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The Secret Language of Stones: A Novel (The…
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The Secret Language of Stones: A Novel (The Daughters of La Lune)

by M. J. Rose

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Opaline, a talented jeweler, works in Paris for a protégée of Faberge. She has a special gift, the ability to connect with the spirit of the recently departed. However, one ghost seems to linger, and she can’t get him out of her mind. As rumors fly about the Romanov family, Opaline is pulled into Russia intrigue, putting herself in danger.

Well written and engaging, this book flowed smoothly. It did seem to be too descriptive at times, leaving little to the imagination. The book combined interesting characters with an intriguing plot, keeping me reading until long into the night. ( )
  JanaRose1 | Nov 22, 2016 |
It is 1918, and Opaline Duplessi has been working in Paris for three years in the jewelry shop of her Russian friends Pavel and Anna Orloff. Opaline specializes in making talismans for mothers whose sons died in the war. The descendant of a witch, Opaline practices “a combination of psychometry and lithomancy.. . ” This means that when she combines personal items, such as locks of hair, with gemstones, she can receive messages from beyond the grave, and pass them on to grieving loved ones.

Everything changes when Opaline receives a visit from the mother of Jean Luc Forêt, lost on the front. Jean Luc was a journalist and author of the “Ma Cher” columns in the paper - weekly columns to a fictional, unnamed fiancée. As Jean Luc’s mother explains, every woman imagined that she was “Ma Cher.”

To Opaline’s shock, Jean Luc begins to speak directly to her through the talisman. Thus Opaline can’t resist keeping the actual talisman of Jean Luc, substituting a replica for his mother. She then begins to have a relationship with a ghost. And this is no tepid relationship either.

Moreover, there is some background intrigue regarding the changing government in Russia, and several of the characters are put in grave danger.

Discussion: I found this book to be very reminiscent of Susanna Kearsley’s book The Firebird, with its mix of the paranormal skill of psychometry, emphasis on arts and artifacts, and Russian history (albeit set some 150 years later). But this book has an emphasis on “paranormal sex,” which to me seemed more than a bit over the top. In addition, I didn’t find either the twist or the ending unexpected at all.

Evaluation: This was a fairly enjoyable read, at least for the parts about the history of WWI Paris and the information about gemstones. I suspect many women will appreciate the erotica, but for me, it was a turn-off, so to speak. Other reviewers enjoyed it more, however. ( )
  nbmars | Sep 9, 2016 |
Name of Book: The Secret Language of Stones

Author: M.J Rose

ISBN: 9781476778099

Publisher: Atria Books

Part of a Series: The Daughters of La Lune

Type of book: France, WWI, mother/daughter relationships, White Russians, Revolution of 1917, 1918-1919, magick, witchcraft, special powers, lithomancy, gemstones, opulence, wealth, mentoring, Paris, coming-of-age, running away, rumors, thriller, travel, love letters, death and life, energy

Year it was published: 2016

Summary:

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.

So begins a dangerous journey that will take Opaline into the darkest corners of wartime Paris and across the English Channel, where the exiled Romanov dowager empress is waiting to discover the fate of her family. Full of romance, seduction, and a love so powerful it reaches beyond the grave, The Secret Language of Stones is yet another “spellbindingly haunting” (Suspense magazine), “entrancing read that will long be savored” (Library Journal, starred review).

Characters:

The main character is Opaline Duplessi, daughter of Sandrine. She is the eldest and has a mixed gift of receiving messages from various gemstones as well as spirits. She uses her powers to create powerful necklaces for women who have lost someone special in their lives due to the Great War. She is conflicted, lost and seems to be uncertain of what she is looking for or what she wants. She also sees the necklaces as her way of paying back and contributing to the war effort. There is also the Orloff family who came over from Russia and are White Russians who specialize in creating exquisite jewelry. The wife, Anna, is fascinated by supernatural while the husband is obsessed with creating gemstones. Timur had strong feelings for Opaline which weren't reciprocated and his elder half brother Grigori also is conflicted adn uncertain of what he wants. Jean Luc is a writer of love letters that needs Opaline's help in trying to cross over and to come to terms of what happened to him during the Great War.

Theme:

Life comes in different disguises

Plot:

The story is in first person narrative from Opaline's point of view. What I really liked was getting to know France during the Great War and learning even more about it. I also found it interesting to see how White Russians learned and survived after the Romanov Dynasty had died out. However, the supernatural elements went a bit over my head and some things weren't explained well, or the explanations were a bit sloppy; one being the painting that Opaline receives and its myriad of meanings and others on the conflict she has between herself and what her mother desires her to be.

