Title: Seduction (The Reincarnationist #5)
Author: M.J. Rose
Pub. Date: May 7, 2013
Summary: 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.
Genre: Adult, Paranormal, Historical Fiction
I who had never been haunted, who had been skeptical of visitations, suddenly accepted all possibilities. Or as a priest would say, in that moment, I allowed the devil into my life.
But the priest would be wrong. I did more than allow him in. I gave the devil a warm hearth and a hospitable place to rest for as long as he wanted one. I gave him access to my very soul.
Prior to receiving Seduction, I was unaware it was the fifth book in a series. While I was able to follow along with little difficulty, I feel I would have understood much more had I read the other books first. Also, from the summary I had expected a book along the lines of Katherine Howe’s The House of Velvet and Glass (read my 5-star review here!). THoVaG deals with seances and reconnecting with loved ones who drowned during Titanic’s sinking. It was one of my top picks of 2012 and Sedeuction sounded as though it was going to have a similar feel. Also: Victor Hugo!
Unfortunately I got another City of Dark Magic (read my 3-star review here) – strange obsession with noses and smells included!
Jac L’Etoile comes from a line of French perfumers. She also comes from a family with a firm belief in reincarnation – and that certain smells could evoke memories of past lives. After discovering her mother’s corpse when she was fourteen, Jac was sent to a very New Age-y school where she met a boy named Theo. Over time the two came to be close until the night of Jac’s accident. When she came to, she had no memories of the event and no explanation as to why Theo was sent away.
Seventeen years later she’s reunited with Theo after receiving a letter about the discovering of a possible Druid site. Again the better judgment of those around her, Jac accepts Theo’s invitation and heads for the UK where she will not only put her mythological studies to use, but finally find some answers.
150 years earlier, Victor Hugo walked along the beaches in exile. After the devastating loss of his daughter, he partakes in a seance – hoping to communicate with his daughter – and falls into obsession. He’s received messages from a number of spirits, but one night a mysterious Shadow of the Sepulcher comes through and his offer to restore Victor’s daughter is too tempting to ignore.
Seduction. Where to begin? I think this is a case of each individual part being great, but the combined whole is lackluster. The main components of this novel: reincarnation, Druids, Victor Hugo, seances, these are completely suited to my interests. This should be a good I can’t put down. Sadly, it just didn’t work for me and I struggled to finish. More than once I was tempted to set it down once and for all, but I kept going, hoping there would be that AH-HA! moment when everything would come together and suck me in.
I don’t know if it’s because I hadn’t read the previous books in the series. Perhaps if I had I would have come to better understand and care about these characters and what they’re doing. Instead I’m left with nearly 400 pages of so. much. telling. and confusing decisions. One thing the book had going for it was its dual narrative. I love me some dual narration. Late in the novel a third storyline was introduced – this one taking place millennia ago and focused on a Druid priest and his family. Interesting, yes, but it came far too late in the book to have much of an impression.
It was no surprise Jac’s hallucinations were actually past life memories, but when it was revealed they weren’t her memories, I had to roll my eyes. The novel had been steadily declining and that scene was where I had had enough. It was a struggle to continue, but continue I did and when I finally finished it was as though a weight had been lifted. The strange love-square-that-went-nowhere frustrated me as well.
In the end, Seduction didn’t turn out to be the novel I had hoped. It appears I’m in the minority though, as it’s been receiving quite a bit of praise. I had been curious about this series for a while and even had the books on my To Read list. Sadly, I’ll be removing them and won’t be reading anymore of this series.