3 reviews

Seduction: A Novel of Suspense
by M. J. Rose

Published: 2013-05-07
Hardcover : 384 pages
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Recommended to book clubs by 3 of 3 members
A gothic tale about Victor Hugo’s long-buried secrets and the power of a love that never dies . . . In 1843, novelist Victor Hugo’s beloved nineteen-year-old daughter drowned. Ten years later, still grieving, Hugo initiated hundreds of séances from his home on the Isle of Jersey in ...
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A gothic tale about Victor Hugo’s long-buried secrets and the power of a love that never dies . . . In 1843, novelist Victor Hugo’s beloved nineteen-year-old daughter drowned. Ten years later, still grieving, Hugo initiated hundreds of séances from his home on the Isle of Jersey in order to reestablish contact with her. In the process, he claimed to have communed with Plato, Galileo, Shakespeare, Dante, Jesus—and even the devil himself. Hugo’s transcriptions of these conversations have all been published.

Or so it has been believed . . .

Recovering from a great loss, mythologist Jac L’Etoile thinks that throwing herself into work will distract her from her grief. In the hopes of uncovering a secret about the island’s mysterious Celtic roots, she arrives on Jersey and is greeted by ghostly Neolithic monuments, medieval castles and hidden caves. But the man who has invited her there, a troubled soul named Theo Gaspard, hopes she’ll help him discover something quite different— transcripts of Hugo’s lost conversations with someone he called the Shadow of the Sepulcher. Central to his heritage, these are the papers his grandfather died trying to find. Neither Jac nor Theo anticipate that the mystery surrounding Victor Hugo will threaten their sanity and put their very lives at stake.

Seduction is a historically evocative and atmospheric tale of suspense with a spellbinding ghost story at its heart, written by one of America’s most gifted and imaginative novelists. Awakening a mystery that spans centuries, this multilayered gothic tale brings a time, a place and a cast of desperate characters brilliantly to life.

Editorial Review

No editorial review at this time.


There are thoughts which are prayers. There are moments when, whatever the posture of the body, the soul is on its knees. —Victor Hugo

Chapter 1
October 30, 1855
Jersey, Channel Islands, UK

Every story begins with a tremble of anticipation. At the starting point we may have an idea of our point of arrival, but what lies before us and makes us shudder is the journey, for that is all discovery. This strange and curious story begins for me at the sea. Its sound and scent are my punctuation. Its movements are my verbs. As I write this, angry waves break upon the rocks, and when the water recedes, the rocks seem to be weeping. As if nature is expressing what is in my soul. Expressing what I cannot speak of out loud but can only write, here, in secret, for you, Fantine. ... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

From the author:

1. It's true that Victor Hugo lost his daughter and spent years trying to reach her via seances... the same years he was writing Les Miserable. How much did knowing that a large part of the story was true change or enhance or detract from how you felt about the book?

2. Jac L'Etoile, the main character in the present,has a sensitivity to smell and Rose evokes those aromas that surround Jac with a sense of being there that often makes believe they are detecting these scents themselves. What other ways does the author bring her characters to life? Does it make them more unforgettable?

3. There are Celtic legends and ruins that form an important thread in this book, what did you find most startling and surprising?

4. There are many kinds of seduction in the book - other than the most obvious one - discuss the others - and which one would you be the most susceptible to?

Suggested by Members

Get familiar with books by Victor Hugo.
by ADMINOFFICER (see profile) 05/18/13

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub


Threads of past lives and malevolent spirits... combined with Rose's vivid imagination and beautiful writing make this a book to savor." —RT Top Pick 4 ½ stars

"A luxurious, sensual experience for the reader. This atmospheric tale of suspense is fully engrossing." —Library Journal (starred review)

"A sophisticated book that plunges you into a sensual, fascinating world filled with secrets and dreams and ghosts. There's a sweeping, old-world feel to every page, and you'll want to stay here, spellbound, a very long time." —Carolyn Turgeon, author of Mermaid and the upcoming The Fairest of Them All

"Mysterious, haunting, and tragic, Seduction emerges as a suspenseful alchemy of potent ingredients, beautifully blended, that ignites your senses and leaves you aching for more." —Jamie Ford, New York Times bestselling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

"Seduction is an absolute pleasure to read — clever, suspenseful, exciting, mysterious, learned, and engrossing. Some of the best historical fiction I've read in quite some time and just plain reading fun. M.J. Rose is at the top of her game, and that is saying something." —David Liss, bestselling author of The Twelfth Enchantment

"The 1843 drowning death of Victor Hugo's beloved eldest daughter, Didine, provides the catalyst for Rose's well-crafted paranormal novel of suspense. Rose is especially good at recreating Hugo's despair...making his abandonment of rationality all too plausible." —Publishers Weekly

"What sells the book—what sells all of Rose's books [is] the author's boundless enthusiasm for the material... and we can't help getting caught up in that enthusiasm." —Booklist

Book Club Recommendations

by ADMINOFFICER (see profile) 05/18/13
Wil keep you talking and thinking.

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
  "Seduction Delivers"by nbaker (see profile) 08/19/13

Seduction was a somewhat dark story shrouded in intrigue and mystery. With three distinct stories, each with their own voices from the past, the thread of seduction becomes woven so tight that it pulls... (read more)

  "Thought Provoking"by robbieadkins (see profile) 05/20/13

This book is PERFECT for book clubs! I am not a member of one but really felt a great need to discuss the concepts in the book with friends!

  "Seduction"by ADMINOFFICER (see profile) 05/18/13

I love historical fiction done well. This is a beautiful book. I could not put it down and thought about it all the time during and after reading it. Highly recommend.

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