The Witch of Painted Sorrows
M. J. Rose
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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.
From Publishers Weekly
© Publishers Weekly
wonderful example of historical fiction with a thread of romance
1890’s Paris is the setting, and Sandrine Salome is running to her grandmother’s home in Paris from an abusive husband in New York. While her grandmother insists that the family home is also dangerous, she does welcome Sandrine, and tries to protect her from all that would harm her. In the process, there are family secrets to unravel, a possible possession, her delving into her, until then, erotic fantasy life and the ever-menacing threat of her husband’s return.
With great skill, M.J. Rose incorporated lavish detail and historical fact into the story’s background, giving readers an easily accessible series of visual references, bringing Paris to life. Exposing readers to areas that may have been unfamiliar, adding in art, the occult and a menacing spirit that is threatening Sandrine’s psyche and life, the twists never stop coming to add details and depth, as well as increase the tension.
With the introduction to Julien, Sandrine’s eyes are truly opened: he is an architect with a taste for the bohemian freestyling life of art, sex and even dabbling in the occult. Sandrine’s fascination with this new life that feels so freeing is not without difficulties and secrets, but allows her growth beyond her own limited imaginings.
Rose uses language and phrasing with care and precision, evocative and lush, each sentence builds the story, the characters and the tension as a collision of old, new, corporeal and spiritual elements fight to gain supremacy as Sandrine discovers a new life and desires. Erotic moments enlighten Sandrine’s outlook, and provide a solid example of her changing personality, but whether it is truly her breaking free, or the spirits taking over, that is yet to be determined.
Multiple generations, outlooks and perspectives span time to come together to culminate in a story that is difficult to put down. Wholly engaging, with twists and tensions galore, this is a wonderful example of historical fiction with a thread of romance and the supernatural.
I received an eArc cop of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
This book is different from what I'm used to reading. Mainly because it's based in the 1800s, which I enjoyed as I began the first few chapters. I have an eye out for another book by this Author (The Collector of Dying Breaths). I was entertained with this book & the wonderful story telling. Her writing was so detailed. It wasn't hard to get swept away. I was shocked by some of the events in the book. Overall, this book was a pleasant change of pace for me. Sept 2016 JG