The Witch of Painted Sorrows by M.J. Rose
**I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review**
4 ½ stars!
In this haunting and beautiful story about an oppressed house wife, Sandrine (Asch) Verlaine, begins with Sandrine running to her Grandmother in Paris, France in the year 1894. Her father has recently died, and left her with a ruthless, uncaring husband who sees her more as his property than his wife. When she leaves, she does so without her husband really knowing who or where she ran to, as she wants to flee as far from him and his secrets as possible. But she unknowingly runs straight into some family secrets of her own.
Her Grand-mere, Eva Verlaine, is a courtesan who has served the gentleman of Paris of some time. Upon her arrival, her Grandmother insists it unsafe for her to be there, but Sandrine seeks the safety that family brings and cannot be dissuaded to return home. During her time in Paris, Sandrine is heartbroken to know that her Grandmother has moved from her home – Maison de la Lune – to do some renovations. She has hired a gifted architect named Julien Duplessi to complete the repairs, and without her knowledge, Sandrine and Julien strike up a friendship that consists of discussing art and going to museums together. But when Sandrine finds a mysterious ruby necklace, their relationship takes a turns and becomes something much more – an experience so seductive and sensual, Sandrine wants more…but so does La Lune, the sixteen century witch that has possessed Sandrine through the ruby necklace. Sandrine even goes as far as to disguise herself as a man to get into a famous art school so she can perfect the gifts that her and La Lune share. But what happens could be catastrophic for the unknowing Sandrine – once she surpasses a certain point with La Lune, will there be any chance for her to go back?
This story was so descriptive and rich that I almost felt like I could see some of the paintings, or the way Julien looks at Sandrine. It was so sensual – the artwork, the relationship, and the story. The way Sandrine’s experiences were described made me feel like all I had to do was close my eyes and I could be transported into her world – where the lines between right and wrong as easily skewed, and between love and lust were blended into a beautiful and dangerous master piece that became the life that Sandrine never knew possible.