Friday, April 17, 2015

SCENT OF TRIUMPH: Guest Post by Author Jan Moran & GIVEAWAY

Blog Post for SCENT OF TRIUMPH by Jan Moran




Thank you for allowing me to guest post on your blog today for the SCENT OF TRIUMPH blog tour. Besides writing, I love to talk about perfumery, so today I thought I’d share two of my favorite vintage perfumes. In SCENT OF TRIUMPH, the main character, Danielle Bretancourt, is a third generation French perfumer and couturier.  

Set in the 1940s, I had to imagine the cultural norms with regard to the era. For example, female perfumers were quite rare; young men usually became apprentices to a perfumer and devoted their lives to the trade. In this novel, Danielle learns her craft through an apprenticeship with her uncle, Philippe, a veteran of the Great War, and later draws on her craft to support her family.

Throughout SCENT OF TRIUMPH, readers will find references to actual vintage perfumes. At the time, perfumes were handcrafted, and none reached distribution on such a scale as we know today. However, a few remarkable perfumes from the era have survived, and indeed thrived, with modern marketing and manufacturing. Among those are fragrances from Guerlain and Dior. In fact, several Guerlain perfumes still sold today date from the nineteenth century.

Guerlain’s Shalimar was created just after World War I in 1925. It was heralded as the first “Oriental” perfume, so called because of its essential oils that originated in Asia. Miss Dior debuted in 1947, after the end of World War II. Though two decades apart, both perfume compositions reflect joy and jubilation in the return to peace, though in markedly different ways.

Shalimar reflects the expansive mood of post-war relief after World War I, and the shifting social mores of young “flapper girls,” who bobbed their hair, unlaced their corsets, and danced until dawn. On the other hand, Miss Dior embraces a return to femininity after World War II. Named after Christian Dior’s younger sister, it might have been inspired by a longing for a return to normalcy and hope for future generations, by those who’d experienced two massive wars in their homeland in a relatively short period of time.

Shalimar by Guerlain (1925) – Shalimar is an intoxicating, yet subtly sensuous blend that has endured for decades. With a long-lasting base of spices and aromatic woods, it became the archetype for Oriental blends. A highly distinctive and dramatic fragrance, it was designed for the woman who is sensual, sophisticated and uninhibited.


A 1925 composition, Shalimar is reflective of its period, of a cosmopolitan Paris in the midst of celebration after World War I, of the Roaring Twenties, of exhilaration and new life. This attitude is mirrored in the zesty citrus top notes. Heady florals flow into a spicy base that is particularly rich in vanilla, incense, and sandalwood.

In creating Shalimar, Jacques Guerlain was inspired by a love story told to him by a Maharajah visiting Paris. The Guerlain company shared the story with us:

More than 300 years ago, Shah Jahan succeeded to the throne of his father, Jahangir, and became the third Mogul Emperor of India.
Jahan loved only one woman. Her name was Mumtaz Mahal.

Some say he loved her unto madness, that she was not his wife but his fever. Victories, empires and riches were dust as compared to her…in his eyes, she alone was the balm that made life bearable.

When she died, Jahan’s hair turned white. He would burst into tears at the mention of her name. In her memory, he built one of the world’s greatest wonders–the Taj Mahal at Agra.

But the Taj Mahal is only an empty monument. While Mumtaz was alive, Jahan created a series of gardens for her at Lahore, gardens the like of which had never been seen before. He called them the gardens of Shalimar, the Sanskrit word meaning “abode of love.”

From every corner of the Earth, the most fragrant and delicate blossoms were brought. Deep pools were built with crystal fountains and terraces paved in marble. The rarest birds were summoned to sing here and lanterns were hung to rival the stars. In the gardens of Shalimar the lovers were truly happy, and Mumtaz bore fourteen children to her beloved Jahan.

Jacques Guerlain decided that the perfume should be called Shalimar, not Taj Mahal, because, you see, Taj Mahal marks the end of the story, and this love story can never end….

The flacon was designed by Raymond Guerlain and is also a reminder of the fountains in the gardens of Shalimar. The ornamental stopper in sapphire blue evokes the flow of the fountains’ water. Voluptuous and enveloping, Shalimar is a fragrance of eternal romance.


Miss Dior by Christian Dior (1947) – A classic, impeccable floral fragrance, Miss Dior was created by French couturier Christian Dior. Christian Dior once said, “Perfume is the indispensable complement to the feminine personality, and the finishing touch of a dress.”

Miss Dior was launched in 1947, the year Dior introduced his New Look. The New Look was actually a throwback to the pre-World War II years, full skirts, tiny waistlines, gloves, and bare shoulders, a far cry from the despondent styles of the war years.

When consumers flocked to update their wardrobes with the New Look, they also snapped up his new fragrance, Miss Dior. The fragrance represented the re-emergence of the feminine, elegant style of the Belle Époque.

Today, the perennial French debutante Miss Dior is enjoying a resurgence, or second debut. So who has worn Miss Dior? From today’s Natalie Portman, who serves as the current spokesmodel, to Princess Grace and Marlene Dietrich.

