The follow up novel to her previous “Daughters of La Lune” instalment The Witch of Painted Sorrows, M.J. Rose’s new novel The Secret Language of Stones, is the story of Opaline Duplessi, daughter of Sandrine Salome and Julien Duplessi, the lead characters in the earlier work.
Opaline is a descendent of La Lune, a witch and well-known sixteenth century courtesan. Like her mother before her, Opaline has felt for a long time an inexplicable pull towards magic and the supernatural. She develops a talent for lithomancy in a rare form, which gives her the power to read the energy that emanates from particular gemstones.
As a jewelry designer working for Pavel Orloff and his mythical shop La Fantasie Russie in the legendary Palais Royal, Opaline begins to understand that her talent can be used to help desperate mothers and grieving widows connect with their departed loved ones, lost to a cruel war that has left the city of Paris in tatters.
When one day, a dead soldier has a message not for a loved one, but for her, Opaline feels that it is time to learn the secret behind her gift. This search will take her on a journey through a devastated Paris and even beyond the boundaries of life and death, in a desperate attempt to make contact with someone she has come to love.
But love is not kind to the women in her family. For the descendants of La Lune, love can be a powerful weapon of destruction that can only end in tragedy. Opaline’s magical gift can ultimately give her the love she so desperately wants to find, or ultimately destroy her.
In a style that is more sensual caress than prose, M.J. Rose delivers once again a story abundant with magic and haunting beauty intertwined with the sadness and loss brought by World War I and the Russian Revolution, that promises to enthrall readers until the very last page.
Author’s Note: Advanced digital copy received by Netgalley.com. Advanced print copy received by Goodreads.com