I received a free copy of this ebook from NetGalley, to review on behalf of the publisher. It will be published 7 May 2013.
M.J. Rose’s Seduction is the fifth book in the Reincarnationist series–a fact that I would have liked to know before I asked for a copy. As I read a tangled web of interlocking plots involving Victor Hugo, a modern day mythologist, a tortured art gallery owner and the brother who hates him, and the ancient Celtic inhabitants of the island of Jersey, I also had to play catch up to learn about the world that Rose has been creating over the course of five books. So, not the easiest book to sink into. But Seduction was highly original and I enjoyed the challenge of connecting the puzzle pieces Rose laid out for me.
The story (one of them) begins in 1855. Another begins in the present day. A third begins in 55 BCE. All of them take place on Jersey. As you can probably guess from the name of the series, the idea of reincarnation connects them all. Most of the reviews make Seduction sound like it’s about Victor Hugo, but it’s really about Jacinthe l’Etoile. Jac has a TV show called Mythfinders and she travels the world looking for the “kernel of truth” that flowers into a legend, myth, or religion. Against the advise of her Jungian psychologist, Jac travels to Jersey when an old friend asks her to help him investigate the old Celtic ruins on his property.
Jac’s friend, Theo, is searching for the lost journals of Victor Hugo as well as investigating the menhirs and dolmens and other Celtic stones. (A lot of Theo’s motivations are dismissed as crazy obsession, so he’s a hard character to get a grip on.) While Jac and Theo search the island, Rose gives us glimpses into Hugo’s life on Jersey. After the death of his oldest daughter, Victor Hugo started to hold seances. At these seances, Hugo and his family claimed that they spoke with the ghosts of famous men like Dante, Jesus, and Shakespeare. Rose inserts her own story into this odd chapter in Hugo’s life by having a sinister spirit show up during one of those seances and promise Hugo that he can bring his daughter’s spirit back.
Rose is terrific about dropping clues here and there, giving you the pieces you need to put together a very interesting tale that spans centuries. Even though parts of it are on the edge of my ability to find plausible (because I think reincarnation is bunk), I really enjoyed how Rose used it in Seduction. It’s not a plot device you often see, because it would take a lot of skill to get a reader to suspend their disbelief enough to roll with it.
If the other books in this series are this well done, this series is woefully underrated and deserves more attention.