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.
The Secret Language of Stones is the sequel to The Witch of Painted Sorrows. In this book, we get to meet Opaline, the daughter of Sandrine who was the main character in the previous book. And just like Sandrine is Opaline a Daughter of La Lune, a descendant from La Lune, the famous courtesans from the sixteenth century Paris.
I read the first book last year and I found it intriguing and looked forward getting the chance to read this one. However, it has taken me forever to get to this book, despite having had this book for a long while. But, the third book will be released next year so I thought I should take the time to read this one. And, I liked this one just as much as I liked the first one. I like the whole La Lune storyline, with women being descended from her with different abilities, like Opaline who can read stones and by doing that receiving messages from the dead. And, now in the time of war is that a gift that is a comfort too many,
The story in this book is about Opaline embracing her gift, she has long struggled with her gifts, wanting to be normal, and she has never really accepted her abilities fully. But, now she faces many difficulties, she finds herself in love with a fallen soldier, and a daughter of La Lune can only love once. Is she doomed to love a man that she can never have? And, the world is in turmoil and perhaps she can help the Romanov dowager empress find out what happened to her grandchildren...
The Secret Language of Stones is a sensual, well-written story about a woman that has to face many obstacles in her quest to find herself. I did suspect the ending, it felt very predictable, but I still liked it because I wanted just that ending for Opaline.
It was a good book, and I look forward to reading the next book in the series.