ABOUT THE BOOK:
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.
M.J. Rose continues to enchant and captivate in her latest book, THE SECRET LANGUAGE OF STONES. In The Daughters of La Lune book two, we meet Opaline, the daughter of Sandrine from the first book, THE WITCH OF PAINTED SORROWS. In my opinion, each book could be a stand alone, but you get much more insight if you read and savour each one.
As always, I was entranced from the very first page. M.J. Rose does this thing with words that makes you feel as if you are in a dream while reading her books. On top of the paranormal romance aspect, she also includes a great deal of political intrigue. Past books have been more geared towards magical elements, and while this one also had that, there was a great deal more history included. Secondary plots are as well written as the main plot and add an interesting spin on the story. There is a grand cast of characters from Opaline and her spirit, Jean-Luc, to a Romanov looking for information about her family.
I know of no other author who can weave a tale like M.J. Rose. Her writing is magical and delves deep into your soul. Descriptions are so rich with details that one begins to believe that the mystical aspects of the story are possible (and, maybe they are?). Great attention is given to the development of each character and they become friends and family to the reader. I cannot recommend this book highly enough and only wish that my words could convey how much I loved this book.
With lavish writing complete with romance and mystery, I give THE SECRET LANGUAGE OF STONES and exuberant 5 stars *****.
I received an electronic copy of this book from Atria Books via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.