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.
Kindle Edition, 384 pages
Expected publication: March 17th 2015 by Atria Books
I’ve always had an interest in the Belle Époque and more specifically with the courtesans of the demi monde and the lives they led, coupled with the prospect of the occult coming into play, which has always had a strong hold in France from the time of the Affair of the Poisons in the late 17th century, so I was really looking forward to being swept away into that world, but unfortunately that didn’t happen.
It took a lot of effort for me to keep reading because the pace of the story lagged. I felt as though I was walking through quicksand. It does pick up towards the end, but I felt like it took too much effort to get to the meat of the story, especially since we get a clue as to what the outcome is in the very beginning. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for developing storylines, characters, the world, but just when it looked like things would finally start happening, it stalled and that was frustrating. But I kept with it because I wanted to know more about La Lune and the family’s history as well as the occult aspect, and while satisfying I wish we’d gotten it quicker and spent more time on it instead. As far as tying up the smaller storylines and ultimate ending of the book, well I have mixed feelings. Some made sense, some were a little too clean and easy for me and the ending, while abrupt, was an interesting way to end it because while not necessarily a cliffhanger, it does leave things open to interpretation.
Sandrine didn’t do much for me and I found myself more exasperated and annoyed with her than anything else. I had no issue with her leaving her husband, but lets just say that being in her head as much as we are didn’t do much to have me sympathize with her and really get behind what she believed she wanted. The romance angle with Julian. I could see the interest between the two and her being his paramour, but anything deeper just didn’t fit.
While I didn’t absolutely love this book and did struggle with it, I do have to commend the author on how detailed she was when it came to describing Paris and the various works of art that were described throughout the story. She really did bring the city and works to life and made me feel like I was right there with the characters and taking it all in.
~ I received an ARC copy from Atria Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review: Expected publication date is 3/17/15 ~