From the author of The Book of Lost Fragrances comes a haunting novel about a grieving woman who discovers the lost journal of novelist Victor Hugo, awakening a mystery that spans centuries
In 1843, novelist Victor Hugo’s beloved nineteen-year-old daughter drowned. Ten years later, Hugo began participating in hundreds of séances to reestablish contact with her. In the process, he claimed to have communed with the likes of Plato, Galileo, Shakespeare, Dante, Jesus — and even the Devil himself. Hugo’s transcriptions of these conversations have all been published. Or so it was believed.
Recovering from her own losses, mythologist Jac L’Etoile arrives on the Isle of Jersey — where Hugo conducted the séances — hoping to uncover a secret about the island’s Celtic roots. But the man who’s invited her there, a troubled soul named Theo Gaspard, has hopes she’ll help him discover something quite different — Hugo’s lost conversations with someone called the Shadow of the Sepulcher.
What follows is an intricately plotted and atmospheric tale of suspense with a spellbinding ghost story at its heart, by one of America’s most gifted and imaginative novelists. (Atria Books)
Seduction is the fifth novel in the very successful Reincarnationist Series from prolific author M J Rose. Last year I had the pleasure of reading the fourth book in this series The Book of Lost Fragrances and as well as being highly entertained, I was struck by the quality of Rose’s writing. Her artistic and lyrical prose shone again in Seduction.
The publisher’s synopsis is one of the more detailed so let’s focus instead on the stand out elements of this novel.
Multiple story lines set in different time periods (with concentric elements) are expertly employed to heighten tension and propel the reader on in their own quest to solve the mystery.
Despite the fantastical subject matter, protagonist Jac L’Etoile is such raw and real character. Trauma experienced in her childhood and recent personal loss have left her with a wealth of her own demons to fight. But the old adage, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, is never more true than in the life of Jac L’Etoile. Her fighting spirit and passion for seeking the truth in spite of her vulnerabilities endear her to fellow characters and readers alike.
Despite Malachai’s pleading, or maybe perversely because of it, she’d decided she couldn’t pass up Theo’s fascinating invitation. There were over a hundred known Celtic ruins on the island. Because of how the land masses shifted, occasionally new sites were uncovered. If Theo Gaspard had discovered one, she wanted to see it.
Jac’s journey is enhanced by a wonderfully varied and colourful ensemble cast. The Victor Hugo in this novel is a particularly well realised and engaging character. Rose’ writing ostensibly from the pen of Hugo is especially fluid and evocative.
I’d only seen you two or three times but had been acutely aware of your sadness. You wore it like a frock. It clouded your eyes, turning the blue sky to gray. Even the scent that lingered in a room after you’d left it reminded me of grief. It was the fragrance of flowers past bloom in their death throes.
Just as in The Book of Lost Fragrances, scent and the power and appreciation of it plays a key role in Seduction.
If you are looking for entertainment and escapism in a tasteful artistic package, I strongly recommend Seduction by M J Rose.
BOOK RATING: The Story 4.5 / 5 ; The Writing 4.5 / 5
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Genre: Mystery, Drama, Historical, Romance, Fantasy
Author Information: M.J. Rose is the international best selling author of eleven novels and two non-fiction books on marketing. Her fiction and non-fiction has appeared in many magazines and reviews including Oprah Magazine. She has been featured in the New York Times, Newsweek, Time, USA Today and on the Today Show, and NPR radio. Rose graduated from Syracuse University, spent the ’80s in advertising, has a commercial in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC and since 2005 has run the first marketing company for authors – Authorbuzz.com. The television series PAST LIFE, was based on Rose’s novels in the Renincarnationist series. She is one of the founding board members of International Thriller Writers and runs the blog- Buzz, Balls & Hype. She is also the co-founder of Peroozal.com and BookTrib.com.
Rose lives in CT with her husband the musician and composer, Doug Scofield, and their very spoiled and often photographed dog, Winka.
This review is published as part of the Seduction Historical Fiction Book Tour.
~~~ US readers : click here to find out how you can enter to win a Victorian necklace like that featured on the Seduction hardback front cover ~~~
* Receiving this title free from Atria Books did not impact my ability to express my honest opinions in the review above.