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

witchTitle: The Witch of Painted Sorrows

Author: M.J. Rose

Source: eARC from Netgalley

Pages: 319

Publisher: Atria Books

Published: March 17, 2015

Purchase: Amazon/Barnes and Nobles

Rating: 5/5 stars


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.


I received this book through Netgalley for an honest review. This is a little different from the other books that I have reviewed/read in a while. It wasn’t so much as fantasy as I expected it to be. It’s more historical fiction with a hint of fantasy. The cover alone BLEW ME AWAY!! It is just beautiful and that’s what drew me in first. Also how could you not be drawn in by that beautiful picture of the Eiffel Tower! It makes me want to go back to Paris and experience it again.

So this book was great! I finished it in one night, I had to know what happened next! Obviously, that is a pretty good sign that it’s good. Rose has woven a beautiful story centered around Paris, France. The descriptive words used blew me away, I swear I would never think the same way again. Sandrine’s ability to think in colors as she paints and sees the world around her drew me further and further into the story. The back story of La Lune was magnificent yet sad and made you sympathize but not too much. Sandrine’s personality changed drastically as La Lune took over her and you could see Sandrine change from a timid young woman to a confident one and you rooted for her but at the same time you wanted to throttle her for not seeing what was right in front of her eyes. Sandrine was a character that I could really connect with and it made you want to finish the book to find out what happens next.

Julien, the architect that is living in Maison de la Lune is sexy and a normal man, he is so laid back and their romance is beautiful! It was almost insta-love but Rose dragged it out so that it didn’t happen at once. It starts out slowly with Sandrine thinking there is something wrong with her because her husband called her “frigid” (asshole) to Sandrine taking charge and getting what she wants. I just loved the romance between Julien and Sandrine, it was just so innocent and yet so sexy and lustful near the end. There is a little bit of sex scenes but they are tastefully done and is more about the passion and the feels then anything else.

The characters were not the only part of the story that drew me in. Rose’s ability to draw you into 1890s Paris, France and become immersed was amazing! You can really tell she did her research! She not only talked about the clothing, but the architecture, cults, seances that were happening and were all the rage, the symbolism, and the secret societies. You had it all! I wanted to travel back in time just to experience it all. Sometimes it could get heavy-handed with the details and I skimmed some parts but it was still beautiful!

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves historical fiction books and is maybe looking for something a little special to add to that mix!

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