A Perfect 10
Atria Books
ISBN: 978-1-4767-7809-9
ISBN: 978-1-4767-7811-2 (eBook)
July 2016
Gothic Romance

France – 1918

Opaline Duplessi's parents want her safe and far away from war-torn Paris where German bombs are decimating the neighborhoods. But Opaline has other ideas, she is distraught that Timur Orloff, the boy who went off to war wanting her to say she loved him, was killed not knowing if she did. And she is determined to pursue her love of making jewelry instead of following in her mother's footsteps and studying painting. There is also the fact that Opaline “hears” messages from the precious stones she works with. She feels she owes it to Timur to help in the war effort. Unusually, though, Opaline's assistance is to the widows, wives, and mothers of those killed, for she can hear messages from the dead. Opaline, like her mother, is a Daughter of La Lune, a long line of women of magick.

Hired by Monsieur Orloff, Timur's father, to work in his jewelry shop, Opaline is embraced by Anna, Timur's mother, another follower of the occult. Soon Opaline is bringing new business into the store because of the lockets she makes for the grieving families, and her messages of love from their dead sons. The Orloffs are Russian immigrants who fled their homeland when the Bolsheviks took over. They are aware that anything they do to openly support the Romanovs, the Russian royal family, may be observed by Bolshevik spies. Adding to that scenario is the fact that the Germans have their own network of spies who are using the secret underground landscape of Paris.

One day a grieving mother appears in the shop begging for Opaline to help her connect to her late son. Opaline is saddened to learn that her son, Jean Luc Foret, a noted Parisian journalist was killed at the front. Jean Luc was especially noted for letters he wrote from the front to his (fictional) fiancée. As Opaline works on the locket for his mother, she is suddenly aware of a voice trying to communicate with her. It's Jean Luc.

In the meantime, word reaches the Orloffs that the Russian emperor has been shot and killed. No one knows anything about the rest of his family. The emperor's mother is in exile in England. Monsieur Orloff's oldest son, Grigori, from his first wife, has returned from the war, wounded and rebellious. He refuses to follow in his father's footsteps; instead he collects and sells antiques. He and Opaline have a tepid, but physical relationship, although Opaline isn't interested in pursuing it any further. Grigori and his father are continually at odds, and their clandestine meetings with other Russian royalists is a topic of debate.

With Paris in an uproar and not knowing whom to trust, it's a dangerous time for anyone associated with the Russian royal family. Opaline's growing relationship with the ghostly voice of Jean Luc takes her further from Grigori. Can someone love a dead man as emotionally as Opaline does? And what dangers will the Orloff family put Opaline in as they try to find out what happened to the rest of the Romanovs?

THE SECRET LANGUAGE OF STONES is a mesmerizing tale that had me as spellbound as Opaline's relationship with Jean Luc. Magical moments between the two, as well as the background of a dangerous pursuit of answers by the Russians, kept me glued to this book. There are plenty of surprises, and a growing mystery of who is meeting in the caverns beneath the jewelry store. I highly recommend this beautifully written book.

Jani Brooks