I was excited to receive a copy of The Witch of Painted Sorrows by M.J. Rose from Atria for review. I fell under Ms. Rose’s enchantments after zooming through the first four books in The Reincarnationist series a few years ago. I discovered that her books often combine the paranormal with mysticism and historical fiction. She is deft at sharing history and creating suspense that keeps me turning the pages.
Sadly, I was disappointed upon finishing The Witch of Painted Sorrows. The elements that I love about Ms. Rose’s books were there, but it just didn’t quite come together. I felt Rose was holding something back. The history of La Lune, her power and her connection to the occult were never quite revealed. It was hiding there in the shadows and it became quite frustrating waiting and wondering when it would all spill out. Because things were not revealed and did not quite come together, the ending was muddled, rushed, confusing and unsatisfying.
I loved Sandrine’s passion and desire to become her own person in a time when women were not necessarily allowed to do so. I admired her bravery to stand up to her husband and escape an abusive relationship. The downside to Sandrine’s character is that it was hard to figure out whether her decisions (after her arrival in Paris) were her own or were due to the influence of La Lune. I believe that Sandrine naturally possessed some of those characteristics. However, she’s influenced by La Lune so quickly, you do not get to know much about Sandrine alone to know which actions are hers versus those of La Lune.
Despite my love for past books by M.J. Rose, I was not impressed with this latest release. The story fell short by not revealing enough and what was revealed led to a messy, stalker-ish ending that made my skin crawl (and not in a good way). The Witch of Painted Sorrows by M.J. Rose receives a thumbs down.
After finishing the novel, one part continues to bother me. Sandrine attended the opera where Charlotte was performing. Her date for the evening guides her to an underground safe spot within the opera house. How the hell did Sandrine get out of there?