Book Tour Review: Seduction by M.J. Rose

Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Title: Seduction
Author: M.J. Rose
Genre: historical fiction, time slip
Series: The Reincarnationist #5
Pages: 368 (ARC)
Published: March 2013
Source: HFVBT for review
Rating: 3/5

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.

The fifth book in Rose's long-running Reincarnationist series, readers will once again find themselves caught in up the life of main character Jac L'Etoile, her elusive and mysteriously knowledgeable mentor Malachai, and now the notorious novelist Victor Hugo. The familiar themes of rebirth and reincarnation are visited once again, as Jac continues her struggle to come to grips with the realities and fantasies of her complicated life. The previous book, The book of Lost Fragrances, and the only other entry in the series I've read, took place mostly in Paris -- here in Seduction, Jac and an old-friend find themselves searching for answers on the evocative isle of Jersey.

It's never easy jumping into any series midway through, but Seduction functions moderately well as a standalone novel. Knowing the events and plot of the book's immediate predecessor was helpful in regards to figuring out relationships between characters, as well as adding some insight into Jac's personality and history, but is by no means necessary to enjoy Seduction itself. Sensory language, suspense, and creativity are the strong points of the novel, and with a pace that lags at times, it is those that kept me involved and curious to see the end. If you want the full impact of Rose's writing and plotting, it is best to start at the beginning, I would imagine. However, despite my lack of prior knowledge, Seduction is an easy, entertaining and slightly supernatural read that satisfies a reader's need for something new and inventive.

Reincarnation, grief, Druids, belief, past lives and memories are all key plot points to the story featured in Seduction. Some aspects are covered more completely - I could have done with more info about Malachi's search for "memory tools" - and others are purposefully left open-ended for reader interpretation. Additionally, some of the characters suffer from lack of definition - especially the secondary cast. Primary focus is given to Jac and Victor, to the detriment of the others involved. Malachi and Ash especially were hard to get a fixed point on. One is purposefully mysterious from Jac's viewpoint, the other is hard to understand from a reader's perspective. Both could have used more time, attention and development to create a more fully-fleshed character.

There are several timelines at work in the novel - Victor Hugo in the 1850's, Jac and Theo in the present day, and a really rather late in the game addition (around page 200 in a 360 page book!) of a family during 56 BCE. The most jarring part between switching between the stories were the different tenses. Both Jac and Owain's story were rendered in the third person, but Hugo's used first. I'm never a fan of tense switching between narrators, and it just doesn't work for me as a reader. That said, Hugo's plot and story were the most interesting and compelling. I've read and had issues connecting with Jac before in The Book of Lost Fragrances, so I wasn't surprised that, once again, she was a hard sell. I was very surprised at how evocative and atmospheric Victor Hugo was in Seduction. Of all the characters featured, his very gothic narration felt the most plausible, and his character the most dimensional.

With a strong sense of atmosphere, and evocative sensory language, M.J. Rose easily pulls her audience into the various lives depicted in her fifth novel of the Reincarnationist series. Some areas could use a little polish, or better pacing, but this novel of gothic suspense and reincarnation is sure to please fans of the series. Seduction may not be the best place to start exploring the life of the L'Etoile family, but it is a worthy addition to the series. A conclusion to the events of this book is quite final, but Rose leaves open plenty of options to continue Jac's story in another novel, should she choose to do so.

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Monday, March 25
Review at Luxury Reading

Tuesday, March 26
Review at Peppermint, Ph.D.

