The Witch of Painted Sorrows by M.J. Rose
Publication Date: March 17, 2015 Atria Books
Formats: Hardcover, Ebook
Genre: Historical Mystery
Source: publisher via Historical Fiction Book Tours
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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 insits 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.
The Witch of Painted Sorrows is the first in what appears to be a new series by M.J. Rose. I'm not sure anyone could find a more seductive and magical setting than Belle Epoque Paris for a novel, much less a novel about an ancestral witch who continues to try to possess her descendants generation after generation. The premise of the novel is intriguing and haunting as written by Rose. She brings to life the beauty and mystery of Paris during this fascinating period and uses the actual historical artists and locations to make it all seem so real.
Sandrine runs from her life in America hoping to find safely and security with her grandmother, a famous courtesan. Instead she finds her grandmother's beautiful house, Maison de la Lune, closed up and her grandmother living in an apartment. However strange Sandrine finds this to be, she is even more confused when her grandmother insists that she shouldn't stay in Paris at all, and definitely should not live in Maison de la Lune - because of the danger to her. Sandrine has always loved her grandmother's house and doesn't follow instructions well.
Thus begins what is a fast-paced, haunting, mysterious story of art, passion, love and possible possession . Belle Epoque Paris is the perfect setting for such a story. This is one of those novels where I went back and forth - is this real or Sandrine's imagination? It is a beautiful, passionate and haunting novel. I don't want to give anything away, but when I finished it I was hoping the story would continue. It seems to me to be a perfect set up for a new series - there are so many unanswered questions. I would love to read more about what follows.
I think anyone who has enjoyed M.J. Rose's other novels will enjoy The Witch of Painted Sorrows very much. It should also appeal to anyone who enjoys historical fiction of a romantic type as well as those interested in Belle Epoque Paris, the art world or the occult movement in France during the period.
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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