Thursday, August 11, 2016

Julie's Review: The Secret Language of Stones

Author: M.J. Rose
Series: The Daughters of LaLune (#2)
Publication Date: July 19, 2016
Publisher: Atria Books
Pages: 320
Obtained: purchased
Genre:  Historical Fiction, Supernatural
Rating: 3.75/5
Bottom Line: Too mystical for my taste but M.J. Rose knows how to write a setting
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Library
Summary: 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.

Review: Secret Language of Stones is definitely a book that is meant for people who are into the supernatural elements in the world. I am not that person. That being said I appreciated Ms. Rose's ability to transport you to Paris in 1918 during World War I. She has a way of taking you to a certain period in time and make it feel like you are walking those certain streets.

 Opaline is an interesting character. She has a gift of hearing voices of the dead but only when she is wearing or making her tailsman. She is also an extraordinary jeweler. She has a the job of creating lockets for the mothers and wives of the soldiers who won't be returning from the battlefield. Opaline feels that this gives her purpose and she feels that she is helping the war effort in her own way. That is until she becomes emotionally attached to one of these lockets she is making for Madamoiselle Alouette because her only son Jean Luc was lost in the war.

Jean Luc is the portal that now allows Opaline to hear those who have crossed over after death and this is not an easy thing for her to bear. It becomes something that she needs to learn how to deal with but she's always shied away from that part of her family history and abilities.

I had a hunch throughout the book but I wasn't sure I was going to be right until the epilogue confirmed my suspicions. Sometimes it's nice when your thoughts about a certain situation turn out to be right. I felt that she some times she put herself in precarious situations just to move the story along. There is one part of the story where I was irritated that she couldn't figure it out since it was pretty darn evident.

While I enjoyed the novel, I would say that I would recommend it only to those who have an affinity to read supernatural stories.



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