Wednesday, March 27
Review at Bibliophilic Book Blog

Thursday, March 28
Interview at A Bookish Libraria

Friday, March 29
Review & Guest Post at vvb32Reads
Guest Post at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Monday, April 1
Review at A Bookish Affair
Review & Guest Post at The Lit Bitch

Tuesday, April 2
Guest Post at A Bookish Affair

Wednesday, April 3
Review at Griperang’s Bookmarks

Thursday, April 4
Review at The Musings of a Book Junkie

Friday, April 5
Guest Post at The Musings of a Book Junkie

Monday, April 8
Review at Girls Just Reading

Tuesday, April 9
Review & Guest Post at Kinx’s Book Nook

Wednesday, April 10
Review at Booklover Book Reviews

Thursday, April 11
Review at Psychotic Book Reviews
Guest Post at Literary Marie

Friday, April 12
Review at West Metro Mommy

Monday, April 15
Review at Layered Pages

Tuesday, April 16
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews

Wednesday, April 17
Review at Reflections of a Book Addict

Thursday, April 18
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Guest Post at Reflections of a Book Addict

Friday, April 19
Guest Post at Flashlight Commentary

Monday, April 22
Review at Impressions in Ink
Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Tuesday, April 23
Review at Review From Here
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Wednesday, April 24
Guest Post at The Maiden’s Court

Thursday, April 25
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time

Friday, April 26
Review at Girl Lost in a Book

Monday, April 29
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Review at As I Turn the Pages

Tuesday, April 30
Interview at A Chick Who Reads

Wednesday, May 1
Review at Peeking Between the Pages

Thursday, May 2
Review at Unabridged Chick
Guest Post at Peeking Between the Pages

Friday, May 3
Review at Confessions of an Avid Reader

Tuesday, May 7
Review at Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews

Wednesday, May 8
Review at Buried Under Books
Review at Diary of an Eccentric

Thursday, May 9
Review at Amused by Books
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Interview at Buried Under Books

Friday, May 10
Review at Savvy Verse & Wit

Tuesday, May 14
Review at Words and Peace
Review at Kimba the Caffeinated Reviewer
Guest Post at Historical Tapestry

Wednesday, May 15
Review at Stiletto Storytime

Thursday, May 16
Review at From Left to Write
Guest Post at Stiletto Storytime

Friday, May 17
Review at A Novel Review

Monday, May 20
Review at Broken Teepee

Tuesday, May 21
Review at Confessions of a Book Hoarder
Guest Post at Broken Teepee

Wednesday, May 22
Review at Bags, Books and Bon Jovi
Guest Post at Confessions of a Book Hoarder

Thursday, May 23
Review at Man of La Book
Guest Post at Bags, Books and Bon Jovi

Friday, May 24
Review at The Calico Critic

Monday, May 27
Review at Paperback Princess

Tuesday, May 28
Review at To Read or Not to Read
Guest Post at Blood Mother Blog

Wednesday, May 29
Review at Cheryl’s Book Nook
Guest Post at To Read or Not to Read

Thursday, May 30
Review at Book Nerds
Guest Post at Cheryl’s Book Nook

Monday, June 3
Review at A Book Geek

Tuesday, June 4
Review at Tribute Books Mama
Guest Post at My Shelf Confessions

Wednesday, June 5
Review at Bippity Boppity Book

Thursday, June 6
Guest Post at Book Nerds

Friday, June 7
Review at Book Drunkard

Monday, June 10
Review at Jenny Loves to Read

Tuesday, June 11
Review & Interview at Pure Textuality

Wednesday, June 12
Review at From the TBR Pile

Thursday, June 13
Review & Guest Post at Books by the Willow Tree

Friday, June 14
Review at Bibliophilia, Please

Monday, June 17
Review at Mari Reads

Tuesday, June 18
Guest Post at Mari Reads

Wednesday, June 19
Review at Daisy’s Book Journal

Thursday, June 20
Guest Post at Daisy’s Book Journal

Friday, June 21
Review at Judith Starkston Blog
Review at Just One More Chapter

Monday, June 24
Review at The True Book Addict

Tuesday, June 25
Guest Post at The True Book Addict

Wednesday, June 26
Interview at Judith Starkston Blog

Friday, June 28
Review & Giveaway at A Writer’s Life: Working with the Muse

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