The Secret Language of Stones – Daughters of La Lune (Book 2). M. J. Rose. Simon & Schuster. July 2016. 320 pp. ISBN#: 9781476778112.
Opaline Duplessi has run away to Paris with a Russian expatriate. She makes jewelry but not just any common jewelry. One could call it memento jewelry that will be bought by grieving mothers, wives, sisters, lovers, and/or friends of those who have perished during the horrific First World War. She also makes watches that can be worn on the battlefield and easily used, unlike the more popular watches with covers worn by nonmilitary men. Within each beautiful jewel piece, Opaline inserts a lock of hair or another minuscule personal item. Her skill is called lithomancy, an illegal practice involving contacting the dead. When she is done choosing precious gemstones and working her magic, the stones emanate energy that enables her to communicate with the dead soldier and listen for the message to be spoken to the loved one of the dead person. Opaline is just learning to use her gift but is clearly frightened beyond words at how this power overcomes her, even to the point of being ill. She fears going insane and therefore seeks help to manage her gift or curse, depending on how it is experienced!
This, however, is just the basic gist of Opaline’s skill and the story to come is a wonder indeed! A young mother comes to Opaline and questions her about how she acquired this skill and how she uses it. Opaline begins to fashion a new jewel for this mother but before she can deliver any message she is haunted by the dead son and actually develops a relationship unlike any one any reader has encountered. This then is the story which eventually turns into a mystery involving the family of the lately assassinated Tsar of Russia.
M. J. Rose is unlike any other writer this reviewer has ever read. She has researched her fascinating subject and presents it uniquely in a mesmerizing fashion each reader will never forget. The occult is depicted in a balanced manner that rejects any quick judgment and seeks only to find the truth with a purpose. Her descriptions of shapes, colors and sizes of different jewels and their arrangement are artfully presented as well. The Secret Language of Stones is the second book in the Daughters of La Lune series but stands as a solo novel just fine. This is a must read that readers won’t be able to put down, crafted cleverly and skillfully by this very talented writer. Highly recommended!