The Witch of Painted Sorrows by M.J. Rose

“What a pleasure to meet you, Julien.”

As soon as these words were uttered, my body shivered a little telling me that the paradigm of the story has turned quite so interesting. It is like looking at an almost grayish picture sharpening into vivid colors. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

The Witch of Painted Sorrows is set in the 1890s Paris during the popular period of Belle Époque. At that time, there was much fascination to the mystic arts and occult which sets the mood of the book. 

It begins when Sandrine, fleeing New York, arrives in Paris on her Grandmere's lavish mansion's doorstep, the Maison La Lune, seeking refuge. Her lovely Grandmere, however, does not like her to remain in the city. She then meets the attractive young architect, Julien, and together they found unexplored places and forayed into the forbidden.

To add to the mystery, something sinister is rising within Sandrine and as she succumbed to her deepest desires and frees herself, she in turn welcomes the possession she neither knows whether is a gift or a curse.

The Gothic fantasy feel to the story enamored me as I am usually fond of this theme. It was a bit bland at first, admittedly, and it really got interesting only when La Lune's presence made itself felt.

There are moments when I feel like the story got a little wishy-washy and not as compact as I would like it to be. In the beginning, Sandrine scoffed the idea of La Lune’s influences, even right to her Grandmere’s face but then she would start questioning herself, then she goes back unbelieving again and the so on though in uncertain ways this slight disarray rhapsodizes roughly the internal struggle happening within herself.

I do love the part where she attempted to enter École des Beaux-Arts and started wearing trousers and hats. Had I lived at that time I'd admire her for being ahead of her time. Just as well, there are perceptions here that were ruminated, like say when being seen as a visible woman or an invisible one. The difference is quite an interesting subject to discourse.

Still, it was enamoring, a little bit seductive and as it is first in the series, Daughters of La Lune, there's much more to look forward to and see what happens next.


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.

Title: The Witch of Painted Sorrows (Daughters of La Lune #1)
Author: M.J. Rose
Published: March 17, 2015
Publisher: Atria Books
Rating: ♨♨♨ 1/2 (3 and a half cups - Sinister powers, reincarnation, Belle Époque Paris, art and romance meet in this dark fantasy.)