find the gardenias?” Mimi paused and tilted her head. “Ah, I see you’ve found a friend instead. Who is this?” she asked with a curious smile.
“Jon is an old friend, and Abigail’s brother.”
“I am so very pleased to meet you,” she said, her eyes darting between Danielle and Jon. “Danielle, I have your flowers ready. Did you want the gardenias, too?”
“Oh yes, of course. I’ll take two of these.”
“Let me help you,” Jon said. “Which ones do you want?”
Reining in her emotions, Danielle pointed to two lush plants, and Jon swept them up in his arms. “What else do you have?”
Mimi gestured to the counter. “She has quite a few roses and lilies.” She glanced at Danielle and added, “How nice that you ran into Jon.”
“Yes, what luck,” Jon said with broad smile as they wound through the shop.
Danielle felt her pulse quicken, and yet, she marveled at how easily they fell into step together. It had been three, no, almost four years since they’d seen one another. Before Cameron, she thought with a jolt.
Jon paid for the flowers and scooped them into his arms. Laughing, Danielle said, “Here, I can manage the lilies.”
“How far do we have to go with these?”
“I’m parked in the back, follow me.” As he held the door for her, she glanced over her shoulder, and noticed his gaze lingering on her body, then he met her eyes.
“Nice flowers,” he said with grin.
She laughed nervously and shook her head. “I’m in the Delahaye.”
Jon walked to the car and let out a low whistle. “What a beauty—the car, too,” he added, looking appraisingly at Danielle.
“Jon, you’re being naughty. And I’m supposed to be mad at you.” She unlocked the doors.
“At me? Why?”
“Well, why shouldn’t I be? You show up again, with no notice at all.”
“Danielle, let’s not waste time on the past.” Taking the keys from her, he opened the trunk and placed the flowers inside. He drew a deep breath. “I didn’t call you, or anyone, because I didn’t know how much time I would have. As it is, I only have a few hours, and I don’t know when I’ll return.” A serious look shadowed his face for an instant. He took her hands in his. “But I’m here now, and it’s a beautiful day. May we enjoy it together?”
She smiled up at him. “Come with me to the house. My mother and the girls are visiting friends in San Diego. And you know where Cameron is. I wrote to you about that.”
He nodded. “Is he any better?”
“He’s taking this opportunity to work on new songs, and is looking forward to coming home soon.” She paused, then sighed deeply. That had been her standard answer to the press for months. Why should I lie to Jon? “Actually, he was released from the sanitarium to work on his new album, but after just a month, he had a horrible relapse and returned. But let’s not talk about Cameron.” She flipped her sunglasses back on her nose. “Want to drive?”
Although Danielle lived less than a mile from the Flower Pot, at her direction they took the long way home so that he could enjoy the fine, sleek automobile. Jon drove south and turned east on Wilshire Boulevard, enjoying the feel of the car at his command. He’d been so busy, there had been few moments to truly enjoy life, especially with a woman he found so fascinating. In truth, there had never been anyone like Danielle in his life, not even Victoria.
Danielle. This was not the woman he’d left in France, not the woman he’d last seen in Los Angeles. Had he thought she would remain unchanged after all she’d endured?
He remembered the young woman he’d met on the Atlantic crossing before the war in thirty-nine, the waif-like creature she had been, even when she was pregnant, with large, luminous eyes in her pale face. He recalled the last time he’d seen her in Los Angeles, right after she’d married Cameron. Could he really blame her for that? She’d been so emotionally scarred and painfully poor when she’d first arrived in Los Angeles; he knew that now, but he hadn’t realized the extent of her suffering at the time. Though they’d corresponded some through the years, and he’d followed her hard work and remarkable accomplishments, still, her new image had startled him when he first saw her in the flower shop. Even in her casual white shirt and cotton pants, she was clearly an independent woman in charge of her destiny. She was so… He paused, searching for words. So sophisticated, so self-assured.
Turning onto La Cienega, he glanced at Danielle, hardly believing that she actually sat beside him this glorious sunny day. She lifted her hand to smooth her auburn hair.
He smiled to himself. Her every movement transfixed him; she was graceful and refined. She’d become a woman. An elegant woman. He turned onto Sunset Boulevard and they wound through the neighborhood.
“So you approve of my choice of car?”
He laughed. “What’s not to love?” He really meant her, not the car, but she seemed a little nervous since he’d mentioned Cameron, so he added, “I’ve always thought this was one of the most gorgeous cars ever built. I met René Dreyfus, the auto racer, not long after he won the Million Franc race in thirty-eight in his Delahaye.” He laughed. “What a great victory over the Nazis that was.”
“Among others,” she said with a world-weary smile.
“Rumors are still swirling in Europe about Hitler’s demise,” Jon added with a grimace. “There were so many different accounts in the press these past couple of weeks, but it’s now been established that he did himself in.”
“Good riddance. Turn here,” she said, indicating her street. “And here we are.” He eased the car into the driveway of the large red-bricked Tudor-styled home, and turned off the ignition.
“I’m so glad to see you, Jon,” she said, touching his hand.
As he curled his fingers around hers, and felt her slim fingers respond, a rush of desire coursed through him. “I’m glad I ran into you. I’d thought about calling you, many times, actually.” He leaned into her and casually kissed her cheek, marveling at the softness of her skin, and the fresh, subtle perfume that wafted about her hair and neck. She seemed a little flustered by his action, so he pulled back, and said, “Let’s put those flowers in some water, shall we?”