First off, I don’t do much erotica. But, I hate to miss something good, so every once in a while I will give one a try. The Witch of Painted Sorrows by M J Rose is just such a book. I feel this isn’t hard core erotica, but most definitely an adult book. I think it is more about the horror. I was very surprised at how much I loved this dark supernatural story of possession.
Sandrine has left her husband and is hiding at her grandmothers place in Paris. These women characters are not your typical ladies of the 1800s. They refuse to accept the status quo and want more.
Paris is not good for Sandrine, especially after she sees Maison de la Lune, her grandmothers home. Sandrine cannot stay away and proceeds to defy her grandmothers request that she stay away.
As M J Rose describes Sandrine observing her surroundings as if to paint them, it made me think of myself doing the same thing, only as a photographic opportunity – forms, shapes, light and dark. When M J describes Monsieur Duplessi talking about studying a tree for inspiration for designing a house, I couldn’t help but let my smile over Sandrine turn into a big grin. I felt I was destined to read The Witch of Painted Sorrows. I have a passion for trees and believe if I look long enough I will see so much more than leaves, branches and roots, like looking at a cloud and deciphering what shape is hidden inside. Again, I can relate to looking for design, form and lines, light, dark and shadows.
Gothic novels can be hit or miss with me and I was surprised at how involved I became with the story. The Witch of Painted Sorrows has so many elements that interest me. Back in the day, women were expected to be and act a certain way. Sandrine loved dressing like a man, being her own person and having freedom to do what she likes.
Witches. Ghosts. The Grimoire. Evil. Possession. Keeps getting better and better. The historical elements are detailed and the vivid, well developed characters had me so involved in their lives, that I read The Witch of Painted Sorrows from beginning to end in one sitting, even though the beginning was a bit slow. The steady pacing kept me curious, but I didn’t feel that sense of urgency that makes me race through the pages. The story is wrapped up neatly and there is no cliffhanger.
I received an ARC of The Witch of Painted Sorrows by M J Rose in return for an honest review.
ABOUT THE BOOK
THE WITCH OF PAINTED SORROWS (Daughters of La Lune #1)
by M.J. Rose
Gothic Historical Fantasy
Published by Atria Books on March 17th, 2015
Cover: Alan Dingman
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.
Praise for The Witch of Painted Sorrows
“This bell époque thriller is a haunting tale of obsessive passions.” —People Magazine
“Provocative, erotic, and spellbindingly haunting…will have the reader totally mesmerized cover-to-cover….a ‘must-have’ novel.” —Suspense Magazine
“A haunting tale of erotic love…. M.J. Rose seamlessly weaves historical events throughout this story filled with distinctive characters that will keep the reader captivated to the end.” —Examiner.com
“Rose has a talent for compelling writing, and this time she has outdone herself. Fear, desire, lust and raw emotion ooze off the page.” —Associated Press
“Haunting tale of possession.” —Publishers Weekly
“Rose’s new series offers her specialty, a unique and captivating supernatural angle, set in an intriguing belle epoque Paris — lush descriptions, intricate plot and mesmerizing storytelling. Sensual, evocative, mysterious and haunting.” —Kirkus
“Mixes reality and illusion, darkness and light, mystery and romance into an adult fairy tale. [Rose] stirs her readers curiosities and imaginations, opening their eyes to the cultural, intellectual and artistic excitement that marked the Belle Epoque period. Unforgettable, full-bodied characters and richly detailed narrative result in an entrancing read that will be long savored.” —Library Journal (Starred Review)
“An elegant tale of rare depth and beauty, as brilliantly crafted as it is wondrously told….melds the normal and paranormal in the kind of seamless fashion reserved for such classic ghost stories as Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw.” —Providence Journal
Paris, France April 1894
I did not cause the madness, the deaths, or the rest of the tragedies any more than I painted the paintings. I had help, her help. Or perhaps I should say she forced her help on me. And so this story—which began with me fleeing my home in order to escape my husband and might very well end tomorrow, in a duel, in the Bois de Boulogne at dawn—is as much hers as mine. Or in fact more hers than mine. For she is the fountainhead. The fascination. She is La Lune. Woman of moon dreams, of legends and of nightmares. Who took me from the light and into the darkness. Who imprisoned me and set me free.
Or is it the other way around?
“Your questions,” my father always said to me, “will be your saving grace. A curious mind is the most important attribute any man or woman can possess. Now if you can just temper your impulsiveness…”
If I had a curious mind, I’d inherited it from him. And he’d nurtured it. Philippe Salome was on the board of New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and helped found the American Museum of Natural History, whose cornerstone was laid on my fifth birthday.
I remember sitting atop my father’s shoulders that day, watching the groundbreaking ceremony and thinking the whole celebration was for me. He called it “our museum,” didn’t he? And for much of my life I thought it actually did belong to us, along with our mansion on Fifth Avenue and our summerhouse in Newport. Until it was gone, I understood so little about wealth and the price you pay for it. But isn’t that always the way?
Our museum’s vast halls and endless exhibit rooms fascinated me as much as they did my father—which pleased him, I could tell. We’d meander through exhibits, my small hand in his large one, and he’d keep me spellbound with stories about items on display. I’d ask for more, always just one more, and he’d laugh and tease: “My Sandrine, does your capacity for stories know no bounds?”
But it pleased him, and he’d always tell me another.
I especially loved the stories he told me about the gems and fate and destiny always ending them by saying: “You will make your own fate, Sandrine, I’m sure of it.”
Was my father right? Do we make our own destiny? I think back now to the stepping-stones that I’ve walked to reach this moment in time.
Were the incidents of my making? Or were they my fate?
The most difficult steps I took were after certain people died. No deaths were caused by me, but at the same time, none would have occurred were it not for me.
So many deaths. The first was on the morning of my fifteenth birthday, when I saw a boy beaten and tragically die because of our harmless kisses. The next was the night almost ten years later, when I heard the prelude to my father’s death and learned the truth about Benjamin, my husband. And then there were more. Each was an end-ing that, ironically, became a new beginning for me.
The one thing I am now sure of is that if there is such a thing as destiny, it is a result of our passion, be that for money, power, or love. Passion, for better or worse. It can keep a soul alive even if all that survives is a shimmering. I’ve even seen it. I’ve been bathed in it. I’ve been changed by it.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
New York Times Bestseller, M.J. Rose grew up in New York City mostly in the labyrinthine galleries of the Metropolitan Museum, the dark tunnels and lush gardens of Central Park and reading her mother’s favorite books before she was allowed. She believes mystery and magic are all around us but we are too often too busy to notice… books that exaggerate mystery and magic draw attention to it and remind us to look for it and revel in it. Rose’s work has appeared in many magazines including Oprah Magazine and she has been featured in the New York Times, Newsweek, WSJ, Time, USA Today and on the Today Show, and NPR radio. Rose graduated from Syracuse University, spent the ’80s in advertising, has a commercial in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC and since 2005 has run the first marketing company for authors – Authorbuzz.com. The television series PAST LIFE, was based on Rose’s novels in the Reincarnationist series. She is one of the founding board members of International Thriller Writers and currently serves, with Lee Child, as the organization’s co-president. Rose lives in CT with her husband the musician and composer, Doug Scofield, and their very spoiled and often photographed dog, Winka.
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