Posted in Books

The Witch of Painted Sorrows by M. J. Rose

Here’s a story you don’t get to read every day. A bit long, but worth it. Scroll down for my review.

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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.

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You all know I’m reading a lot. I’m not a patient person. This book is long. But I couldn’t stop reading it. So…

The story begins with Sandrine running away from her husband, her life, home in New York and straight to her grandmother’s arm. To Paris. The two cities seem like dream cities to live in, right? For Sandrine they are more. New York holds her sinister husband, the reason for her father’s death. Paris holds her only close, living relative, and a dark secret she has no idea even exists.

When Sandrine meets Julien, she slowly falls in love with him, but not only him – she falls in love with painting. And she’s very, very good and she’s improving daily.

That’s where the plot thickens, as they say. It is very much multifaceted. M.J. Rose cleverly weaved several worlds into this story. She takes a religion not many like writing (Judaism), the spirits world, Paris and Parisians is the setting (including their teeth breaking names), and manages to incorporate a love story and some mystery. And of course, the story taking place a few hundred years ago ensures we get some history and the factual tidbits were very nicely playing a part in making this story feel… almost real.

A beautiful story, slightly disturbing at times, with a pretty surprising ending (for me, anyway), this book is incredibly well written, it’s flowing, and while a little too long for my taste, I just couldn’t put it down. I had to know how Sandrine and La Lune’s tale ends.

My rating: 4star

* Thank you, Atria Books, for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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I read, review, flail and swoon.

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