One of the delightful benefits of my membership with Bookbrowse.com is the occasional privilege of reading a galley of a soon to be published book in exchange for an honest review.
This evening I completed reading The Secret Language of Stones. This is not a book I ordinarily would have purchased if I’d seen it on Amazon.com. While I love historical fiction, strong women characters and intrigue, this novel also includes elements of mysticism, the occult and witchery, which I enjoyed during the 1990’s when Ann Rice wrote The Witching Hour novels, but have long since abandoned.
But I found myself intrigued and completely engrossed in The Secret Language of Stones and plan to read more novels by M.J. Rose. This story centers on Opaline, the descendent of La Lune, a 16th Century courtesan and witch who passed her powers and spells to select females in the line. Opaline has the gift or curse, depending upon one’s perspective.
The story takes place in Paris during World War I. Opaline is working as a jewelry apprentice to Russian émigré’s who have escaped the Bolshevik Revolution. She decides to use her burgeoning gifts to create amulets or talismans using stones, gold and the hair or bits of keepsakes from dead soldiers who give her one last message to give some sense of peace to the loved ones of those who fought for France.
It did take me several chapters to engage with the story, but I ultimately found myself drawn into the story and unable to put the book down. The writing is beautifully descriptive and almost lyrical. I could imagine myself living in Paris 1916 hiding in bomb shelters when the Germans attacked and then defiantly going into the streets to live life.
This book, which will be published in July 2016, is charmingly evocative of early 20th Century Paris mixed with Russian expatriate angst about the fate of the Tsar and his family and hereditary magic. Really enjoyed it!
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