Friday, July 22, 2016

The Secret Language of Stones by M.J. Rose - Book Review & Excerpt

 
About M.J. Rose
 

New 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.

Rose's work has appeared in many magazines including Oprah Magazine and she has been featured in the New York Times, Newsweek, WSJ, Time, USA Today and on the Today Show, and NPR radio. Rose graduated from Syracuse University, spent the '80s in advertising, has a commercial in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC and since 2005 has run the first marketing company for authors - Authorbuzz.com

The television series PAST LIFE, was based on Rose's novels in the Reincarnationist series. She is one of the founding board members of International Thriller Writers and currently serves, with Lee Child, as the organization's co-president.

Rose lives in CT with her husband the musician and composer, Doug Scofield, and their very spoiled and often photographed dog, Winka.

 
Book review


Review by Suze

It’s the time of the First World War and Opaline wants to be useful. She can do that through her creations. She works for a famous Russian jewelry maker, a protégé of Faberge. He makes the most stunning pieces and she has the chance to learn a lot from him. In a time of mourning people sometimes need something more than sparkling beauty and Opaline is the one who can give it to them. With her magic she can give the family of a deceased a last message from their loved one. She needs a lock of hair and she makes stunning mourning jewelry with it, offering the purchaser some much needed comfort.

One of her customers brings Opaline surprisingly precious, a lock of hair of a soldier named Jean Luc. This soldier is different and Opaline doesn’t want to let him go, so she keeps him near her heart. They can communicate and they are there for each other when they need it the most. Through Jean Luc’s messages Opaline finds the meaning of her life which is what she desperately needs when she has to make a hard, but necessary decision about her future at a terrifying moment.

The Secret Language of Stones is a beautiful enchanting story. I immediately loved Opaline. She is modest and friendly and she has a wonderful kind heart. I’m a big fan of gemstones and I loved reading M.J. Rose’s colorful and detailed descriptions of the jewelry. I could almost feel the magic, which was absolutely spellbinding. Opaline isn’t happy with her power and feels she has a certain responsibility. She’s using it for good and that was amazing to see. I loved the connection with Jean Luc. Opaline can feel him and she cherishes the time they have together. She has to make a choice between the dead and the living though and that isn’t easy. It was interesting to read about her inner battles and to see her grow. She shines and her brightness is stunning, just like the gemstones she uses, which is an analogy I liked very much.

The Secret Language of Stones has many emotional layers. There’s inner turmoil, true love, finding independence, acceptance, grief, spirit and much more. The storyline consists of many intriguing threads and they all come together in a brilliant ending. There’s an impressive final battle and the finale is both nerve-wracking and sweet. It’s exactly the sort of ending that makes an already great story magnificent.

M.J. Rose has a fantastic expressive writing style. I loved the charming and seductive parts of the story just as much as the captivating and sometimes adorable scenes about true love. I love it when I’m so focused on a story that I stop noticing everything that happens around me and The Secret Language of Stones is one of those rare compelling entrancing novels that can easily keep my attention for hours. If you like stories about strong women with a rich history of talent and potential, you should definitely read The Secret Language of Stones. I really enjoyed reading this fabulous and fascinating story.
 
About The Secret Language of Stones
 
 
As World War I rages and the Romanov dynasty reaches its sudden, brutal end, a young jewelry maker discovers love, passion, and her own healing powers in this rich and romantic ghost story, the perfect follow-up to M.J. Rose’s “brilliantly crafted” (Providence Journal) novel The Witch of Painted Sorrows.

Nestled within Paris’s historic Palais Royal is a jewelry store unlike any other. La Fantasie Russie is owned by Pavel Orloff, protégé to the famous Faberge, and is known by the city’s fashion elite as the place to find the rarest of gemstones and the most unique designs. But war has transformed Paris from a city of style and romance to a place of fear and mourning. In the summer of 1918, places where lovers used to walk, widows now wander alone.

So it is from La Fantasie Russie’s workshop that young, ambitious Opaline Duplessi now spends her time making trench watches for soldiers at the front, as well as mourning jewelry for the mothers, wives, and lovers of those who have fallen. People say that Opaline’s creations are magical. But magic is a word Opaline would rather not use. The concept is too closely associated with her mother Sandrine, who practices the dark arts passed down from their ancestor La Lune, one of sixteenth century Paris’s most famous courtesans.

But Opaline does have a rare gift even she can’t deny, a form of lithomancy that allows her to translate the energy emanating from stones. Certain gemstones, combined with a personal item, such as a lock of hair, enable her to receive messages from beyond the grave. In her mind, she is no mystic, but merely a messenger, giving voice to soldiers who died before they were able to properly express themselves to loved ones. Until one day, one of these fallen soldiers communicates a message—directly to her.
 
Don't Miss the First Book in The Daughters of La Lune Series, The Witch of Painted Sorrows.
 
 
Excerpt
 

My mother was disappointed I wasn’t following in her footsteps and studying painting but agreed jewelry design offered a fine alternative. I knew my choice appealed to the rebel in her. The field hadn’t yet welcomed women, and my mother, who had broken down quite a few barriers as a female artist and eschewed convention as much as plain white handkerchiefs, was pleased that, like her, I would be challenging the status quo.

When I’d graduated lycée, I convinced my parents to let me apprentice with a local jeweler, and Timur often stopped by Roucher’s shop at the end of the day to collect me and walk me home.

Given our ages, his twenty to my seventeen, it wasn’t surprising our closeness turned physical, and we spent many hours hiding in the shadows of the rocks on the beach as twilight deepened, kissing and exploring each other’s bodies. The heady intimacy was exciting. The passion, transforming. My sense of taste became exaggerated. My sense of smell became more attenuated. The stones I worked with in the shop began to shimmer with a deeper intensity, and my ability to hear their music became fine-tuned.

The changes were as frightening as they were exhilarating. As the passions increased my powers, I worried I was becoming like my mother. And yet my fear didn’t make me turn from Timur. The pleasure was too great. My attraction was fueled by curiosity rather than love. Not so for him. And even though I knew Timur was a romantic, I never guessed at the depths of what he felt.

Giveaway

Enter this giveaway for a chance to win a beautiful Daughter of La Lune pendant. Designed by Cadsawan Jewelry, the silver pendant contains a labradorite, a magical stone excellent for awakening one's own awareness of inner spirit, intuition, and psychic abilities.
 


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