Publisher's Note:  

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.

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Atria


by MJ Rose

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Overall Review:  

Probably one of the most interesting premises that I’ve read in awhile, Seduction, by MJ Rose, gives us not only an inside look into the secret life of Victor Hugo, but an indepth study on reincarnation. The title is very apt.  The writing is sweeping and ethereal. It seduces your senses to a point where Hugo, Owain, Jac and Theo are all you can think about.  Their lives intertwine together, but why? 

Seduction tells the story from three viewpoints: One in the 1800’s (Hugo’s diary), one from an ancient Druid clan, and one in the modern day.


The sections on Victor Hugo are taken from his (fictional) letters written to one of his par amours that describe his sadness over losing his daughter that drives him to begin following the route of spiritualism and séances in order to, hopefully, have a conversation with his lost daughter.  He comes in contact with a bad spirit and begins a downward spiral.


Owain is the head priest of the druids.  The Romans are marching close to their lands, and as he struggles to find a way to save his people, he is asked by the gods to do the unthinkable.  As he struggles to come to grips with this request, his life is changed—perhaps for eternity.


Theo is a troubled man who had a troubled youth.  He has problems with depression and anxiety.  When he asks Jac to come and help him find and explore an ancient secret about druids and reincarnation, Jac jumps at the chance and finds herself embroiled in something way over her head and comprehension.


Jac is the one holding the key to all of these men and helping them to settle their issues.  Her hallucinations mean something more than just random occurrences and if she could just figure out what it all means, perhaps she could help, or better yet, get the hallucinations to stop!


The writing is engaging and the subject is definitely something out of the ordinary!  Hallucinations, reincarnation, ancient druid ceremonies, séances and Ouija boards, perfumers, murder mysteries, and even a brush with lightning make this an adventure for all the senses.  The overall feeling is spooky and mysterious—you’ll want to leave all the lights on!

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language: 4 religious exclamations; 11 mild obscenities; 1 derogatory name; 1 anatomical term.


Violence/Gore: Characters die by drowning, miscarriage, burning, falling down stairs, dog attacks, car accidents, suicide, being shot, etc.; a parent is reported to have killed their own child; a character pushes another down the stairs (2pg); a character must sacrifice another by first drowning then burning the victim (7pg); a character sacrifices themself and burns to death (3 pg); a child is attacked by a dog (detailed--3 pages); some extended frightening scenes involving seances/satanism (3, 5, 5, and 4 pages); a character is struck by lightning and has a miscarriage; 2 characters fight in hand to hand combat (kicking, hitting, choking, punching, etc.--5 pg).


Sex/Nudity:  2 characters are naked together to avoid hypothermia; many instances of kissing/flirting; Many thoughts about others--imagining or wishing for sex; a character often tries to seduce others; reports of affairs and holidays with mistresses; thoughts of homosexuality; a character remembers having sex with a married man; a couple has sex together (implied); a character sexually desires a ghost; 2 characters discuss payment for 'services' (2pg); 2 characters touch and caress a few times (on faces, on bodies, etc.); a grandfather sexually abuses his granddaughter(s) (only reported, no details--3 pg); a character rapes another (detailed--3pg); a couple has detailed sex twice (4 and 3 pages); 2 characters have detailed sex twice (3pg each).

Mature Subject Matter:  

Infidelity in marriage, Death of loved ones/family members, Reincarnation, Spiritualism (seances, witchcraft, mysticism, hauntings, ghosts, communion with the dead, possession, visitations), Satanism, Miscarriage, Mental Illness (hallucinations, depression, madness/insanity, drug induces visions), Drug Abuse, Law Breaking, Prostitution, Homosexuality, Fratericide

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

Characters often drink (wine, vodka, margaritas, beer, etc.); 2 teenagers take many illegal drugs (marajuana, joints, pot, poisonous mushrooms, other illegal drugs).

Reviewed By Emily
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