M.J. Rose is one of my favorite authors so I was excited to offered her latest book, The Secret Language of Stones as part of a tour through Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. I was sent the book at no charge for my honest review.
About The Secret Language of Stones:
Publication Date: July 19, 2016
Hardcover & eBook; 320 Pages
Series: The Daughters of La Lune, Book Two
Genre: Historical Fiction/Fantasy
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) novelThe 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. Full of romance, seduction, and a love so powerful it reaches beyond the grave, The Secret Language of Stones is yet another “spellbindingly haunting” (Suspense magazine), “entrancing read that will long be savored” (Library Journal, starred review).
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.
Sign up for M.J. Rose’s newsletter and get information about new releases, free book downloads, contests, excerpts and more.
The Secret Language of Stones is the second book in The Daughters of La Lune series. I could have sworn I’d read the first book, The Witch of Painted Sorrows but apparently I hadn’t. I’ve read and enjoyed so many of Ms. Rose’s books I just assumed I’d read that one as well. It didn’t matter to my enjoyment of this book at all. I was particularly attracted to this book with it’s focus on gemstones – I do love gems and their mythology.
Opaline Duplessi is a young woman with what some consider a gift but she considers a curse. She can “hear” gemstones. Or at least receive messages from the dead through them. She is a daughter of La Lune – a witch and her legacy manifests differently in each generation. Opaline wants to deny her gift but she really can’t so she decided to use it to help people grieving losses from the War. She goes to Paris and uses her skill as a jeweler to make special necklaces using the hair of the deceased – a talisman – that when she gives it to the mother or wife and holds their hands she will receive a message from their loved one. The work takes a huge emotional toll on her until she makes one for a woman and her son, a newspaper correspondent starts communicating with her. At first she questions her sanity but soon she comes to rely on his ethereal presence.
The family for whom she works are Russian emigrees and are very passionate about their home country and long for the return of the Tsar. When they learn that the Bolsheviks have killed him they hear from the Dowager who is making a clandestine trip to England who wants Opaline to determine whether the rest of the family is alive or dead. She is reluctant but feels she owes the family for all they have done for her so she embarks on the dangerous mission.
I did enjoy this book as I have enjoyed all of Ms. Rose’s books – although it did need a certain suspension of belief as all fantasy books do. I loved Opaline from the start – she is such a sweet thing. The story is interesting and I really enjoyed the jewelry aspects – I never made the kind of jewelry that Opaline does but reading about sparkly stones always makes me happy. I read this very quickly as it kept me turning the pages. A great summer read with some heartbreak, excitement and a love for the ages.
OTHER BOOKS BY M.J. ROSE:
All Amazon purchase links are affiliate links which means if you buy anything through them I will receive a small commission that helps to keep the Farm cats in toys and treats