Sunday, January 6, 2013

Traditional Perfumes and Medicines

Judith, the heroine of my book Love of Shadows, is a perfume-maker by profession and a healer by calling. One of the things I have really enjoyed about writing this book was finding about traditional perfumes and medicines, as I like to make my novels as accurate as possible.

In the book Judith and her Shadow, Sarah, go on several journeys looking for new recipes and raw materials, which they bring back to their home in the fictional city of Pharsis and transform into medicines and perfumes. Judith inherits her former employer's workshop where there is a large copper still. This is used to create the essential oils which Judith uses in both her medicines and perfumes. 

On one trip they come across a goatherd, whose flock browse among the wild rockroses. The rockrose produces a scented resin called labdanum, which sticks to the fleece and is gathered by shepherds and sold to perfume makers. On another Judith is inspired by the scents of the forest to design a perfume based around oakmoss. But their finds aren't just useful for making perfumes but for making medicines too - oakmoss is used for wounds and labdanum for coughs.

Love of Shadows by Zoe Brooks

"I had always felt most alive, when I was healing. Without healing I was a tin top spinning out of kilter soon to catch the ground. It took all my energy to hold myself from skidding into chaos."

But in the city of Pharsis traditional women healers are banned from practising and the penalty for breaking the law is death by hanging. After being arrested and interrogated twice Judith is careful to avoid suspicion, but then scarlet fever breaks over the city like a poisonous wave, leaving in its wake the small corpses of children. What will the young healer do?

Love of Shadows is the second novel in The Healer's Shadow trilogy, which began with Girl in the Glass, and follows the lives of Judith and her Shadow, Sarah. It is a study in grief, love and defiance.

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Love of Shadows will be touring with Goddess Fish to blogs every monday for the next two months.

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1 comment:

Debby said...

I have done some research into medicines. They are a fascinating study.
debby236 at gmail dot com