M.J. Rose takes readers on a journey to 1925, where a post-war environment invoked a sense of heightened passion and new opportunities in “The Library of Light and Shadow.”
Delphine Duplessi has left Paris and the man she loves due to a vision she cannot shake. She spends time doing parlor tricks for people, but her ability is actually quite powerful and frighteningly real. She can blindfold herself and sketch someone, but what she draws is also that person’s deepest hidden secret. Duplessi can see these scandalous visions easily, and she knows that her family history has given her this gift of insight.
One evening Duplessi draws a woman at a party and the finished piece has her subject in a sexual encounter with a man who is not her husband. It’s actually her brother-in-law. The chaos that occurs after the finished art is seen results in the death of a man, and she vows to never use her talents of drawing these “shadow portraits” again.
Duplessi soon watches her fiance leave her, and with nothing left in New York City, she reluctantly agrees to go back to Paris with her brother. Soon she will confront a past she had been hoping to avoid, and the man she loved whom she can never see again.
Rose’s writing conveys both passion and emotional artistry in this story. She transports the reader into the past better than a time machine could accomplish. A simple brushstroke or color invokes so many emotions that it is as if one is admiring a painting rather than devouring prose.
The history mixed with the multilayers of the narrative will captivate readers. (AP)