The Witch of Painted Sorrows (The Daughters of La Lune)

M. J. Rose

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.

Atria Books 384 pages

  • Reviews

Gaele Hi

11 months ago

1890’s Paris is the setting, and Sandrine Salome is running to her grandmother’s home in Paris from an abusive husband in New York. While her grandmother insists that the family home is also dangerous, she does welcome Sandrine, and tries to protect her from all that would harm her. In the process, there are family secrets to unravel, a possible possession, her delving into her, until then, erotic fantasy life and the ever-menacing threat of her husband’s return.

With great skill, M.J. Rose incorporated lavish detail and historical fact into the story’s background, giving readers an easily accessible series of visual references, bringing Paris to life. Exposing readers to areas that may have been unfamiliar, adding in art, the occult and a menacing spirit that is threatening Sandrine’s psyche and life, the twists never stop coming to add details and depth, as well as increase the tension.

With the introduction to Julien, Sandrine’s eyes are truly opened: he is an architect with a taste for the bohemian freestyling life of art, sex and even dabbling in the occult. Sandrine’s fascination with this new life that feels so freeing is not without difficulties and secrets, but allows her growth beyond her own limited imaginings.

Rose uses language and phrasing with care and precision, evocative and lush, each sentence builds the story, the characters and the tension as a collision of old, new, corporeal and spiritual elements fight to gain supremacy as Sandrine discovers a new life and desires. Erotic moments enlighten Sandrine’s outlook, and provide a solid example of her changing personality, but whether it is truly her breaking free, or the spirits taking over, that is yet to be determined.

Multiple generations, outlooks and perspectives span time to come together to culminate in a story that is difficult to put down. Wholly engaging, with twists and tensions galore, this is a wonderful example of historical fiction with a thread of romance and the supernatural.

I received an eArc cop of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.


Magdalena Johansson

11 months ago

I have for a while now wanted to read a M.J. Rose book. The stories in the books have intrigued me and I love the covers for them. I was quite glad when I got the chance to read this new one and to be part of a blog tour.

Sandrine Salome has left her husband and fled New York to take refuge at her grandmother's house in Paris. But she discovers when she gets there that her grandmother is planning to turn the house to a museum and she also forbids Sandrine to visit the house. But she can't help feel drawn to the house and one day she defies her grandmother and goes to the house and there she meets Julien Duplessi, the architect that is to turn the house to a museum. With Julien Sandrine feels something she hasn't felt with her husband; passion. But will the passion ultimately destroy her? Because the women in her family are said to being under a curse; that they should never love anyone that that will only lead to destruction...

I was quickly drawn into the story of this book about courtesans, witches, possessions and passion. It was an intriguing story and very beautifully written. Sandrine starts out as a young woman in mourning for her father and for her failed marriage, but as the story progress she changes, she starts to paint and it consumes her. But as she learns more and more about her family's story about La Lune, the famous courtesan she slowly starts to lose herself to La Lune. Was La Lune a witch? A woman desperate to live again century's after her death? Sandrine's grandmother tries everything to keep her from the house, from painting. Everything that has to do with La Lune, but Sandrine is in love and love is the very thing that La Lune feeds on...

As I read on I soon got a feeling of doom about the ending. I just knew that this book couldn't end happy and the ending was...let's say I really want to read the next book in the series!

In the end I just want to say that I’m I enjoyed reading The Witch of Painted Sorrow very much and I’m looking forward to read the rest of the books in this series and other books that M.J. Rose has written.

I received a copy from the publisher and france book tours in return for an honest review!

Review also posted on And Now for Something Completely Different and It's a Mad Mad World

Books & Benches

11 months ago

This is the first book I've read by M.J. Rose. I was drawn to this book by the setting, the cover, and the hint of paranormal. I honestly didn't know what to think of the writing style at first, but without realizing what was happening, the story pulled me in. Beautifully written with vivid details of time and place, The Witch of Painted Sorrows draws the reader into its pages with mystery, melancholy, and in the beginning, a touch of romance. I can't say that I personally enjoy stories where the characters in the main relationship are married or involved elsewhere; I don't like the dishonesty, but it fit with the story. In truth, the grandmother became my favorite character. I liked her color and passion for everything; in real life, she'd be a force to reckon with. The pace was a little slow in places, but the description was interesting enough to keep me reading through those parts. M.J. Rose is a remarkable talent and I plan to try more of her books.

*A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The Bookend Family

7 months ago

I was absorbed in this book for the duration I was reading it! This is truly a captivating tale, one that lives and breathes in the readers every sense. From the very first chapter I was hooked. The characters are so vividly imagined that I had no issues knowing these people. I felt carried away on their journey with them and it was a wondrous journey! There were blissful moments, secret moments, and even scary moments. The setting was just as opulent as the characters, each and every locale shoppe transported me right to the spot.

I do not like to give anything away, but I will say that the story starts with a lone girl running away from a turbulent past. However, this novel is not so much about running away, but running towards (...who we are, what we dream, our inherited destiny?) The story was richly conveyed through imaginary on scale with the artisans discussed within this novel.

This novel was so precisely devised that I have no issue proclaiming it as one of our 2015 TOP PICK books! This is a must read book, and I'm delighted to have had the opportunity to read and review this new release from a very talented author.

Review by: Stacy Palm Full Reviews Available at:


3 months ago

A bit disappointed in how this book ended. Beautifully written, but I knew it would be. It's M.J. Rose! But, despite its decadent settings and beautiful language the story fell a little flat for me, mostly because I couldn't bring myself to cheer for the main character. Definitely still worth the read. Gorgeous, haunting, and sensual.

Full review to come.