"Paris, France April 1894
I did not cause the madness, the deaths, or the rest of the tragedies any more than I painted the paintings. I had help, her help. Or perhaps I should say she forced her help on me. And so this story—which began with me fleeing my home in order to escape my husband and might very well end tomorrow, in a duel, in the Bois de Boulogne at dawn—is as much hers as mine. Or in fact more hers than mine. For she is the fountainhead. The fascination. She is La Lune. Woman of moon dreams, of legends and of nightmares. Who took me from the light and into the darkness. Who imprisoned me and set me free.
Or is it the other way around?"
Thus starts another wonderful story by M.J.Rose, one of my very favorite authors. As usual M.J's stories are always mesmerizing, page turning, edge of your seat reads that the reader hates to see end. Set in the dazzling Belle Epoch era in France and Sandrine Salome leaves her abusive husband in New York and travels to Paris, hoping her husband will not find her. She left her husband because he was implicit in the death of her father. She finds her grandmother, a famed courtesan, and stays with her. Sandrine becomes fascinated with the family home, Maison de la Lune, having spent time there as a child. She knows some of the history of the family but not a lot, her grandmother is not very forthcoming with the family history and Sandrine finds this mysterious and does what she can to find out more about the family secrets. At the house she finds a young architect, Julien Duplessi, who was hired by her grandmother to catalog everything in the mansion as Sandrine's grandmother plans to open the mansion as a museum.
Julien and Sandrine soon become lovers and while in Maison de la Lune, they find an artist's studio in an old part of the house with old paintings completed and some not...Sandrine becomes possessed by this room and it's history. her grandmother is frantic for her and begs Sandrine not to pursue the path that Sandrine has chosen. Not only does Sandrine have danger where her husband is concerned but there is the haunting memories of a woman from the past, La Lune who is a sixteenth century courtesan and purported witch who was looking towards the occult to find the secret that would enable her to live forever.
I loved M.J.Rose's previous stories but I think this one is by far her best. All the elements that she is known for, impeccable research and a spellbinding plot. I did not want the book to end, it actually only took me two sittings to finish it and now I want more!
At the end of the book is a peek at the next book, The Jeweler of Stolen Dreams, which looks to be another goodie! I look forward to reading this one as well. If you are a fan of M.J.Rose and if you have never read any of her works, you have to read this book.
I received a copy of the book for review and was not monetarily compensated for said review.