The Library of Light and Shadow
Post WWI, New York. The jazz era is in full swing, and bright young things are doing their best to forget the horrors of the First World War. Besides music, gin and fringe dresses, the occult is also a hot trend, which makes Delphine Duplessi the artiste au courant of the society set. Her talent is painting haunting portraits – quite literally. Delphine warns her subjects that they may not like what she captures on canvas; while she is blindfolded, she paints their innermost secrets, some secrets which should never see the light of day.
When one such painting leads to an immediate tragedy, Delphine cloisters herself in her studio, disturbed not only by the tragedy but also her own talent that has driven others to near madness and herself away from the one man she is sure is her true love. When she spirals down a dark path, her family – her twin brother Sebastien and her mother Sandrine, another famed artist - bring her back to the family home in Cannes, France, to rediscover the magic of her talent.
And magical it is – Delphine, her sisters and her mother are all descendants of the witch La Lune, her female descendants all inheriting both a gift and a curse as they reach adulthood.
A close family friend urges Delphine to use her gift once more; not to paint a person but rather an archaic chateau dating back to the 13th century. The owner is certain it contains hidden rooms, one of which will hold a book on ancient alchemy and the secrets of the stars. Although reluctant, Delphine agrees for the sake of her dear twin, a decision that reveals so much more than anyone could have predicted.
A highly descriptive, lush, and at times steamy novel that is an extension of the author’s other works in the Daughters of La Lune series (though it can be read alone), The Library of Light and Shadows is just the kind of gothic-light book to read on a languid, late summer afternoon. Fans of Katherine Howe and Santa Montefiore should be delighted with this series; available at Stratford Public Library.