Reader’s Guide to Vintage Perfumes

In addition to these two perfumes, I’ve also developed a Reader’s Guide to vintage perfumes mentioned in SCENT OF TRIUMPH, as well as others that represent the era and story line. (I’ve heard several book clubs are doing a vintage perfume meeting to discuss the book. I’d love to see photos!)

As you might imagine, I could only include a small amount of historical detail without slowing down the saga, so I compiled some of this research into another book, VINTAGE PERFUMES. For a limited time, if you buy SCENT OF TRIUMPH, simply email a receipt or a take a selfie with the book or your ereader, and I’ll send you a free digital PDF edition of Vintage Perfumes as a thank-you.

I hope you enjoy reading SCENT OF TRIUMPH, and I’d love to hear about your favorite classic perfumes. Many people associate fragrances with the memory of loved ones, too. If you have perfumes you cherish, add your favorites in the comments. (I’ll start—Mitsouko is one of my all-time faves!)



Please join author Jan Moran as she tours the blogosphere with HF Virtual Book Tours for Scent of Triumph: A Novel of Perfume and Passion, from April 1-17, and enter to win an autographed copy!

 02_Scent of Triumph Cover

Publication Date: March 31, 2015
St. Martin's Griffin
Formats: eBook, Paperback
384 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance
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When French perfumer Danielle Bretancourt steps aboard a luxury ocean liner, leaving her son behind in Poland with his grandmother, she has no idea that her life is about to change forever. The year is 1939, and the declaration of war on the European continent soon threatens her beloved family, scattered across many countries. Traveling through London and Paris into occupied Poland, Danielle searches desperately for her the remains of her family, relying on the strength and support of Jonathan Newell-Grey, a young captain. Finally, she is forced to gather the fragments of her impoverished family and flee to America. There she vows to begin life anew, in 1940s Los Angeles. Through determination and talent, she rises high from meager jobs in her quest for success as a perfumer and fashion designer to Hollywood elite. Set between privileged lifestyles and gritty realities, Scent of Triumph is one woman's story of courage, spirit, and resilience.

Praise for Scent of Triumph

"SCENT OF TRIUMPH [is a] World War II epic." - Los Angeles Times

"Though romance figures importantly in [SCENT OF TRIUMPH], Danielle's professional life is most appealing, profiting from perfume expert Moran's (Fabulous Fragrances, 1994, etc.) authentic experience...The casual demeanor with which Danielle always notices scents in her environment helps establish her character and professional credibility in a charming way...Danielle makes for a strong, unusual heroine who doesn't always make wise decisions, although her resilience, style and knowledge remain admirable.... [A] historical fiction carried by a complex, resourceful heroine with a nose for business." - Kirkus Reviews

“Warm and well written, with characters who attract the reader’s sympathy and affection. A lovely story well-told, which will appeal to romantics, fashion and perfume devotees, and fans of historical fiction.” - Amy Edelman, founder of

Buy Scent of Triumph

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03_Jan MoranAbout the Author

Jan Moran is a Rizzoli bestselling and award winning author. She writes historical women's fiction for St. Martin's Press, contemporary women's fiction, and nonfiction books. Her stories are smart and stylish, and written with emotional depth. Jan often draws on her international travel and business experiences, infusing her books with realistic details. The Midwest Book Review and Kirkus have recommended her books, calling her heroines strong, complex, and resourceful. Jan has been featured in numerous publications and on television and radio, including CNN, 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 such as Cosmopolitan, Elle, Costco Connection, and Porthole Cruise. A perfume and beauty industry expert, she is the creator of Scentsa, a touch screen fragrance finder in Sephora stores. From Jan: "I love smart and fierce female protagonists. I hope you enjoy these books, and if you'd like to Skype me into your book club meeting, simply send me a message!" For more information and to sign up for Jan Moran's newsletter visit her official website. Jan blogs at Jan Moran Writes. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Goodreads, and LinkedIn.

Special Offer from Jan Moran!

Jan Moran is running a special incentive on her website for a free digital ebook of her new non-fiction book, Vintage Perfumes, to everyone who purchases Scent of Triumph from March 31 to April 30! All you have to do is email your receipt to Jan Moran at, along with a photo of yourself with the Scent of Triumph book, eBook, or your tablet.
Vintage Perfumes Cover


Scent of Triumph Blog Tour Schedule

Wednesday, April 1
Interview & Excerpt at Passages to the Past
Thursday, April 2
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Spotlight & Excerpt at Genre Queen
Friday, April 3
Review & Excerpt at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book
Interview at Let Them Read Books
Monday, April 6
Guest Post at The Maiden's Court
Tuesday, April 7
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews
Wednesday, April 8
Excerpt at The Never-Ending Book
Thursday, April 9
Review at The Eclectic Reader
Tuesday, April 14
Interview at A Literary Vacation
Thursday, April 16
Guest Post at Book Nerd
Friday, April 17
Review at The Lit Bitch
Guest Post at Mina's Bookshelf
Interview at Reading Lark



To enter to win a signed copy of Scent of Triumph, please complete the giveaway form below. RULES Giveaway starts on April 1st at 12:01am EST and ends at 11:59pm EST on April 17th. Giveaway is open to residents in the US only and you must be 18 or older to enter. Winners will be chosen via GLEAM on April 18th and notified via email. Winners have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen. Please email Amy @ with any questions. Scent of Triumph

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