I received this book for free from Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Secret Language of Stones (The Daughters of La Lune, #2)
Author M.J. Rose
Series: The Daughters of La Lune #2
Publisher Atria Books
Publication Date July 19th 2016
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour
As World War I rages and the Romanov dynasty reaches its sudden, brutal end, a young jewelry maker discovers love, passion, and her own healing powers in this rich and romantic ghost story, the perfect follow-up to M.J. Rose’s “brilliantly crafted” (Providence Journal) novel The Witch of Painted Sorrows.
Nestled within Paris’s historic Palais Royal is a jewelry store unlike any other. La Fantasie Russie is owned by Pavel Orloff, protégé to the famous Faberge, and is known by the city’s fashion elite as the place to find the rarest of gemstones and the most unique designs. But war has transformed Paris from a city of style and romance to a place of fear and mourning. In the summer of 1918, places where lovers used to walk, widows now wander alone.
So it is from La Fantasie Russie’s workshop that young, ambitious Opaline Duplessi now spends her time making trench watches for soldiers at the front, as well as mourning jewelry for the mothers, wives, and lovers of those who have fallen. People say that Opaline’s creations are magical. But magic is a word Opaline would rather not use. The concept is too closely associated with her mother Sandrine, who practices the dark arts passed down from their ancestor La Lune, one of sixteenth century Paris’s most famous courtesans.
But Opaline does have a rare gift even she can’t deny, a form of lithomancy that allows her to translate the energy emanating from stones. Certain gemstones, combined with a personal item, such as a lock of hair, enable her to receive messages from beyond the grave. In her mind, she is no mystic, but merely a messenger, giving voice to soldiers who died before they were able to properly express themselves to loved ones. Until one day, one of these fallen soldiers communicates a message—directly to her.
So begins a dangerous journey that will take Opaline into the darkest corners of wartime Paris and across the English Channel, where the exiled Romanov dowager empress is waiting to discover the fate of her family.
The Secret Language of Stones by M.J. Rose is a ghost story of historical proportions.
Like in The Witch of Painted Sorrows, the first book of The Daughters of La Lune series, M.J. Rose created a mystical setting in Paris that one can only see if they look closely enough. The descriptions of 1918 Paris were exquisite and shined off the page. Although, the most vivid were not of the Mona Lisa or Eiffel Tower, but of dark, dingy rooms that glittered gems and sounded off bumps in the night exhibiting a well-rounded portrait for the reader’s imagination.
Opaline was a young adult trying to find her place in the world. Her occupation and love life (no matter how unconventional) were still to be determined and enjoyed following along on her journey.
Opaline meets her soul mate through a talisman and a love affair from two universes begins. This was interesting at first and showed the continuing insanity of her family lineage but I felt it went on a little too long. I was ready for the relationship to cease and for her to move on to the real world. The liaison became too weird for my taste and any Gothic romance factor soon wore off. It was an intriguing subplot but I felt that Opaline’s talents of speaking to the beyond could have been showcased in other ways.
The portion of the novel that truly interested me was when the novel’s mystic is sent to give a reading to the Dowager, in an attempt to communicate with her Romanov grandchildren.
The Romanov Dynasty, with its fairy tale beginnings and the nightmarish end, has always captivated my interest, and therefore read of any mention concerning Fabergé eggs, the Tsar or the Bolshevik Revolution with great ferocity. It created depth to the story, quickening the pace of the plot. Therefore, I read the last third rapidly. Upon finishing, I thought “I wish the author had incorporated the Romanovs more.” Only upon reflection did I realized she most certainly did. With great subtlety, M.J. Rose turned discussions into conspiracy and jewels into secrets that throughly enraptured the reader.
Overall, The Secret Language of Stones by M.J. Rose was a fabulous tale of mystery and with hidden meetings, deception, and a little supernatural the author created a story that was firmly planted in the ground, unwavering where it would proceed. M.J. Rose’s novel was easy to fall into and forget the present.
About the Author
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 is the author of more than a dozen novels, the co-president and founding board member of International Thriller Writers and the founder of the first marketing company for authors: AuthorBuzz.com. She lives in Greenwich, Connecticut. Visit her online at MJRose.com.
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Blog Tour Schedule
Wednesday, July 13
Spotlight at Passages to the Past
Thursday, July 14
Spotlight at Teddy Rose Book Reviews
Friday, July 15
Review at A Dream within a Dream
Monday, July 18
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Tuesday, July 19
Review at First Impressions Reviews
Wednesday, July 20
Review at Laura’s Interests
Thursday, July 21
Review at Read Love Blog
Tuesday, July 26
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession
Wednesday, July 27
Interview at First Impressions Reviews
Thursday, July 28
Review at Creating Herstory
Friday, July 29
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog
Monday, August 1
Review at The Book Junkie Reads
Tuesday, August 2
Interview at The Book Junkie Reads
Wednesday, August 3
Review at Diana’s Book Reviews
Thursday, August 4
Interview at Diana’s Book Reviews
Monday, August 8
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Tuesday, August 9
Review at Worth Getting in Bed For
Thursday, August 11
Review at Girls Just Reading
Friday, August 12
Review at Dianne Ascroft’s Blog
Monday, August 15
Review at Fangirls Ahead!