The Secret Language of Stones is the story of Opaline, a daughter of La Lune, a famous artist and mystic. It is World War I and Opaline thinks she is escaping her fate of following in her mother’s mystical footsteps, she runs away to her Grandmothers in Paris to help with the war cause. She apprentices to a jeweler in the store of a family friend making memorial necklaces for loved ones of soldiers who have lost her lives in the war. She finds that she has a magical affinity with stones and, if given a memento of the soldiers’ she can weave it into the charm and hear their voices calling out a message. As she delivers that message to their loved one, she helps them all move on. One day, a mother comes in with her sons hair who has died at the front, and she finds that this son does not only speak, but keeps speaking… And he can hear her speak back.
The author, M.J. rose did a wonderful job of setting the scene. The romance and grit of Paris during the war, the Russian emigrants stories of the royal family, the jewels, her messages from the dead and of course the love story between she and her soldier, Jean Luc, were all intertwined very delicately, giving this story a magical feel that was appropriate to the type of story she was telling. The mixture of historical facts with the fantasy of a magical city and mystical messages made the love growing between this young woman and her dead soldier seem fantastical, yes, but also real, could she join him? Did she have the magic to keep him with her? Should he move on?
The pace of this story was slow, gentle and romantic, a direct contrast to the hard grittiness of the War torn city they were living in, creating the impetus that helped moved the story forward, yet somehow it did not feel like a dark and hopeless book. The glitter of jewels and tales of Russian royals, Jean Lucs letters to a loved one, all gave the reader hope that Opalines journey would end on a lighter note, and she could somehow find happiness within herself, with this gift she had, but also with this unlikely love that she’d found. The lyrical language and romance with which this tale is told was well worth the few hours it took me to read it.
Thank you, Atria Books, for the copy I received through NetGalley for my honest review.
Copyright 2016 Deborah Kehoe A Chick Who Reads All Rights Reserved