WOW! I have rarely been so excited to read a novel as I was this one. Author M.J. Rose has created a stunning world full of indescribable beauty, and untold horrors. This is the second novel in The Daughters of La Lune series, right after The Witch of Painted Sorrows. Each book builds on the previous one, so I strongly suggest reading them in order. The tale that is told is nearly epic in scope, with plenty of romance, but also more than enough drama and terror. I absolutely adore Opaline Duplessi, the heroine of this tale. She’s strong and brilliant; yet also delicate and fragile. This novel, along with its’ companion novels, will have a very treasured place on my shelf. It is a true work of art.
World War 1 is raging in Europe. Every day, Opaline Duplessi sees the tragedy to befall the people of Paris, in the tears of the mothers of soldiers killed who come to her for help. You see, Opaline can use stones to speak to the deceased once. She uses these stones to create beautiful jewelry for the mothers of the fallen to cherish. Yet in one, a single voice comes through stronger than the others. It also comes more frequently. Then tragedy strikes. The Romanov dynasty is no more. This is a rare crisis for her hosts, who are Russian immigrants that were once close to the Romanovs. But now they are no more. Opaline is sent to England on a secret mission with a priceless treasure, but she has no idea what, or who, she will encounter. Will it be the Dowager Empress of Russia, or something, or someone, else? In this dangerous mission, one voice reaches out to help Opaline….but can she do it? Can she reach the Dowager Empress? Or is all doomed?
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).