NetGalley Top Reviewer

NetGalley Top Reviewer
NetGalley Top Reviewer

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Witch of Painted Sorrows by MJ Rose

Here's a perfect example of my reality not meeting my expections with a highly anticipated read. I could NOT wait to get my hands on this book. Received approval for it, and then had to wait until the placeholder file was replaced with the e-book. Set aside a Friday night to devote to devouring it.  The cover is absolutely stunning and tantalizing. Then, I opened it and started reading.

3.0 out of 5 stars - "Destiny is a result of our passion, be that for money, power or love."

Set in Paris in the 1890s, this supernatural Gothic romantic drama centers on a character's obsession with "art, sensuality, and the occult." Sandrine Verlaine Salome, married to an American banker, flees the USA for Paris when her beloved father dies because he discovers that Sandrine's husband, a scoundrel of the worst kind, has ruined him. Sandrine seeks shelter with her grandmother, a well-known courtesan, but soon stirs up a malevolent spirit from their family's past -- the great La Lune -- a legendary witch who seeks to possess Sandrine and commandeer her life.

Rich with details of Belle Epoque Paris and the sights and sounds of that incredible historical period, the story evokes somewhat frightening sensations of mysterious and strong occult phenomenon that require a great suspension of likely reality in the events that happen to Sandrine. The changes in Sandrine and the effects of the possession are quite fantastic and a reader not prepared for the transformative nature from a personality and force beyond the grave may find it all a bit much. The novel, well researched, describes the strange and wild underground that flourished during that time. Sandrine both embraces and fears the spirit that claims her as she falls in love with an architect and reaches for her personal destiny. As La Lune inexorably takes control, Sandrine finds herself achieving success with her newly found passion for painting and fulfillment as a woman in love. Which will prove the stronger and prevail - the woman who is Sandrine or the spirit of La Lune?

I loved 3 of MJ Rose's previous books that featured character Jac L'Etoile and the perfumery business. I was so eager for this upcoming release that I could hardly wait to finally get the book downloaded to read. After only the first few pages, I was disappointed. Sad. I just didn't care for the character of Sandrine and I never really bought into the story or felt any suspense. Anyone who has read my blog or reviews knows that I don't care for a lot of romance and I definitely am not a fan of erotica.

Mostly annoyed, I kept reading -- hoping that the Rose magic would weave its spell and make me believe in the possibility of the paranormal and the idea of a soul waiting for just the right person to come along. That never happened and I listlessly limped through the pages taking several days to finish a book I could have read in a couple of hours. I would guess that fans of Rose's reincarnation themes will still find this compelling and will want to be sure to read it, but my recommendation is ho hum -- this is definitely not my cup of tea (or absinthe) and though glad to have the chance to get a copy of the book, I'd leave a caution that a reader be in the mood for this type of book. I tend to be unable to suspend disbelief and found myself mostly irritated by Sandrine and what all happened with her. I'll definitely read other books by this author in the future, and hope that my reaction was a temporary derailment from my enjoyment of this genre. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Atria Books for the e-book ARC to review.

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