PJV Quickie: I should probably preface this review with the fact that Historical Fiction/Romance is not my favorite genre. I don’t dislike the genre, but it’s not one of my favorites. You should only know this because maybe my disinclination for the genre painted the book in a bad light and you might enjoy it, but I don’t believe this is the case. THE WITCH OF PAINTED SORROWS by M.J. Rose was a tough read. The book was slow, the characters were a bit inconsistent and the ending seemed really rushed and there wasn’t a very big conclusion that felt like the book came to an end. It was more of a “gotcha” type ending which didn’t go over well with me. I wanted to like THE WITCH OF PAINTED SORROWS, it sounded like a great read, but it just didn’t do it for me.
Review: Escaping a bad marriage, the main character Sandrine runs to Paris to live with her courtesan grandmother. Her grandmother isn’t that happy to see her though, she doesn’t want Sandrine to fall under some family curse which she can only experience in Paris. But, Sandrine finds an awakening in Paris, she falls in love with an architect, picks up a new passion for painting and finally feels alive. The issue, is that it might not be Sandrine at all, but the spirit of Sandrine’s long dead ancestor La Luna possessing Sandrine and awakening her.
The first part of the novel is Sandrine exploring the mansion of her ancestors and her grandmother making a bunch of cryptic comments about not falling in love…and that she has to leave Paris. She never explains though. She seems to know all that Sandrine needs to know, but she doesn’t explain – even when she drags Sandrine to get exorcised. But, Sandrine doesn’t seem to mind her possession, she traipses around in men’s clothes, paints erotic paintings and lives the life she always wanted. This lack of explanation was what frustrated me the most in this novel, because everything was “hinted” yet nothing was expanded on. The husband shows up in Paris, but nothing really comes of that until the very end, there was no “climax.” Sandrine glimpses over and over and over again, someone that looks like her husband – but it couldn’t be… until the very end when poof he is there and then the final conflict. No build up or increase of anxiety for me. The character of La Luna is spoken of, is explored, but there was never really any impending doom with the possession. I just didn’t feel it.
The good stuff was the talk of painting and description of erotic pictures and a lot of discussion about the occult and Paris in that time period. The author excelled in this area, but the story and plot floundered for me. The author meandered through her explanations, trying to give the novel an ethereal and magical feel that had pretty words, but very little substance. Pair that with the fact it was slow to start, I put this one down on numerous occasions and had to push myself to finish.
Give it a try yourself if you enjoy a very light paranormal historical, but if it is not your genre of choice, I wouldn’t recommend it.
Recommendations: For fans of historical/paranormal romance with very light tones, much like magical realism but in a historical settings.
I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The Witch of Painted Sorrows by M. J. RosePublished by Simon and Schuster on March 17th 2015
Genres: Fiction, Historical
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.