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 “dazzling” (Library Journal, starred review) 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 to the city’s fashion elite as the place to find the rarest of gemstones and the most unique designs. But in the summer of 1918, war has transformed Paris from a city of style and romance to a place of fear and mourning.
It is in 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. Magic is a word Opaline would rather not use, although even she can't deny she possesses a rare gift.
Certain gemstones enable her to receive messages from beyond the grave. In her mind, she is no mystic, merely a messenger, giving voice to soldiers who died before they were able to properly express themselves to loved ones. Until one day, when 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 a “fantastic historical tale of war, love, loss, and intrigue, enhanced by vivid period detail” (Melanie Benjamin, New York Times bestselling author of The Aviator’s Wife).
During the summer of 1918, Opaline Duplessi, the narrator of bestseller Rose's mesmerizing sequel to 2015's The Witch of Painted Sorrows, is working as a jeweler in Paris's Palais Royal. Opaline is skilled at her art, and she also has an unusual ability: "to receive messages that were inaudible and invisible to others" through handling stones. That gift enables her to communicate with the dead, and is a talent much in demand by those grieving for soldiers lost in combat. One such mourner, Denise Alouette, approaches her about her late son, Jean Luc For t, who was a popular newspaper columnist and crusader for the arts. After being given a charm connected with Jean Luc--a crystal egg containing one of his hairs--Opaline begins to hear a voice that seems to be talking with her directly. Meanwhile, Opaline is also caught up in intrigues involving Russian migr s and the fate of the Romanovs. The complex protagonist and evocative prose will appeal even to readers who don't as a rule enjoy the paranormal.