Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Witch of Painted Sorrows by M.J. Rose

What They Say......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. 

What I Say....This book was a wild ride.  Set in the late 1800's in beautiful, but dark Paris, Sandrine has fled America to escape her brutal husband.

She arrives at her courtesan grandmother's house to find it closed up and her grandmother living in a lavish apartment, and not too happy to receive a runaway granddaughter.  Not because she doesn't love her granddaughter, but because she is fearful for Sandrine if she is in Paris.

Sandrine disobeys her grandmother's wishes and goes to their family home, handed down through generations of her courtesans ancestors.  While visiting there, she meets a handsome architect who is cataloguing the estate. Sandrine finds herself inexplicably drawn to a previously hidden bell tower and then to the discovery of a ruby necklace,

And then her adventure begins.  She discovers that she is suddenly a talented painter, when previously she had failed, she finds passion with Julien, when she had always thought of herself as frigid, and she finds the confidence to pursue what she wants, whether it's admission to a male only art school or another woman's fiance.

This was a great mix of a gothic love story, mixed with a ghost story.  The only word for the writing was lush.  The ghost story was scary, the love story was passionate, and reading it made you felt like you were in the dark, slightly sinister Paris of the 1800's.

I will say the ending was a bit of a kicker for me.  I wasn't expecting that, and at first I was taken aback,  but then I decided it's nice when you don't have the typical ending.

Thank you to NetGalley and Atria books for giving me this ARC for review.

Current Goodreads rating is 3.97

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