Today I have reviewed M.J. Rose’s The Secret Language of Stones. But first, isn’t this a gorgeous cover?? It’s even more lovely in the actual hardback version. However, I tend to love all her cover art, and her writing inside-just as artistic.
M.J. Rose always pens the most beautiful books. I know when I open the page, I’m going to be dazzled by her descriptive, harmonious prose. The last several books have been increasingly better, and The Secret Language of Stones, the second book in The Daughters of La Lune series, is one of the best yet. It’s predecessor, The Witch of Painted Sorrows, began the series, but they can be read stand alone without issue; however, if you did have a few questions after the first book, this one gives you some answers.
The Secret Language of Stones has history tilt of World War 1 France, which I was enamored to learn. I have long been wanting her to put a bit more historical research into her magical tales though she’s known for the magical and alluring romance angles featuring historical figures. This novel shows she has researched well and knows her historical and political history, which for me adds so much more dimension to my read.
However, I love how it’s nestled into the story around her protagonist, Opaline (the daughter of Sandrine from the The Witch of Painted Sorrows), who works for a jeweler to help mothers create pieces to commemorate a loved one lost to war. However, she finds when she touches the stones, along with a piece of something from the lost one, she can connect to the person who is deceased. This is her La Lune (dark arts) heritage, to be able to feel the emotions of others, and soon she is making bridges to those from the past, including one ghost she sees in visions, so real to her he is almost with her. She does not want to utilize the mystic powers at first, being apprehensive of them, but as she sees how much she can help others in war time situations to have resolution, she becomes braver and more dedicated and insistent about her abilities.
As well Opal’s jewelry store owner’s family is of Russian descent. Pavel Orloff, trained by Faberge, owns La Fantasie Russe in the Palais Royal, of which the setting Rose describes with longing and intricate detail. Orloff had escaped Russia from the Bolsheviks, and brought with him certain jewels. When he hears that the Tsar has been assassinated, he decides to have Opal take a necklace to England to give to the Dowager Empress, who is exiled there, to reclaim the Romanov dynasty. Opal will use her mystical powers to take on this dangerous mission, which quickly moves the plot forward.
One buzz word for me when reading historical fiction is Romanov. Couple that with my love for gems and stones and their supernatural powers, I could be completely sold on this book. However, I also found a completely absorbing and captivating novel with fully fleshed out characters, dripping details and descriptions, and beautiful thoughts and emotions. My tears flowed and my heart was sore during many parts of this story, but not in an erroneous way, as I love books that make me think and feel deeply and possess so much emotion that I sometimes feel spent after reading them. This book was a welcome gift of that during some time of hit and miss with books that truly spoke to me. It offered themes of love lost, redemption, duty, sacrifice, and overall, a lesson in how we all are truly connected to the Earth, our possessions, each other, soul to soul.
This was a glorious read, enchanting in its magical realm and interesting in regards to historical and political conflicts and what they cause to people. It featured a woman of strength, of whom has an open call from the universe, which created a plot of suspense and surrealism.The novel showed the beauty of souls in its various use of gem stones, the power of loss, and the bond between families. The Secret Language of Stones is a mesmerizing tale of redemption, loss, and most of all, love and its binds that transcend space and time. I highly recommend this book if you are looking for a read to absorb you for a day and take you on a journey well-traveled.
The Secret Language of Stones by M.J. Rose
Publication Date: July 19, 2016
Hardcover & eBook; 320 Pages
Series: The Daughters of La Lune, Book Two
Genre: Historical Fiction/Fantasy
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)
About the Author
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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