Book review and giveaway: The Witch of Painted Sorrows – I love France #138

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The Witch of Painted Sorrows


The Witch of Painted Sorrows cover

In full compliance with FTC Guidelines,
I received this ebook for free in exchange
for a fair and honest review.
I was in no way compensated for this post
as a reviewer,
and the thoughts are my own.
The Witch of Painted Sorrows
MJ Rose
Release date: March 17, 2015
by Atria Books/Simon & Schuster

ISBN: 978-1476778068
Hardcover, 384 pages
also available as ebook

Genre:  historical suspense / paranormal

Source: Received
from the author for a
virtual book tour on France Book Tours

This book counts for the following Reading Challenges:

 French Bingo 2015 logo  2015 HF Reading Challenge Button_FINAL 

  2015 ebook   New-Release-Challenge


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You know a book is really good when it’s in a genre you usually never read, and yet as soon as you open the book, you get totally glued to it, as another blogger said about this same book. And you just can’t stop flipping the pages. This has been my experience with two previous books by MJ Rose: Seduction and The Collector of Dying Breaths. And no, I usually do not read nor like paranormal themes. But with one exception for MJ Rose. She did it again with her latest, The Witch of Painted Sorrows, and I’m really thrilled to present it to you today.

What’s really fascinating in this book is how the author manages to mix historical fiction, with extremely solid background research (ah, the descriptions of Paris!), the world of art (more awesome descriptions), suspense, paranormal elements, and some romance as well. I challenge you to name me another author who can pull it all together as she does.

The book opens in Paris in 1894. After some dramatic family event, Sandrine, in her twenties, judged safer for her to leave her violent husband in New York, and to flee discreetly to her grandmother’s in Paris, where she hopes he won’t be able to trace her. She has great memory of her grandmother’s wonderful house she visited ten years earlier. But when she arrives, the house is empty. And the dark street is iffy and full of threats. Not the best of Parisian welcome…

Sandrine finally manages to locate her grandmother in another place, but can’t understand why she seems to prevent her from entering this house. What could be in it? Of course the brave and curious Sandrine is not going to let herself ordered round. With the help of Julien, an architect working in that intriguing mansion, one day she explores…A really cool, Gothic place à la Manderley...

It’s the beginning of a total change in her life, full of discoveries and threats. She will actually soon discover that her life and the life of those she knows are even in danger. Will she have the strength to face these dangers, to survive them, or rather decide to live a more subdued but safe life?

The book is very sensual, and not only with sex, but also with the rich world of senses, with amazing scents and perfumes, and the colorful world of painting. You will meet famous painters, and enter the most prestigious art school in Paris! The book presents a profound reflection on the magic of art at all levels of the expression…
A fascinating level, as far as the art is concerned, is the place women were allowed to occupy in it in Paris at the time.

This is also the Paris of courtesans, of salons, culture, music, the opera, and the occult, attracting so many people, especially artists, at the end of the 19th century –the review I recently posted on Floats The Dark Shadow is another great illustration of it. All these themes are developed by the means of key locations in Paris (including famous restaurants and the infamous lake under Opéra Garnier!), evoked with fantastic details that make you believe you are really there as you read.

The places and the scenes used for the occult, like a secret society, a mysterious library, the dreadful basement of a cabaret (all these did exist), a mysterious book, and the use Hermetism, of The Kabala and Jewish exorcism, were amazing.

I really enjoyed the theme of dreams, nightmares, and how Sandrine’s life was suddenly at the edge of reality… Her character development is excellent, as she struggles to decide between safety in an ordinary life and or dangerous powers that seem to be her only way of being brilliant and loved. I took it at another level of reflection: who are are? What do we think makes us who we are? Where are our talents coming from? What’s our deepest identity? And can love be a danger to our own self?

Sandrine’s grandmother is also facing similar threats, and the author decided through her character to show another possible reaction to such phenomena. I will let you discover her by yourself. Adding to this the sense of guilt and concern for Sandrine, I found her very richly presented to us. Actually, you may have an inkling when you meet the character of La Lune –it means “the moon” in French, and it is not without reason that we talk of some people being “lunatic” (shortened now in “loony”). And oh you have the inevitable duel!

VERDICT: Masterfully combining a threatening mix of historical fiction, suspense, paranormal and romantic elements, MJ Rose manages once again to lead her readers into an irresistible world. The magic of art is luscious and rich, but it can be also extremely dangerous. You have been warned, now enjoy!


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.


mj-roseNew York Times Bestseller, 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 believes mystery and magic are all around us
but we are too often too busy to notice…
books that exaggerate mystery and magic draw attention to it and remind us to look for it and revel in it.

Please visit her website, her blog: Museum of Mysteries
Subscribe to her mailing list

Follow her on Facebook and Twitter

Buy the book:  Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  | Indiebound


What good other paranormal suspense novel
would you recommend?




You can enter the giveaway here or on the book blogs participating in this tour.
Be sure to follow each participant on Twitter/Facebook,
they are listed in the entry form below


Visit each blogger on the tour:
tweeting about the giveaway everyday
of the Tour will give you 5 extra entries each time!
[just follow the directions on the entry-form]

5 winners
Open internationally
$20 gift card



The Witch of Painted Sorrows banner


17 thoughts on “Book review and giveaway: The Witch of Painted Sorrows – I love France #138

  1. What a wonderful review. I have wanted to read her other books as well. I can see I’m certainly goig to have to red this much sdooner then I thought. After reading your review I wished I could read it now. :). Thank you so much.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com


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  8. You give such an engaging narrative of the plot! I admire how much research is being done these days by authors across so many genres, and the boundaries between genres are fading. M. J. Rose sounds like one who is offering bold fiction at these boundaries, with a high degree of craftswomanship.


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