Publisher: Atria Books (7 May 2013)
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.
Having read The Book of Lost Fragrances in March 2012 (you can read my review here) when I saw Seduction on Netgalley I couldn’t resist! I was looking forward to getting involved in Jac’s life once more.
Seduction (The Reincarnationist #5) is told in two timelines. We spend time in the mid 1850’s with Victor Hugo and in the present time with Jac.
We begin in 1843. While Victor Hugo is on holiday with his mistress, he reads about the death of his daughter Leopoldine. Then in 1855 he is on his self-imposed political exile in Jersey, Victor is introduced to the ‘talking tables’ by his childhood friend Delphine de Giradrdin while she is visiting him. They try a séance but no spirits come through until Victor himself joins in and then his daughter, Leopoldine, comes through.
Next, we’re in present time with Jac on a trek with Malachai. He is the co-director of the Phoenix Foundation which is an institution dedicated to scientific study of reincarnation. We learn about the time when Jac met Theo Gaspard at the clinic in Switzerland. She stumbles on a letter addressed to her that has been opened, but she has never seen. It’s from Theo asking her to visit him. He is now in his ancestral home which is in Jersey. He has a quest and thinks Jac’s can help him.
As we alternate between the timelines, we’re taken on a journey of both a spiritual and karmic nature. Jac has her visions again although this time, there is a completely different theme running through them.
I love the way the author ties up one timeline following another, for example, the fog in the past links into a scene with the fog in the present time.
Family heritage is a strong theme and new characters Theo and brother Ash, along with their aunts, are key to this.
I had no idea the revelations were taking us to the conclusion so the way everything tied up was a surprise for me.
We’re left with suggestion that Jac will join her brother Robbie in the family perfumier business. I would love to see where this takes us using the recipes of Francine from the mid 1850’s being created in modern times.
The author’s note at the end details which is fact and which is fiction. Once again, Rose has shown she has thoroughly researched and she has woven the fact and fiction into a whole that is gripping and evocative with loss and the threads that connect us to the dim and distant past.
Seduction can be read as a stand-alone story. Key facts the reader needs to know are woven through the story.
I would like to thank the publisher for accepting my request to read via Netgalley.