Book review: Seduction





Publication Date:  May 7, 2013
Atria Books
Hardcover; 384p
ISBN-10: 1451621507

ARC  received from Atria Books
via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Seduction Book Cover

This book counts for the following Reading Challenges:

   hf-reading-challenge-2013 New Authors 2013


“Demain, dès l’aube, à l’heure où blanchit la campagne, je partirai”….
During my school years, every student in France probably knew that poem of Victor Hugo by heart.  In it, the great French author conveys his sadness as his dear daughter Léopoldine drown in a boat accident shortly after her wedding.

I love Victor Hugo’s writing, and this poem and the collection where it was published, called Contemplations, were some of my favorite. So I was attracted and intrigued by Seduction, a semi historical semi fantasy novel centered on him and his daughter. Plus I had not yet read any book by the famous M.J. Rose. By the way, this is the 5th book of a series, but I had never the impression I was missing something, even though I started by this one.

I enjoyed very much the engrossing writing, very evocative (in the landscapes as well as the eery spiritism sessions). It translates perfectly Hugo’s obsession to try to connect with his daughter one way or another. The fantasy elements start with a secret book Hugo would have written about his séances – he published lots of things about them, but the premises of the novel is that he also wrote a more dangerous one that he hid somewhere on Jersey Island.

Like many current historical novels, the book goes back and forth between several periods: Hugo’s times, in the 1850s, and our modern times, with Jac, a young mythologist, and her friend Theo. Both young people have some serious psychological problems, and they were sent to a facility in Switzerland to try to heal them. That’s where they first met. I will not reveal the details of Jac’s ailments, but suffice it to say that as Jac joins Theo on his island, they make her connect in a very special way with Hugo’s loss and even with people who lived much earlier than him.

I was actually a bit surprised when these people showed up, but it makes sense with the geographical setting and Jac’s love for mythology; from then on, it was easy for me to figure out what was going on, but it was still very enjoyable to see how the author combined all these elements together. It was also neat to see the importance of perfume, the major trigger for Jac’s episodes, like a portal to other worlds.

Talking about perfumes and fragrances, I also enjoyed the character of Fantine, one of Hugo’s mistresses. This is no mystery that he had several mistresses, but her character here is fictive. In the chapters about Hugo, he actually addresses her, which is also a great way of adding some literary variety: so we are reading his book both from his own perspective and the perspective of those who discover it much later.

I consider and judge this book on a mere literary level, as a professional reader and reviewer, I should say, and as such, I believe this is a very good book, for all the points highlighted above. On a personal level, as a Christian, I do not believe in the reincarnation nor do I approve of paranormal activities to connect with the dead, though of course I know of and read years ago about Victor Hugo’s séances.


From the author of The Book of Lost Fragrances comes a haunting novel about a grieving woman who discovers the lost journal 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.



M.J. Rose is the international best selling author of eleven novels and two non-fiction books on marketing. Her fiction and non-fiction has appeared in many magazines and reviews including Oprah Magazine. She has been featured in the New York Times, Newsweek, Time, USA Today and on the Today Show, and NPR radio.  Rose graduated from Syracuse University, spent the ’80s in advertising, has a commercial in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC and since 2005 has run the first marketing company for authors –  The television series PAST LIFE, was based on Rose’s novels in the Renincarnationist series.

She is one of the founding board members of International Thriller Writers and runs the blog- Buzz, Balls & Hype.  She is also the co-founder of and

Rose lives in CT with her husband the musician and composer, Doug Scofield, and their very spoiled and often photographed dog, Winka.

For more information on M.J. Rose and her novels, please visit her WEBSITE. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.


Please visit the Tour to read other reviews of this book,
and for chances to win the beautiful necklace
featured on the book cover !

If you would love to read and review this book yourself,
I still have a few spots available on France Book Tours,
(end of June)
where M.J. Rose graciously accepted to be featured!



17 thoughts on “Book review: Seduction

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