‘Secret Language of Stones’ is romantic ghost story


“The Secret Language of Stones” (Atria), by M.J. Rose

A woman with the ability to communicate with the dead using gemstones finds love from an unexpected source in “The Secret Language of Stones,” M.J. Rose’s latest novel.

Opaline has a gift that she considers a curse.  She works with jewelry, and some of the stones she works with enable her to receive messages from beyond the grave.  Working in Paris during wartime, she tries to keep her abilities a secret.  Those she has helped find closure spread the word about her skills, and one day a mother comes in distraught over the loss of her journalist-son, Jean Luc.  Though Opaline’s abilities are real, there are enough charlatans in Paris to prompt laws making it illegal to assist widows and parents in any spiritual manner.

While Opaline works to find answers for the grieving mother, she receives a message directed at her.  Soon she begins to have regular communications with this spirit who happens to be Jean Luc.  As Opaline researches his life and talks to him, she slowly begins to realize that she’s falling in love.  Can true love exist when one person is alive and the other one is a ghost?

Though the main idea might sound a bit strange, the story works, and readers will become emotionally involved with Opaline and her growing dilemma.  Rose transports the reader 100 years into the past into a city known for romance but torn apart by war.  The poetic writing and passion ooze off the page, making this Rose’s best novel to date. (AP)