Author: M.J Rose
Type of book: 1895, Belle Epoque, France, marriage, infidelity, French culture, art school, arts, esoteric matters, body posession, secrets, grandmother/granddaughter relationship, running away, breaking traditions
Year it was published: 2015
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.
The main characters include Sandrine, a woman running away from her marriage. She appears in France and begins to hang out with her grand-mere who happens to be a famous courtesan. Salome then allows for an ancient spirit to inhabit her body, and despite the audience's and grand-mere's wish, she seems to be reluctant to let it go. Other characters include Salome's grandmother who knows hidden secrets about the ancient power that decides to inhabit Salome, and Julian, an architect who is engaged but falls in love with Salome, as she does with him. The most important character, however is the spirit herself and what she wants and her desires as well as her story.
Its hard to go back
The story is written in first person narrative from Sandrine's point of view. In beginning there is invocation of beauty of the Belle Epoque of Paris and of where Salome finds herself located at. But then, just as the reader begins to develop a plateau for the place and time, new elements become consistently introduced which means that the reader has to readjust their plateau. Little by little, with hardly any notice or warning, the reader then starts descending into madness along with Salome, which create amazing plot twists where I didn't know where the story was going with this.
Buy the Book
Lush, sensual, evocative, a cocktail blend of elegance, fantasy, horror, gothic and supernatural elements in one book. I've previously only read The Collector of Dying Breaths and although I found it good and well-written, with this one the author really outdoes herself. Many times I would be reading the story, and my mouth would be dropped open because I couldn't believe what just happened or what was revealed. Reading it reminded me of the frightening stories I used to read as a kid such as Fear Street by R.L Stine; and then there were a lot of elements in Dreams of the Red Chamber except the descent into madness is taken at a faster speed. In some cases it also echoed Tale of Genji supernatural elements and the elegance of the time. By the way, the cover is very breath taking and amazing as well.
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4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)