Review: The Witch of Painted Sorrows by M.J. Rose


The Witch of Painted Sorrows by MJ Rose // VBC ReviewThe Witch of Painted Sorrows (The Daughters of La Lune #1)
M.J. Rose
Published: March 17, 2016 (Atria Books)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: purchased

Reviewed by: Jannelle

Rating (out of 5): 3 stars

When we meet Sandrine Salome, she is running away from her home and husband in New York to the safe haven her grandmother can potentially provide in Paris, France, in the 1890’s. When she finally arrives and meets up with her unsuspecting grandmother, nothing is as she remembers being from her childhood. Her grandmother has abandoned the family manor and is secretly escaping during the day, lying to Sandrine about where she’s going. In an attempt to discover the secret her grandmother is hiding, Sandrine ends up in a mystery all of her own. What begins as a charming historical fiction novel soon evolves into a story subtly laced with paranormal intrigue.

While creating a new life in Paris under the name Sandrine Verlaine, Sandrine is constantly reminded of the life—and husband—she has left behind in America. Under her new name, she is able to create a new life and identity, a person in love with art, passion, and dark magick. This persona, however, is not one she has created, but borrowed: La Lune is a courtesan and family ancestor who succumbed to the dark arts and is now in possession of Sandrine’s body. While she does not have complete possession, Sandrine’s thoughts, feelings, and actions are greatly influenced by La Lune’s presence, including La Lune’s dark magickal talent for witchcraft.

It took a while for the story to evolve into its paranormal elements, which is part of the reason I was struggling to get through the first half of the novel. Not that I can’t read anything other than paranormal romance or urban fantasy—it just wasn’t what I expected and I’m still trying to figure out my feels. I look forward to novels that have the paranormal elements take over the plot in a big way—like through world-building or in character profiles, etc. The witchcraft element, while interesting, was not well developed and left me wanting more. (Maybe in the second installment?)

Although the story takes place in the sophisticated and posh late 1900s, the chemistry and physical connection between Sandrine and her love-interest Julien Duplessi can rival any modern-day set paranormal romance. From the moment they meet, the tension is ever present and continuously grows, making for a surprisingly hot read.

My issue with The Witch of Painted Sorrows revolves around my feelings toward Sandrine and the overall pace of the story. It’s not that I didn’t like Sandrine, it’s that I didn’t hate her, either. I had no real feelings towards her and the story moved so slow that it allowed for predictability and hindered my ability to get a good read on her.

I am curious to see what’s in store in the second installment of the series though, The Secret Language of Stones, which I am picking up after the climactic ending to The Witch of Painted Sorrows.

Overall, 3 stars for me. Granted, there is more to this story than a woman running away from a broken marriage, but at the end of the day it was still a slow-moving plot that was difficult to read through. What made it interesting for me was Julien and La Lune’s surprising history and story into her past. Am curious if any of you have picked it up and what your thoughts were.

Sexual content: graphic sex

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Powered by WordPress | Designed by Elegant Themes
Malcare WordPress Security