The Secret Language of Stones (The Daughters of La Lune #2)
Author: M.J. Rose
Genre: Historical Fiction/Fantasy
Publication Date: July 19, 2016
Publisher: Atria Books
Formats: Hardcover & eBook; 320 Pages
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) novel The 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).
“A spellbinding ghost story that communicates the power of love and redemption through Rose's extraordinary, magical lens.” (Alyson Richman, internationally bestselling author of The Lost Wife)
The Secret Language of Stones is an imaginative and richly detailed novel that will leave readers wanting more. The story revolves around Opaline Duplessi, a young woman working in the famous Paris jewelry store, La Fantaisie Russe, and her magical ability to translate the power of certain stones. Using her gift, Opaline creates jewelry for the weary people who are struggling through World War I - soldiers and widows alike. Opaline begins to receive messages from soldiers who have died, asking that she pass along their final words to loved ones. When one of the messages is sent directly to her, Opaline begins a dangerous journey that will lead her across countries torn apart by war - to the only Romanov to escape the horrifying massacre that killed the rest of her family.
The novel was full of vivid details, which immediately drew me into the story. The settings, characters, and different scenes throughout the book are described with extreme care and rich imagery, to the point where I could practically see and feel the various stones that Opaline worked with, and I felt as if I was in 20th century France alongside her. The author once again uses her incredible talent to bring the world inside the pages of the novel to life and immerses the reader so deeply - to the point of complete enchantment. The characters were all very well rounded with distinctive personalities - showing both their strengths and their flaws, their hopes and fears, and their thoughts and emotions. I felt like I knew Opaline personally before the novel was finished and I loved meeting each character we encounter throughout the book. The plot is full of mystery, passion, and history. I found the idea of lithomancy to be compelling and exciting, so the mystery and the passion that occurs around this ability had me eagerly reading each page to see what was going to happen next. In conclusion, this is by far one of the best books I've read so far this year. It's beautifully written with an unique story and unforgettable characters. Very highly recommended for fans of historical fiction, mystery, and general/literary fiction!
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.
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Review at The Lit Bitch
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