Sunday 3 December 2017

#BookReview The Library of Light and Shadow by M.J. Rose @MJRose @Marablaise

The Library of Light and Shadow by M.J. Rose
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In the wake of a dark and brutal World War, the glitz and glamour of 1925 Manhattan shine like a beacon for the high society set, which is desperate to keep their gaze firmly fixed to the future. But Delphine Duplessi sees more than most. At a time in her career when she could easily be unknown and penniless, like so many of her classmates from L’École de Beaux Arts, in America she has gained notoriety for her stunning “shadow portraits” that frequently expose her subjects’ most scandalous secrets—for better or for worse. Most nights Delphine doesn’t mind that her gift has become mere entertainment—a party trick—for the fashionable crowd. Though her ancestor La Lune, the legendary sixteenth-century courtesan and—like Delphine—a witch, might have thought differently.

Then, on a snowy night in February, in a penthouse high above Fifth Avenue, Delphine’s mystical talent leads to a tragedy between two brothers. Horrified, she renounces her gift.

Devastated and disconsolate, Delphine returns to her old life in the south of France where Picasso, Matisse, and the Fitzgeralds are summering. There, Delphine is thrust into recapturing the past. First by her charismatic twin brother and business manager Sebastian in his attempts to cajole her back to work and into co-dependence, then by the world famous opera singer Emma Calvé, who is obsessed with the centuries-old Book of Abraham, written by the fourteenth-century alchemist Nicolas Flamel. And finally by her ex-lover Mathieu, who is determined to lure her back into his arms, unaware of the danger that had led Delphine to flee Paris for New York five years before.

Trapped in an ancient chateau where hidden knowledge lurks in the shadows, Delphine questions and in many ways rejects what and who she loves the most—her art, her magick, her family, her brother, and Mathieu—as she tries to finally accept them as the gifts they are and to shed her fear of loving and living with her eyes wide open.


The Library of Light and Shadow is the best book, so far, in this series. And, I think it's because I just love Delphine Duplessi ability to paint people's deepest secrets. If you have read the previous books do you know about the women in the Duplessi's family have inherited different gifts from their ancestor La Lune, who was a witch. In the first book, The Witch of Painted Sorrows, did we meet Delphine mother Sandrine Salome. And in the sequel, The Secret Language of Stones, is it Opaline, Delphine's sister that takes the center stage.

Delphine ability to paint secrets was triggered by a childhood event when she temporary got blind. That meant that her ability was developed much earlier than usual by the women in the family. She and her twin brother and business manager Sebastian have used her talents at his art gallery. A tragic love story drove her from France to the United Starts. Then, when one of her paintings causes a tragedy between two brothers is she persuaded to come home to France. There her brother tries to get to take a painting job for Emma Calvé, a famous Opera Singer, who wants Delphine to paint the chateau where she lives in a way to get the building to reveal it's secrets. It is said that the Book of Abraham, written by alchemist Nicholas Flamel is hidden there...

I listened to the audio version of this book and the narrator really managed to captivate me. It's the kind of story where you feel you really get pulled into the story and you get caught up in Delphine life. The book has one weakness and it is the love story that failed to impress me. Not that I didn't like the flashbacks, it's more that I never felt totally invested in Delphine and Mathieu's doomed love story. It's the kind of love story that just never interested me and Delphine's pining after him just never pulled my heart-strings. I was more curious to learn more about the chateau and the fascinating caretaker that lives there. But, then I'm at heart more a mystery girl fan than a romance fan. However, I did not dislike the love story. I'm just picky and this one just didn't rock my boat. 

Now, despite my lackluster interested in the love story do I still think that this book is fabulous. The characters are well-developed, the intrigue is fascinating and I love the whole Nicolas Flamel angle. All and all is this a great book!     

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