The Witch of Painted Sorrows

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I have to say admitting that I didn’t like a book about a super-powerful witch possession worries me a little bit. But there it is. I am both paranoid and slightly afraid of witch possession. In the book Sandrine escapes an unpleasant marriage after the death of her father and runs to her Parisian grandmother for help.

Grandmother is a courtesan and the family happens to stem from a long line originating back to La Lune. Sandrine is disappointed that the family home is “under construction” and grandmother is keeping secrets. For at least about the length of time it takes for an itchy Sandrine to follow her, meet a handsome architect named Julien and find hidden doors in the house that only she can open.

I can define the part where this book began to lose me. It was when Sandrine decides to pretend to be a man (and use stolen sketches) to get into art school as they don’t accept women. She convinces Julien to help her and once the elaborate deed is done and bought she’s just like yeah, by the way I’m a woman in front of everyone. Though she still continue to dress in men’s clothes.

What was the point? A question that I asked about a lot of the stuff in this book.  There are a lot of little things throughout- vast descriptions and set pieces but they don’t actually go anywhere.

Also the love story. Ugh, the love story. Call me crazy but I just can’t get behind a love story that’s so wrought in destruction and I found Sandrine fairly unlikeable even without the witch. She pretty much drives her grandmother insane and is really sad about it. But also is like hey, I want to paint and make love and be free so deal with it old woman! There is a good bit on the Eiffel Tower- a rather creepily choreographed death but I felt it was undermined by later making the character so completely unlikeable after her death that everyone was thrilled and no longer guilty.

So this book in the end… I could see a good story there. It’s descriptive. There are interesting bits throughout about Paris during La Belle Epoque as well as bits about the occult and the original story of La Lune but it could have been tighter in the writing. Sandrine’s more fitful moments could have been toned down. I guess what it comes down to in the end is I couldn’t bring myself to feel sorry for either Sandrine or La Lune and I couldn’t see why Julien loved Sandrine in the first place (minus the naked fun times of course.)

Recommend: The story could have been interesting to me and I’d maybe check out some of the authors other works one day but I’d skip this one.

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