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Seduction by M.J. Rose

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What is it about Seduction that kept me so possessed when I, for one, does not easily believe in the supernatural? Is it the fact that author Rose never gave me the chance to not believe. From its very beginning pages, there is something inexplicably creepy about her choice of eerie words, expressions, and descriptions as the book slides back and forth between today and 1855.

In that unfortunate year while Victor Hugo dallied in Paris with his mistress, he was shocked almost to the point of psychosis. Imagine this man, one who understood and wrote about the horrors of evil (Les Miserables), haphazardly discovering in the daily news that his beloved daughter drowned in the Seine along with her very recent husband. This catastrophic shock ruptured Hugo’s sanity—“. . . If I’d been there, maybe I could have saved her . . .” distressed him for the rest of his life.

From that awful moment, Hugo attempted, in every way possible, to communicate with his daughter on the other side. He missed her love. He needed her pardon. He obsessed about her terrified face as the dirty river water dumped down into her lungs and strangled her. Seduction reveals his countless séances, psychic readings, Ouija board attempts to reach out to her in death. He began writing about his communications with the dead.

Now, jump to modern times when a young woman, Jac, subject at times to lucid hallucinations, visits the mysterious Brittish channel island of Jersey, hoping to locate the caves and sacred hidden ceremonial passages and ritual chambers of ancient Druid priests and priestesses. Legend claims they are located in the uncountable number of caves along Jersey’s pitted primeval shoreline.

In Seduction, the person who invited Jac to Jersey isle, a troubled man she fell in love with years ago at a mental hospital-like retreat center—Blixir Rath—now seeks Jac’s company. “He’d lost his wife. She’d lost her way.” He is interested in her because their exodus from the retreat center took place after an uncanny death-like fall from a high cliff that left both of them very disturbed. But now, this same man seeks Jac’s keen expertise for the past, to help him locate transcripts of Victor Hugo’s conversations with a man/thing he called, “The Shadow of The Sepulcher.”

His notes claim that Victor Hugo interacted with this creature hoping to somehow communicate with his deceased daughter—maybe even save her? Had Hugo gone mad? Possibly! But who or what is/was this being thought to abide in the caverns along Jersey’s coast? Is he/it not affected by time?

Is Jac mentally strong enough to subdue her own troubled past to follow Hugo’s subtle written clues through ancient monuments, stone circles, deep caves and crumbling castles? Can she and the man whose love she now desires together face demon-like ventures to find out why they relate so closely with the ancient, almost mythical, past?

Seduction is not a tale for the faint of heart. It is a very descriptive detailed story reeking with deep mystery, strange confrontations, and bizarre coincidences—or are they? The characters in this suspenseful novel are so well defined that they will haunt your sleep regardless of your belief in the supernatural. M.J. Rose is a master of description: I remember one of her lines described the gnarled wrinkled hand of a great aunt: “The veins on the back of her hand stood out like the lines of her life.”

If you are looking for a 5-star read that will puzzle you at so many turns, then get Seduction and read it. It will keep you guessing and maybe question your own blood-curdling relationship with the distant past!

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About Regis Schilken