Title: The Witch of Painted Sorrows
Author: M.J. Rose
Series: The Daughters of La Lune, book 1
Genre: Historical Fiction, Paranormal
Publisher: Atria Books
Source: Review copy from publisher
Possession. Power. Passion. New York Times bestselling novelist M. J. Rose creates her most provocative and magical spellbinder yet in this gothic novel set against the lavish spectacle of 1890s Belle Époque Paris.
Sandrine Salome flees New York for her grandmother’s Paris mansion to escape her dangerous husband, but what she finds there is even more menacing. The house, famous for its lavish art collection and elegant salons, is mysteriously closed up. Although her grandmother insists it’s dangerous for Sandrine to visit, she defies her and meets Julien Duplessi, a mesmerizing young architect. Together they explore the hidden night world of Paris, the forbidden occult underground and Sandrine’s deepest desires.
Among the bohemians and the demi-monde, Sandrine discovers her erotic nature as a lover and painter. Then darker influences threaten—her cold and cruel husband is tracking her down and something sinister is taking hold, changing Sandrine, altering her. She’s become possessed by La Lune: A witch, a legend, and a sixteenth-century courtesan, who opens up her life to a darkness that may become a gift or a curse.
This is Sandrine’s “wild night of the soul,” her odyssey in the magnificent city of Paris, of art, love, and witchery.
The Witch of Painted Sorrows is the first book in The Daughters of La Lune series by M.J. Rose. The blurb explains pretty well what The Witch of Painted Sorrows is about. Saying more will be giving too many things away and this is a delicious book that should be discover and enjoy slowly by the reader.
M.J. Rose was a new author to me, so I didn’t know what to expect from The Witch of Painted Sorrows, something I didn’t expect was to like it as much as I did.
Sandrine was a very complex character; I think Rose balanced her innocence and her dual personality -if I can call it that- flawlessly. Even though I knew her change wasn’t normal I loved to see her bloom and become a stronger and more self-assured woman. My heart also ached for her because I felt she was conscious of her situation and her inability to be who she wanted to be without the help of La Lune.
I liked Sandrine’s grandmother, Eva. It was obvious she only wanted what was best for Sandrine, sadly while trying to protect her she kept her in the dark and that was the wrong thing to do. It only shows us the damages secrets can do. I liked that Eva was a famous courtesan and I liked how Rose delved into her life and what it entailed being a courtesan during the XIX century.
I haven’t read a book more fitting than this one to use the word “evocative” to describe it. Since the very first pages I was completely lost in the story and transported to the Belle Époque in Paris, a city I love and know. Rose’s words and descriptions felt so vivid that I only needed to close my eyes to walk along Sandrine through the Luxembourg Gardens or the Tuileries or to accompany her to the Opera at the Palais Garnier. Rose’s words are so beautiful and eloquent that made of La Belle Époque Paris a character in its own. It was pretty obvious the amount of research done by her to create such a realistic and accurate story. I know I’m using the term “realistic” a bit lightly because of the paranormal content of the story, but even though it’s fantasy/fiction the story felt real and very appropriate to the events happening during that historical period.
The story starts slow, but soon after picks up its pace and doesn’t leave up until it reaches its very end. The end is not an usual end, many will not like it, but I think it was a fitting end for this kind of story.
The Witch of Painted Sorrows is a spellbinding story about love, art, magic, family secrets and La Belle Époque Paris. The Witch of Painted Sorrows was my first book by M.J. Rose, but I can’t guarantee you if won’t be my last. I’m planning to read future books in this series and I’m also planning on checking Rose’s previous books.
My Verdict: 4 ½ Paws
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