by M.J. Rose
Series: The Reincarnationist #5
Genres: Historical Fiction
Purchase*: Amazon *affiliate
From the author of The Book of Lost Fragrances comes a haunting novel about a grieving woman who discovers the lost letters 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.
Today I am excited to be sharing my review of Seduction by M.J. Rose as part of the Historical Fiction Virtual Blog Tour. Be sure and visit the other stops on the tour for author interviews, reviews, and guest posts. You can see a complete list of stops here.
Last year I read and loved The Book of Lost Fragrances a novel that took me to France and the catacombs. At the time I did not know it was part of a series and it held its own as a standalone, so I was excited to be offered a copy of Seduction. M.J. Rose held me captive as we traveled from past to present chasing ghosts and secrets.
Rose splits our time between the past with the famous French poet Victor Hugo and present-day mythologist Jac L’Etoile. Victor wrote such fine works as The Hunchback of Notre-Dame and Les Miserables. His story focuses on the death of his daughter and his exploration into séances as a means to communicate but he may just invite something else into his home. Jac is recovering from her trip to Paris when she is invited by an old teenage friend to explore the Isle of Jersey and its Celtic roots. When she arrives she discovers Theo wants her help in recovering the lost conversations Victor had with someone referred to as the Shadow of the Sepulcher. Lyrically written this suspenseful tale lured me in as it weaved past and present together into a captivated tale.
Rose has an amazing gift for bringing characters to life. She skillfully reveals their flaws and strengths and while you might not like all of their traits you understand their motives, desires, and fears. I met Jac in the previous novel and she is complex, intelligent, gifted, curious and afraid of her own abilities. Scent triggers memories from the past, giving her glimpses into the past. The smell triggers it and she finds herself transported to a scene, a time or a place. These events both frighten and intrigue her. Jac is a skeptic and likes to deals in facts. She stars and produces a show that debunks mythology. Her plan was to show people how one kernel of truth morphed into outlandish tales, but instead, people took that kernel and believed. Theo is obsessed with finding the lost letters; he is troubled and suffers from depression and anxiety. Overall, I found him to be interesting. We met Malachai in previous books; he is a therapist and expert in reincarnation and repressed lives. He treated both Theo and Jac as teens and fears for Jac safety when she travels to Jersey. We do not get a lot of face time with him as much of his interaction is done over the phone. Owain a druid priest seeks help from the gods and is given a horrific task. Other characters both past and present help drive the suspense.
Rose delivered a gothic tale that was both suspenseful and detailed. My personal favorite was Victor Hugo’s thread and I found her attention to detail regarding his life astounding. The tale is filled with séances; ancient druid ceremonies, reincarnation, and spiritualism. Jac’s hallucinations help thread the mysteries and characters together. Jac comes from a family of perfumers and her ability to smell and extract scents was fascinating. We learn details about the techniques and I enjoyed them. The tale is dark, filled with danger but has a hint of romance. While the pacing can be slow at times the tale continually increased in suspense keeping me locked in its grip. Wrapped into this dark and atmospheric tale there is a profound sadness that you cannot help but feel and connect to. I loved all of the details regarding the Celtic ruins and mythology and appreciated the author’s skilled world building. Her writing is both beautiful, and dark. She brings images, places, and emotions to life. I have always been fascinated by reincarnation and found myself spellbound. Rose brought all the threads together and even managed to surprise me. I felt it had great closure and look forward to the next book.
Imaginative and beautifully researched Seduction will seduce you as the characters search to overcome their demons. If reincarnation, gothic novels, and fiction mixed with real historical characters, civilizations, and myths fascinate you I recommend you give Seduction and the Reincarnationist series a try.
this one requires time, as you are slowly taken into the story.
this is the type of book that you need to let unfold, and absorb the rich deets.
I am on the fence with this one though can I say that I ADORE the cover. I think it fits the gothic theme beautifully. Kudos to the cover artist 🙂
ooh yeah..too many details for you, I can see your review boring, boring, boring and long! LOL
I did read book 1, but I just found it looooong and rather boring
thanks Christine, they all work as standalone or so I am told.
