The Witch of Painted Sorrows
by M.J. Rose
published by Atria Books
I received an advanced review copy of this book from the publisher through Net Galley in return for an honest review.
I had read The Collector of Dying Breaths by Rose and I loved it even though it was the 6th in a series I had not read. I was very tempted to go back and read all the previous books in the series, but decided not to since the 6th sort of told you want happened in those books anyway. When I saw that the author was beginning a new series that looks similar- in terms of location and mystery- I was eager to read the first book-this book. It started off promising- Paris in the 1890s, artists, courtesans, wow! But it soon became apparent that this was not going to be as strong of a story as Rose’s previous works. Once Sandrine becomes immersed in the painting world, she just becomes a different person too quickly, without a struggle to throw off everything she was and loved. I kept waiting for an actual internal struggle with the real Sandrine and the spirit who was taking her over and it never came. While this was a fun book and I always love Paris in the late nineteenth century, I did not enjoy this as much as I had hoped. Despite that, the very end of the book did blow me away and I will remember it for a long time- no spoilers here!
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.