My review of an upcoming release, The Secret Language of Stones by M.J. Rose

Nestled within Paris's historic Palais Royal is a jewelry store unlike any other. La Fantasie Russie is owned by Pavel Orloff, protege 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.
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books (19 July 2016)
I love the way M.j. Rose writes. She creates such a vividly compelling world for the reader to inhabit. I fall under her spell, captured by the setting, plot, storyline and of course beautiful Paris. Overall, The Secret Language of Stones is a beautifully written novel. All the elements are here. My most favorite chapters included the relationship between Opaline Duplessi and Jean-Luc Foret the art columnist who happens to be a ghost haunting her while introducing her to erotic passion. I loved his letters to her, the way he sent her on walking tours throughout Pere Lechaise cemetery on a love tour with the graves of Heloise and Abelard. She hears his voice, senses his feelings, while he hears her thoughts and reads her mind. Also, the walking tour through Louvre Museum featuring the rose tapestry, Wattau paintings and so much more. I enjoyed her family background including witchcraft and her ability to sense through touching stones. It was a pleasure to read the chapters where you learned more about Opaline's parents and great-grandmother.

The chapters I struggled with included the character of Anna whom I just couldn't connect with although I wanted to. The chapters covering Russia again I just found distracted me. All I wanted was to stay in Paris with the young lovers surrounded by art museums and cemeteries but that's probably just me!

You will find beautiful love stories, some unrequited, some supernatural, some heartbreaking but overall The Secret Language of Stones will captivate and enchant you.
I was fortunate to read a digital review copy. The Secret Language of Stones by M.J. Rose will be published in Hardcover in the United Kingdom and United States on July 19, 2016.  
To pre-order The Secret Language of Stones by M.J. Rose,  Amazon UK 
To pre-order The Secret Language of Stones by M.J. Rose,   Amazon US


Kevin Marsh said…
Hello Kimberly,

Another great review.
I love to collect crystals and can understand feeling vibrations through the stones. This looks like an interesting read. Thank you for sharing.
Kimberly Eve said…
Hi Kevin,
I didn't know you collect crystals. You will really enjoy this book then. Thanks for stopping by!