Tuesday, September 15, 2015
M.J. Rose's novel, Seduction, superbly moves back and forth in time on a remote island, Jersey Island, where Celtic artifacts are plentiful.
Half of the story is focuses on Victor Hugo's self-imposed exile to Jersey Island after his daughter's death. The other half of the story focuses on a present day woman, Jac L'Etoile, who is shooting a documentary on myths, Mythmakers.
Jac has suffered from hallucinations, mostly olfactory-driven, since she was a teenager. Jac finds herself reuniting with Theo, a man who had a dangerous hold over her.
While it starts off in a promising way, Seduction quickly becomes mired by numerous contemporary subplots.
There's a love triangle involving Theo, Ash, and Naomi that becomes more intricate when Jac visits Jersey Island. Then there's a subplot about a grandfather's strange obsession with a ouija board and his two grandchildren, Eva and Minera. The Celtic family who haunts Jac complicates matters still further.
While the subplots set in the present can be confusing, the subplots set in the nineteenth century are much more intriguing.
Rose's Victor Hugo storyline, which, as the author says in an end note, is partly true and partly fictionalized is the richest of the subplots. Hugo and is tempted to make a deal with a figure he calls the Shadow of Sepulchre.
Hugo's story is cleverly used to illuminate the present-day struggles of the Gaspards and the L'Etoiles. Some may disagree but I wish Rose had written solely about Victor Hugo and his circle.
Seduction was listed as Suspense Magazine's Book of the Year in 2013.
Suspense Magazine can be found at www.suspensemagazine.com