Sunday, May 5, 2013
Seduction: A Novel of Suspense by MJ Rose
4.0 out of 5 stars - "There are thoughts which are prayers. There are moments when, whatever the posture of the body, the soul is on its knees." (Victor Hugo)
This is a novel that inspired the researcher in me! I am a huge fan of author Victor Hugo so I was quite curious when reading the summary of the plot and wanted to see how he fit into this story of reincarnation and mythology. The book blends fact and fiction smoothly and the reader learns of Hugo's fascination with seances and his obsession with the spirit world.
This is the second novel (follows The Book of Lost Fragrances) featuring Jac L'Etoile, a mythologist, who travels to Jersey, Channel Islands, Great Britain, to investigate sites that are thought to be from the time of the Celtic Druids. Despite her intentions, she is drawn into another mystery by an old acquaintance, Theo Gaspard, who is desperate to uncover information about Hugo's conversations with the spirits he claims visited him during the over 100 seances held at the house he lived in during his exile from his beloved Paris. The seances were Hugo's grieving attempts to contact his beloved daughter who had drowned, but Gaspard's grandfather believed Hugo had communed with the Shadow of the Sepulcher (Lucifer?) and wanted to find any manuscripts that detailed this. Theo, whose family still lives on the island, seems haunted and he is a very troubled soul. Jac agrees to accompany him on his search through the secret caves that may hold the answers.
The narrative shifts back and forth in time and place from the 1850s to present day but is mostly set in Jersey. Jac, who doesn't believe in reincarnation, finds again that she has the ability to remember because scent is a trigger for her to experience certain happenings that seem to be from past lives. Not her own previous lives, but of those who lived there in ancient times.
I enjoyed the blend of fact and fiction that made this a very interesting reading experience. I loved the descriptions of the island and all of the other details about the ruins, the caves, and fragrances. It may seem complicated as there are quite a few plot lines coming together, but it meshes quite satisfactorily in the end.
Jac is an unusual character and I think it best if you read the previous book before this one so that her history is known; she has had a very troubled life and is very sensitive and it would help the reader understand her abilities a bit better. I hope there is another book featuring her.
I would recommend this book to fans of mysteries, and anyone interested in the subjects of reincarnation, Druid activity, and Victor Hugo. I really enjoy historical fiction and, though I don't believe in reincarnation or the ability to commune with the dead, the topic was fascinating.
ARC from publisher Simon and Schuster and Netgalley.