Publisher: Atria Books
Source: NetGalley and publisher for review
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.Art, mystery, romance.... uh, yes please. I was totally taken in by this book. I loved reading about all of the paintings and even looked up a couple while reading. I was totally captivated by the background in this book and Paris in that time period (1890s).
What was really interesting is how the book progressed for me. It was at first a book about a woman leaving a bad marriage. Then it introduced a bit of magic and it felt like I may be in for a magical realism book. As time goes on it gets darker and darker. It turns into a haunted book and then twists into a horror book. It really made the book compelling.
I did have a few problems with the book. Her husband Benjamin was not a nice guy and in fact sounded abusive, but not in an over the top way we often get in these books. I thought that there would be more to him but there wasn't and I felt that it was a lost opportunity. He really was just background for her being in Paris and when we was reinserted into the story it felt a bit forced. If this was my only problem, the book would have gotten very high marks from me. I loved the mystery, atmosphere and romance. What I hated was the ending.
One thing I hate more than cliffies are abrupt endings. In one way I actually can see how it works here. It keeps you thinking about it and wondering about all the unanswered questions. If you are like me, then you will not like the ending at all. Too much left open and the last chapter wasn't to sum up but more like an epilogue that happened a couple days after the big finish. I just need a wee bit more information to be satisfied. Just at least one more question (but an important one) to leave me with a smile.
I've been debating about what I will score this one. I think I'll give it 3 1/2 stars. I loved most of the book. I had a hard time putting it down, but that ending? For me it was a killer. I'm certain that for others they will like the way it ended because it kept in in your mind pondering things and turning things over. I do recommend this book to those that love a story that seems to transform. I know I'll be reading more from this author.