The Secret Language of Stones Summary and Reviews

The Secret Language of Stones

A Daughters of La Lune Novel

by M. J. Rose

The Secret Language of Stones by M. J. Rose X
The Secret Language of Stones by M. J. Rose
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Book Summary

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).

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Media Reviews

"Starred Review. A dazzling mix of history, mystery, and mystical dark arts, the second volume in Rose's paranormal historical series (after The Witch of Painted Sorrows) bewitches from start to finish. Her amazing ability to make her story line believable and her extraordinary protagonist relatable result in an unforgettable psychic thriller." - Library Journal

"Rose follows up The Witch of Painted Sorrows (2015) with Sandrine's daughter's story, set against the tragic yet exquisite canvases of Paris, the Great War, and the Russian Revolution, and offers fascinating historical tidbits in the midst of bright, imaginative storytelling and complex, supernatural worldbuilding. A compelling, heart-wrenching, creative, and intricate read." - Kirkus

"Rose offers up an exciting mix of adventure, intrigue, and romance in this thrilling historical tale." - Booklist

"A spellbinding ghost story that communicates the power of love and redemption through Rose's extraordinary, magical lens." - Alyson Richman, internationally bestselling author of The Lost Wife

"Bewitching. A fantastic historical tale of war, love, loss and intrigue." – Melanie Benjamin, NY Times bestselling author of The Swans of Fifth Avenue

"A feast of history and enchantment...M.J. Rose is simply one of the master storytellers of historical fiction." – NY Times bestselling author Beatriz Williams

"A haunting story of love and espionage in World War I Paris that both surprises and delights." - NY Times bestselling author Lauren Willig

This information about The Secret Language of Stones shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

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Mary P. (Bellingham, WA)

The Secret Language of Stones by M.J. Rose
Mysticism, magic, emotion, intrigue, poetic language, suspense, romance--this novel has it all. It takes place during World I in Paris, with a foray into England, and the heroine is Opaline. Her name suits the story--opals are intriguing stones with swirls of color and fire under the surface. Highly imaginative and original, and highly recommended.

Barbara G. (Acworth, GA)

This Has It All
This book has it all! It is a sensuous love story, historical fiction, and mystery. It has witches (mystics), art, jewelry making, family and country loyalty, as well as centering on family relationships. I fell in love with the characters and settings due to the rich descriptions of the author. The love story that is at the center of the book was very unique keeping me well engaged until the very end. As a second book in a series, it reads well as a stand-alone reading. The author also resolves all the issues and does not leave you hanging having to read her next book. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will definitely choose to read MJ Rose again.

Terye B, Milpitas Library, CA

The Secret Language of Stones
I love when a novel transport you to a time in history, smoothly, effortlessly, and M. J. Rose did just that with this novel. I found myself easily transported to Paris in the 1900's. I loved the idea of the stones holding messages for loved ones. The writing was crisp and vibrant and the characters were rich in details. I was immediately thrust into the story, and was surprised when I finished to learn that it was 2nd in a series (Daughters of La Lune) it holds up well as a stand alone. Highly enjoyable.

Carol F. (Lake Linden, MI)

Unexpected pleasure
I fell into this book from the first sentence; "Every morning the pavement in front of our shop is washed clean by the tears of the mothers of dead soldiers....". Is this book a love story, a mystery, a history of WW1, or a witch's tale of power? Somehow it is all of them wrapped up in one great read.

Vivian H. (Winchester, VA)

Intriguing Story of Life, Love, Sorrow, the Romanovs and Magic during WWI Paris
This evening I completed reading The Secret Language of Stones. This is not a book I ordinarily would have purchased if I'd seen it on While I love historical fiction, strong women characters and intrigue, this novel also includes elements of mysticism, the occult and witchery, which I enjoyed during the 1990s when Ann Rice wrote The Witching Hour novels, but have long since abandoned.

But I found myself intrigued and completely engrossed in The Secret Language of Stones and plan to read more novels by M.J. Rose. This story centers on Opaline, the descendant of La Lune, a 16th Century courtesan and witch who passed her powers and spells to select females in the line. Opaline has the gift or curse, depending upon one's perspective.

The story takes place in Paris during World War I. Opaline is working as a jewelry apprentice to Russian émigré's who have escaped the Bolshevik Revolution. She decides to use her burgeoning gifts to create amulets or talismans using stones, gold and the hair or bits of keepsakes from dead soldiers who give her one last message to give some sense of peace to the loved ones of those who fought for France.

It did take me several chapters to engage with the story, but I ultimately found myself drawn into it and unable to put the book down. The writing is beautifully descriptive and almost lyrical. I could imagine myself living in Paris 1916 hiding in bomb shelters when the Germans attacked and then defiantly going into the streets to live life.

This book, which will be published in July 2016, is charmingly evocative of early 20th Century Paris mixed with Russian expatriate angst about the fate of the Tsar and his family and hereditary magic. Really enjoyed it!

Patricia S. (Chicago, IL)

The Secret Language of Stones
The Secret Language of Stones is the sequel to M.J. Rose's atmospheric The Witch of Painted Sorrows. Like the first title, Stones takes place in Paris. But not the Paris of the late 19th century, sunny, happy and centered on the new art movements of the time. Paris, in this book, is somber, under constant threat of bombardment, and empty of men save for the elderly, the boys, and those returning from war too wounded to continue to fight. This Paris is cold, somber, and always raining. Taking place a generation later, this book focuses on Sandrine's daughter, Opaline. Opaline works as a jeweler in Paris, creating memorial amulet jewelry for mothers and wives mourning men killed in World War I. She also serves as a channel for last messages from these men, her powers unlocked by the stones she uses in her creations. In the midst of her own mourning, Opaline hears rumors of German spies in the tunnels under the city, and secret meetings of Russian czarists, desperately trying to discover the fate of the Romanovs. Her own employer is said to have ties to the deposed Russian monarch. As Opaline learns to use her powers and amulets, she meets a ghost. And, unlike the others, this one does not go away. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and M.J. Rose is fast becoming one of my favorite authors. Her writing is atmospheric and sometimes lyrical, the supernatural elements well done and her characters are memorable. Opaline's relations with her family are the only quibble I have with this book—her reluctance to follow her mother's path of their shared magical heritage is not clear and I wanted more details about why Opaline rejected it until later in the book. I also was not happy with the brief glimpses of Sandrine, a bit imperious and with questionable morals regarding the use of power. Overall though, this book drew me in and long after I finished it, the characters and atmosphere remained with me. Thanks to Bookbrowse for including me as a reviewer of Rose's works and introducing me to a new author.

...15 more reader reviews

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Author Information

M. J. Rose Author Biography

M.J. Rose grew up in New York City mostly in the labyrinthine galleries of the Metropolitan Museum, the dark tunnels and lush gardens of Central Park and reading her mother's favorite books before she was allowed. She believes mystery and magic are all around us but we are too often too busy to notice... Books that exaggerate mystery and magic draw attention to it and remind us to look for it and revel in it.

Rose is a New York Times, Wall St. Journal and USAToday bestseller as well as an international best seller. She has published more than nineteen novels and 3 books on marketing. She has been published in more than 30 countries and sold over 1.5 million books. The Fox TV show Past Lives was based on Rose's novel, The Reincarnationist.

Rose is a founding member of International ...

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