M.J. Rose’s THE WITCH OF PAINTED SORROWS is a tale filled with witchcraft, romance, possession, history, underground occults, and courtesans. This was my first book by M.J Rose, and after reading it I wondered why I haven’t discovered her sooner.
Rose writes with eloquence as she pulls you into New York socialite Sandrine Salome’s world and slowly reveals it’s darker side.The words on the pages seduce you by its evocative prose and you can’t help but be lured into the story. Sandrine was an interesting protagonist. I admired that she left her husband, who she believed was responsible for her father’s suicide, and fled to Paris during a time when it was unthinkable or acceptable for a woman to do. I enjoyed her journey of trying to find her own path, pursing her passions, and finding a way to be independent; all before women’s suffrage began.
One of my favorite lines from the book was by Sandrine’s grandmother, a celebrated Parisian courtesan: “Love? Don’t put any stock in it. Mary well, Sandrine. Not often and never for love. That is the only way you’ll be happy. For the women in our family love is a curse, not a blessing”. Not something you would think a grandmother would say and it left me intrigued, needing to find out why love was a curse for the women of this family. Another thing I loved was how M.J. Rose wrote the possession of Sandrine by an ancient ancestor of hers La Lune. Were all of Sandrine’s dark, bold, and lustful actions because of the witch possessing her or was it Sandrine’s own nature blossoming within her? The dichotomous nature of both women’s sprits and desire was wonderfully done.
THE WITCH OF PAINTED SORROWS a spellbinding and beautifully written dark tale that will easily pull you into its shadowy world of obsession and possession. At its core, it’s a story about a young woman wanting to break the restraints of her era’s restrictions and acceptable behavior, to discover own strengths and passions and pursue them. I’m looking forward to reading M.J. Rose’s other stories