I have no idea how I found this book, when or how it got on my to read list. It seems that Marc Levy is an international best selling French author, but I had never heard of him before. The Strange Journey of Alice Pendelbury is part of a relatively new Amazon imprint – “Amazon Crossing introduces readers to authors from around the world with translations of international books, making award-winning and best-selling books accessible to new readers.” Well, all I can say is that I am delighted that I did find it, as it is a terrific read which I have already recommended to several friends (within minutes of finishing it) and am now recommending to Cannonball readers.
Alice is a “nose”, she has a exceptional sense of smell and uses it to make custom perfumes in her small London apartment in 1950. Her neighbor Mr. Daldry is a painter who really wants Alice’s apartment because of the natural light she gets from a skylight.
One day Alice visits a carnival fortune teller who tells her to travel to Turkey where she will learn the truth about herself, meet 6 important people on her journey, and end up with the mans of her dreams. So, financed by Daldry, he and Alice set off for Istambul and the journey begins.
The main characters in this book are quirky – Daldry and Alice, along with Can “the best tour guide in Istanbul.” They remind me of the quirky characters in recent British light novels like Major Pettigrew and Harold Fry. The book is deeper than it appears – painting a good picture of both post-war London and 1915 Turkey. The writing style varies, the middle of the book is told in letters. The book is part mystery – what is the cause of Alice’s frequent nightmares, part romance – will Alice meet this dream man, and part travelogue – the sites and smells of Istanbul are beautifully described (which is why the book smells good).
The Strange Journey of Alice Pendelbury is a charming story. It will fit your Bingo Rec’d, Travel, People, or Home category (sorry, it doesn’t help with the Sports box).