Possession. Power. Passion. New York Times bestselling novelist M.J. Rose creates her most provocative spellbinder to date in this gothic novel set against the lavish backdrop of Belle Époque Paris.
Indie Next Pick • Library Reads Pick • People Magazine Pick • Boston Globe Pick of the Week
Called an “elegant tale of rare depth and beauty, as brilliantly crafted as it is wondrously told” by the Providence Journal, The Witch of Painted Sorrows “melds the normal and paranormal in the kind of seamless fashion reserved for such classic ghost stories as Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw.”
New York socialite Sandrine Salome flees an abusive husband for her grandmother’s Paris mansion, despite warnings that the lavish family home is undergoing renovation and too dangerous to enter. There Sandrine meets Julien Duplessi, a mesmerizing architect who introduces her to the City of Lights—its art world, forbidden occult underground, nightclubs—and to her own untapped desires.
Soon Sandrine’s husband tracks her down and an insidious spirit takes hold: La Lune, a witch and a legendary sixteenth-century courtesan who exposes Sandrine to a deadly darkness.
“M.J. Rose has a talent for compelling writing, and this time she has outdone herself. Fear, desire, lust, and raw emotion ooze off the page,” says the Associated Press. In her instantly absorbing tour de force, Rose imagines Sandrine’s “wild night of the soul” dramatically underwritten by a tragic love story and a family curse that illuminates the fine line between explosive passion and complete ruination.
This haunting tale of possession, set in 1894 Paris, from bestseller Rose (The Book of Lost Fragrances) inaugurates a new trilogy. "I did not cause the madness, the deaths, or the rest of the tragedies... I had help." So says New York socialite and artist Sandrine Salome, who bears the scars of her first traumatic experience with love. At 15, she was caught, naked, with 18-year-old Leon Ferre. When Leon's father learned of the nature of their relationship, he slapped his son, accidentally triggering a fatal asthma attack in the boy. Ten years later, to escape her treacherous husband, Sandrine flees New York for her grandmother's home in Paris, where her grandmother reminds Sandrine that the City of Lights is "poison" to her. Sure enough, Sandrine finds herself taken over by the spirit of La Lune, the woman of "moon dreams, of legends and of nightmares." Fans of literate supernatural suspense will be pleased.