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2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 25 books toward her goal of 175 books.

Book Review: The Library of Light and Shadow by M.J. Rose

“The way my mother had explained it, there were moments in people’s lives so powerful that they remained behind, even after the people had moved on, and sometimes when the light fell a certain way, we could witness those moments”

This was a very interesting story that started with a mystery and ended with a bit of an enigma, but in a delightful (rather than unfinished) way… The concept – an artist from a family with a storied history mired in the spiritual and supernatural whose own brand of unusual talents run toward painting people’s shadow secrets – was very original and well developed. Delphine is a delightful main character, full of magic and mayhem and just enough confusion and self-doubt to remain utterly relatable. The surrounding cast – particularly in the form of her family – is charming and infuriating and full of enough quirks and foibles to provide the perfect backdrop for the story, which is itself well-plotted, nicely paced, and easily followed.

I will admit that I saw the Big Reveal coming, but that did not at all limit my enjoyment of the book. Rather, this felt like a book with myriad psychological and emotional reveals scattered throughout; there are tidbits of insight into the human condition layered delicately through the entire novel, and these gems were one of the most enjoyable parts of the book for me. I was frustrated for – and by – Delphine on multiple occasions. She is a lovely construction, equal parts iron and lace, and her journey over and through the shadows provided numerous opportunities for insightful commentary on life, love, and the indomitable strength of the human animal. I found the history and historical characters to be well-placed within the larger story. The incorporation of art world figures like Picasso and Cocteau felt organic and plausible, rather than like name-dropping (as happens all too often).

All in all, this was a well-crafted tale that was original, entertaining, and a great balance between light and dark – much like Delphine herself. I will definitely be looking for more from M.J. Rose.

My review copy was provided by NetGalley.

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