Author Information:
(From back of the book)

M.J Rose is the New York Times bestselling author of more than a dozen novels, the co-president and founding board member of International Thriller Writers, and the founder of the fisrt marketing company for authors, AuthorBuzz.com She lives in Greenwich, Connecticut. Visit her online at MJRose.com

Please visit her website, her blog: Museum of Mysteries
Subscribe to her mailing list and get information about new releases, free book downloads,
contests, excerpts and more.
Or send an email to TheFictionofMJRose-subscribe at yahoogroups dot com
To send M.J. a message and/or request a signed bookplate, send an email to mjroseauthor at gmail dot com
Follow her on Facebook and Twitter
Buy the book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Books A Million
Opinion:

I am sad to report that I was disappointed in this story. Previously I have read The Witch of Painted Sorrows which was both astonishing and had a strange hypnotic beauty that couldn't let the reader go. This time around, there was lack of hypnotic atmosphere along with a memorable character, and if I might mention a minor complaint, but the character's background in the story is that of her mother's; too many events that happened to her happened to her mother. Also as well, it's good as a stand-alone novel which means reading The Witch of Painted Sorrows is optional and not a requirement. Unfortunately as well, I also found it a bit predictable and it didn't seem as compelling as I had hoped.

This is for France Book Tours ( )
1 vote Sveta1985 | Aug 3, 2016 |
The Secret Language of Stones is the second book in The Daughters of La Lune series. I could have sworn I’d read the first book, The Witch of Painted Sorrows but apparently I hadn’t. I’ve read and enjoyed so many of Ms. Rose’s books I just assumed I’d read that one as well. It didn’t matter to my enjoyment of this book at all. I was particularly attracted to this book with it’s focus on gemstones – I do love gems and their mythology.

Opaline Duplessi is a young woman with what some consider a gift but she considers a curse. She can “hear” gemstones. Or at least receive messages from the dead through them. She is a daughter of La Lune – a witch and her legacy manifests differently in each generation. Opaline wants to deny her gift but she really can’t so she decided to use it to help people grieving losses from the War. She goes to Paris and uses her skill as a jeweler to make special necklaces using the hair of the deceased – a talisman – that when she gives it to the mother or wife and holds their hands she will receive a message from their loved one. The work takes a huge emotional toll on her until she makes one for a woman and her son, a newspaper correspondent starts communicating with her. At first she questions her sanity but soon she comes to rely on his ethereal presence.

The family for whom she works are Russian emigrees and are very passionate about their home country and long for the return of the Tsar. When they learn that the Bolsheviks have killed him they hear from the Dowager who is making a clandestine trip to England who wants Opaline to determine whether the rest of the family is alive or dead. She is reluctant but feels she owes the family for all they have done for her so she embarks on the dangerous mission.

I did enjoy this book as I have enjoyed all of Ms. Rose’s books – although it did need a certain suspension of belief as all fantasy books do. I loved Opaline from the start – she is such a sweet thing. The story is interesting and I really enjoyed the jewelry aspects – I never made the kind of jewelry that Opaline does but reading about sparkly stones always makes me happy. I read this very quickly as it kept me turning the pages. A great summer read with some heartbreak, excitement and a love for the ages. ( )
  BrokenTeepee | Jul 29, 2016 |
M.J. Rose is an author who can transport you into any time and place, weaving in the occult and the mysterious along with history. It is utterly believable. Opaline Duplessi is one of the descendants of La Lune, a famous witch, and whose mother is featured in The Witch of Painted Sorrows, which I loved. In The Secret Language of Stones by M.J. Rose, Opaline has fled her parents and returned to the former home of La Lune — Paris. Rather than live with her great-grandmother, who also prefers to avoid the occult, she lives beneath the jewelry shop where she works for a family of Russian emigres, the Orloffs, who long for tsarist Russia to return from the hands of the Bolsheviks.

Read the full review: http://savvyverseandwit.com/2016/07/the-secret-language-of-stones-by-m-j-rose-gi... ( )
  sagustocox | Jul 25, 2016 |
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In World War I Paris, Opaline Duplessi, an employee at the famous La Fantasie Russie jewelry store, spends her time making trench watches for soldiers at the front, and mourning jewelry for the mothers, wives, and lovers of those who have fallen. People say that Opaline's creations are magical, a word she would rather not use. But she does have a rare gift, a form of lithomancy that allows her to translate the energy emanating from the stones and receive messages from beyond the grave. In her mind, she is not a 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, and Opaline sets off on a journey into the darkest corners of wartime Paris and across the English Channel, where the exiled Romanov dowager empress waits to discover the fate of her family. --… (more)

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