I hadn’t realized this was part of a series, but glad to know the books can stand on their own. I love gothic-type books, so I’m really looking forward to this one!
yes, they do involved a few characters but apparently the mystery.quest is different in each.
well that isn’t nice at all. Hope your next experience is a good one 🙂
Glad you enjoyed this one! I would probably add it to my list, but I got a sort of rude invite to review it, so I’m hesitant to do so. Lol.
No, I have only read the two. They are rich in detail and while the pace isn’t always fast I do find myself captivated.
I had no idea these had a slight paranormal aspect to them, that makes me even more intrigued to try one of them now! I like how this one sounds. Would I be lost if I read them out of order?
I enjoy this and wow so cool that you met her!
Agreed and her descriptive writing style always lures me in.
Rose’s gift for bringing characters to life sounds awesome!
Thanks Jenny, Rose is impressive and her attention to detail sucks me in every time!
Celtic ruins and mythology you say? WIN! I’m fascinated by anything Celtic, so I think I would really enjoy this one. I’m glad to hear the world-building is so well done and that all the threads are nicely tied up by the end. You know me:) Fabulous review Kimba!
ha..you mean you aren’t in charge of the whole library?
These books and this character sound REALLY good! I’ll have to check and see if we have them at the library! Maybe nudge the lady in charge of that section 😉
yes..but apparently they work great as standalone too!
I loved The Book of Lost Fragrances (I didn’t know it was part of series either) and I’m excited to read even more of her writing!
thanks Jenea you know how I love to mix things up 🙂
thank you, glad you enjoyed it.
This sounds really interesting! Great post!
That is why I read from all over the place Maja, I find I enjoy books more when I do.
Maja (The Nocturnal Library)
I love that this combines historical facts with fiction, and ghosts in a historical setting are my very favorite thing. I think I need to step out of the box a bit anyway,I’m getting tired of YA and must do something about it.
Well it’s dystopian, apocalypse one of my favorite genres!
I won a copy of the Book of Lost Fragrances last year and still haven’t read it. This one sounds really fascinating. I would love to read about Victor Hugo as I have read a couple of his book including the Unabriged version of Les Miserables. I will definitley be looking into this one. Thanks for signing up for Apocalypse! and already getting the button on your blog. I think Veronica did a fabulous job on the buttons I love seeing them on everyone’s blog.
I have heard similar things Melissa! She weaves quite the tale and her writing is beautiful and descriptive.
Thanks Heather and yes they work as a standalone.
Wow, your review really makes me want to pick up her novels and read them. They are stand alones. Or at least you can read them individually without being lost? I love the sound of this one. Great review!
Thanks Kay, I loved all the details 🙂
I know the back and forth and incredible amounts of deets make her novels slower reads, but I enjoy them..good luck!
I just got a copy from the library. The last one – The Book of Lost Fragrances – was just a “meh” read for me, but I’m still wanting to give this one a try.
His thread was my favorite!
Ooh I love historical fiction that goes into the lives of famous authors and weaves them into a present day story. I adore Les Mis, so I’m really curious to read about Victor Hugo! The first book sounds pretty amazing too (I love stories about the Paris catacombs). I must check both of these out, thanks for your lovely review! 🙂
I agree they are lovely!
I always get my attention caught by her covers. Really enchanting. Glad you enjoyed the read and THANKS for sharing the fab review!
No, you can just read this one.
Melissa (Books and Things)
I have been wanting to read a book by her. I love it when authors do their homework and it really brings it to life. Oh I so need to start either reading her first books or getting them on audio. I hear that those are superb as well. Definitely putting that first book further up on the wishlist!
Ah, great review! I got this from Netgalley but didn’t have time to read it 🙁 *sulks* I’m really glad you liked it. Oh, I love historical fiction! Would you recommend I read the book of lost fragrances first!? I definitely am gon a read Seduction…sooner or later!! ^_^
Sounds like you really enjoyed reading this book! I am not sure it is for me but if I have the time I might check it out!
Oh Kim this is definitely on my wish list I love MJ’s novels and in fact got to meet her last year as a part of the Atria Mystery Bus Tour. Thanks for this 🙂