Title: The Witch of Painted Sorrows
Author: M.J. Rose
Genre: Historical (Romance/Paranormal)
Publication: March 17, 215
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.
A bit disappointed in how this book ended. Beautifully written, but I knew it would be. It's M.J. Rose! But, despite its decadent settings and beautiful language the story fell a little flat for me, mostly because I couldn't bring myself to cheer for the main character. Definitely still worth the read. Gorgeous, haunting, and sensual.
It was most certainly intense, but I bring things back around to my general dislike for the main character, which somewhat put a damper on the entire experience. Sandrine is pretty much a wet noodle, which I guess makes it easier for La Lune to not only hook her claws in her but eventually take over entirely. The girl has no willpower! She'd much rather be La Lune than herself, which can be understood after the tragedy she endures. I was just hoping that she would wake up and realize that she was enough.
I wanted that to be the message: You are enough just being yourself.
Instead the message was: You're probably a sad sorry excuse for a person and this centuries old dead witch lady is a much better than you will ever be, so let her take over your soul and practically erase you from existence. Everyone will be happier.
The other characters were delightful, though, especially Sandrine's grandmother who is a VERY VERY smart, charming, and in-control lady. She's the type of person I would rather be if it came down to choosing between her and Sandrine. She forged her own way in life without a witch.
Sandrine's love interest was, um, wow. I mean. My Shining Prince is pretty smexy but, yikes, Julian. Rwar.
Overall this was pure M.J. Rose - Beautiful settings, beautiful language, sensuous and silky.
Still not a favorite by this author, but it's definitely worth a read.
Auggie is the 28 year old whirlwind owner of Auggie-Talk. A Teen Librarian and bibliobibuli by nature as well as a (potentially obsessive) lover of Diana Wynne Jones and Neil Gaiman. One can normally find Auggie neck deep in reading, writing, or daydreaming (sometimes all three at once). She's also been known to drink too much caffeine and eat too many lemon flavored sweets.