Publication Date: March 17, 2015 Atria Books
Formats: Hardcover, Ebook
Genre: Historical Mystery
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.
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Synopsis: Possession. Power. Passion. International bestselling novelist M.J. Rose creates her most provocative and magical spellbinder yet in this erotic, gothic novel set against the lavish spectacle of 1890s Belle Époque Paris. Sandrine Salome runs away to her grandmother’s Parisian mansion to escape her dangerous husband, but what she finds 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.
My Review: Trapped in a loveless marriage, Sandrine runs away from her husband. She chooses to go to Paris instead of Chicago, where her maternal relatives are, thinking that her husband will not find her. She finds her paternal grandmother and is surprised that she is living in an apartment and not in her beautiful mansion. With her grandmother in an apartment, Sandrine asks her grandmother if she can move in the mansion, but her grandmother dances around the subject. Sandrine becomes suspicious that her grandmother is hiding something from her and grows more curious about the mansion. One day her curiosity gets the best of her and she goes there. There she finds not only the mansion is being renovated as a museum, but she becomes mesmerized by the architect, Julien. However, going into the house has changed her life because she unleashes a sixteenth-century ghost called La Lune and under the ghost’s spell, Sandrine immerses herself in the art world of painting and falling in love with Julien.
The Witch of Painted Sorrows is a very beautiful book. I had fallen under the author’s spell at the first page. The setting was dark and atmospheric when it described a Parisian night. At other times, it was light and humorous. I found it fun being in her art world, where she takes art classes under the guidance of Moreau. I also found the book to be very romantic for I loved the tension between Sandrine and Julien. This book was a thrill ride, and I loved going through the dark underground of the Paris night.
Sandrine is an emotionally-damaged woman. She is in grief over her father’s death and yearns to get away from her husband. Because of this, she wants to live in her grandmother’s mansion and live in peace. She is very curious and is willing to know the truth about what is going on. Because she is emotionally-damaged, it is easy for her to be manipulated by the ghost, La Lune.
La Lune is the most interesting character in the book. She is a powerful spirit, and is not afraid to do evil actions in order for Sandrine to get her way. She is willing to make Sandrine a well-respected artist, and gives Sandrine the gift of painting that she never before possessed. She also helps Sandrine by getting Julien to fall in love with her. Yet, while she is trying to make Sandrine happy, the reader wonders about La Lune’s true motive. This is the mystery in this novel. What is La Lune’s true plan? Yet, even though La Lune is a powerful ghost, when she is mentioned, there is an aura of sorrow. The reader grows curious about La Lune’s story and soon we feel sorry for her.
Overall, the story is about love, family, choices, loss, and redemption. The course of the novel is about a woman searching for her true self. The characters are likable, and it has a beautiful setting. This novel has a bit of everything, romance, fantasy, mystery, paranormal and a thriller. Art lovers and history lovers will love this book. This book is a must-read for everyone because it will feel like a well deserved treat that anyone can enjoy.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Praise for the novels of M.J. Rose
The Witch of Painted Sorrows“Rose's new series offers her specialty, a unique and captivating supernatural angle, set in an intriguing belle epoque Paris—a perfect match for the author's lush descriptions, intricate plot and mesmerizing storytelling. A cliffhanger ending will leave readers hungry for the next volume. Sensual, evocative, mysterious and haunting.” (Kirkus Reviews) “A haunting tale of possession.” (Publishers Weekly)
The Collector of Dying Breaths"Breathtaking...combines fascinating history, torrid romance and a compelling mystery into a marvelous package that will entice fans of Anne Rice and Diana Gabaldon.” (Associated Press) "A page-turning, alluring concoction of fiction infused with fantastical yet actual history. Readers will be charmed by her well-drawn and memorable characters, and they will be mesmerized by her enchanting narrative, which takes them on a mystical and magical journey." (Library Journal (starred)) "A terrific piece of entertainment." (CT Post) "Wondrously original... elegantly written. Rose manages to utterly suspend our disbelief in a book that leaves us, appropriately enough, breathless." (Providence Journal) "Mysterious, magical, and mythical…what a joy to read!" (Sara Gruen, New York Times bestselling author of Water for Elephants)
Seduction"Atmospherically romantic and perfectly toned. Classy and elegant literary seduction of the highest measure. As wondrously crafted as it is original." (Providence Journal) "Readers will be enchanted by M.J. Rose's supernaturally charged novel Seduction, inspired by Victor Hugo's self-imposed exile on the British island of Jersey in the 1850s." (USA Today) “Has just about everything a thriller fan could wish for.” (Philadelphia Inquirer) “Full of well-researched history, the paranormal, and modern intrigue, this atmospheric tale of suspense is fully engrossing to those willing to suspend their disbelief.” (Library Journal (starred review))
The Book of Lost Fragrances"A compelling page turner...Once you catch a whiff, you will be enchanted." (Associated Press) "M.J. Rose is a bold, unflinching writer and her resolute honesty puts her in a class by herself." (Laura Lippman) "The Book of Lost Fragrances resonates with spirit, blending myth with reality, tragedy with triumph, pain with joy. You'll find yourself questioning everything you believe--and wanting more." (Steve Berry) “Provocative…a sweeping sense of romance [and] history.” (Cleveland Plain-Dealer)
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