book reviews by Althea

The Witch of Painted Sorrows – M.J. Rose ***

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The cover and the description of this book lured me in like a witch’s spell of compulsion…

I have to admit that I’d previously read one other book by this author, and I really didn’t like it very much. This one is silly and melodramatic to the extreme – but I enjoyed it.

Sandrine Salome Verlaine (the name right there tells you a lot about what this book is like) arrives in Paris, fleeing personal tragedy and a bad marriage. Arriving unexpectedly upon the doorstep of the grandmother she hasn’t seen since she was fifteen, she expects a loving welcome.

However, her grandmother, a famed though aging courtesan, seems oddly trepidatious about Sandrine being in Paris. And when Sandrine starts pursuing a newfound love of art, she becomes even more apprehensive.
Little does she know that, against her directives, Sandrine is secretly snooping around her childhood home and associating with the handsome young architect she’s hired for a renovation.

Soon, Sandrine is caught in a swirl of secrets and sex; mixed with occult rituals and the legends of her family concerning a long-dead courtesan and (it is rumored) witch, known as La Lune…

Will Sandrine’s grandmother save her from the arcane influences that are sweeping her away? Does she even want to be saved?

As I said, the melodrama is on full display. There are plot events that happen for no reason at all other than the drama. We’re not aiming for a realistic depiction of France or the time period, here. However, I have to award extra points for Gustave Moreau as an art professor!

Recommended for those in the mood for a sexy, fun read with a dark occult element.

<img src=””Galatea”%20(detail)%20(250).jpg”>

Many thanks to NetGalley and Atria books for the opportunity to read. As always, my opinions are my own.


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