The Perfume of the Hellebore Rose

Original title: Le Parfum de l’hellébore

Author: Bonidan, Cathy

Publication Date:

January 2017



Original language and publisher

Territories Handled

Worldwide excl. French

Territories Sold

France (France Loisirs, book-club)
Italy (De Agostini, in a pre-empt, two-book deal)
Netherlands (Mozaiek/Boekencentrum)


Literary Fiction

Foreign Covers


The Perfume of the Hellebore Rose

Original title: Le Parfum de l’hellébore

Author: Bonidan, Cathy


I was delighted with this reading. The writing is elegant, the description of the feelings striking. (…) This novel is very beautiful, touching. A beautiful tribute to differences, whether physical or mental. — Cultura Brive

A magnificent novel, which I have devoured! A lot of sensitivity in the writing, characters portrayed with great accuracy, two stories that intermingle harmoniously – the past and the present – emotion, love … All the ingredients are gathered in this luminous novel! — Editorial Director, France Loisirs

A fictional novel pushing back the barriers of ignorance; imaginary characters quoting recognized psychiatrists or psychologists, pointing a finger at these “exceptional beings who have preceded history”. — Froggy’s Delight

In this luminous novel, full of hope, the destinies of the characters will cross, between lightness and melancholy. — Paperblog

Friendship and love intersect in this luminous debut novel. — Le Télégramme

A real gem. –

The subtle and solar perfume of this novel captivates for a long time. – Notre Temps

Like The Greenhouse, a touching and sensitive debut novel that highlights how listening, sharing and friendship are the only values that can save people’s lives. 

Anne had been sent to Paris to work in the psychiatric center directed by her uncle. In the early sixties, treatments were still in their emergent stages. Anne observes the strange behaviour of a young boy of eleven, Gilles, who everyone nicknames “the idiot.” She sends her thoughts to her best friend in secret letters. Why is their correspondence forbidden? And why was Anne forced to move away from her family?

At the center, she meets a young anorexic girl, Beatrice, with whom she builds a friendship. Together, they see what no one seems to have noticed: when he is with the hospital gardener, Gilles, who is actually autistic, stops suffering crises. He even says his first words. But the psychiatric world would have it differently.

Years later, Sophie, a psychology student, stumbles on Beatrice’s journal and will not rest until she knows what happened to each of them. Why does Beatrice’s journal stop suddenly the summer she is fourteen? What happened to Gilles? Did Anne and the gardener manage to save these two children?

Marketing Information

  • Winner of the 2017 Readers Prize, Notre Temps magazine, 2017 Prix Poulet-Malassis, 2017 Prix de la Nacre, 2017 Readers Prize Lions Clubs de l’Ouest, 2017, 2017 Prix littéraire ENS Cachan, 2018 Prix des lecteurs corréziens, 2018 Prix Premiers Pas, 2018 Prix Handi-Livres, 2018 Prix Rosine Perrier, 2018 Prix du Public Passeurs de Mots
  • For readers of Anna Gavalda, Audur Ava Olafsdottir, Olivier Bourdeaut.
  • Prize for best novel awarded by a professional judging panel on an amateur writer’s self-publishing website (with a judging panel of publishers including La Martinière and Michel Lafon).
  • In the same style as the bestseller The Greenhouse (which sold 90,000 copies in France in 2010), it is a call to the values of simplicity and generosity.
  • Over 13.000 copies sold

Foreign Covers