I’ve been a fan of M.J. Rose ever since I read The Reincarnationist. When I was invited to join a virtual book tour for her newest novel, Seduction, it was a no-brainer. Like her previous books that deftly intertwine the mystical past and our present, her new novel does not disappoint. Seduction continues the story of Jac, short for Jacinthe, whom Rose introduced to readers in The Book of Lost Fragrances (read my review here). (You don’t have to read the first book to read Seduction but I highly recommend it.)
Here’s the official book description:
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.
While readers were connected with ancient Egypt in Book of Lost Fragrances, we travel back to the time of the Druids. As Jac researches the ruins and ancient caves on the island, she is also confronting her past. Her teen years were dark and tumultuous. At a crossroads of who she wants to be versus a version of her true self, Jac must decide between the two. Her conflict parallels that of Rose’s fictional account of Victor Hugo, who faces demons of his own.
I enjoyed the alternating between present as past. Victor Hugo’s growing obsession over spirits took over his life. Jac searches for a cave that is referenced in a long lost letter written by Victor Hugo. The past and present and past collide violently (and beautifully, I might add). While the novel had a rocky start for me, once I begin to see the connections between Victor Hugo’s story and Jac’s story, I could not put it down.
I finally convinced my sister to read The Book of Lost Fragrances late last year, so I know she’ll want to read Seduction as well.
Big thanks to Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for a copy of the book! Want to learn more about the book? Visit the Seduction Book Tour page for more.