Author: M. J. Rose
Publisher: Atria Books
Rating: 2.5 stars
Buy Links: Amazon
Provided by Publisher
Blurb: 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.
Review: This novel is an emotional firestorm, rife with foreboding and overwhelming images of grief, despair, and the paranormal. The environment is wonderful and the characters are rich and complex–if you’ve got any interest in Paris, the occult in the late 1800’s, and artists and their crafts, then this book will certainly be a hit for you.
Sandrine has escaped to Paris, on the run from an overwhelming and possibly dangerous husband. She’s planning on staying with her grandmother in her ornate Paris townhouse. When she shows up there, she finds that it’s closed at her grandmother’s behest. When she’s reunited with her grandmother the following day, she receives mixed message from both her and other people in town about the purpose of the home being closed. She gets the truth from a young architect she meets there when she slips in one day–that her grandmother intends to turn it into a museum of the history of concubines, of which she’s been a member her whole life. In fact, in Sandrine’s grandmother’s family, they’ve all been concubines or courtesans as far back as they can remember and have a large collection of priceless objets de arts as a consequence. The fact that her grandmother, without asking her, has pledged to give her entire priceless heritage up angers Sandrine. And why doesn’t her grandmother want her to know?
When she and the architect, Julian, start exploring the house, they find evidence of the occult and other strange and startling things. Paintings and other objects they find mysteriously seem familiar to Sandrine, and she finds herself getting drawn deeper and deeper into the character she senses so strongly in the things that they’ve found. Suddenly the two of them are drawn into a whirlwind adventure of sex and mysticism, getting drawn deeper and deeper into things they don’t understand.
With the ever present danger of her husband lurking amidst the strange goings on that are happening, it’s no surprise when danger rears its head. Sandrine feels like she’s been taken over by another spirit, and as she changes further and further, will she ever be able to turn back?
While this book was vivid and intense, I had a hard time staying interested. Sandrine was not a likable character to me, and unfortunately I just wasn’t interested enough because it was overwhelmingly depressing. I’ll just stick to my romances with HEA and leave this complex literature to those who enjoy it. Thanks!