From the author of The Book of Lost Fragrances comes a haunting novel about a grieving woman who discovers the lost letters 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. – from Goodreads.com
I received an advance copy of this book from Net Galley. I thought I’d read all of The Reincarnationist series, but apparently I missed the one before this; however, the author gives enough backstory so that I wasn’t lost when reading this novel.
I had mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, I’ve always been fascinated by reincarnation ever since I saw the movie The Reincarnation of Peter Proud on TV years ago and read the book Audrey Rose by Frank De Felitta. The three other books I’ve read in The Reincarnationist series were very interesting and enjoyable, and so was this one – at the beginning. Somewhere in the middle of the book, the story seemed to take another path, like it had lost its way.
The mysterious and Gothic setting was very appealing to me, and I liked the supernatural elements included in the book; however, the story could have been shortened, and the storyline with Jac and Theo seemed to drag. Before it was over, I really didn’t care for either of them. I was expecting an electrifying ending, but that was also disappointing and just left me questioning the point of the whole book. With the other two storylines, Victor Hugo and Owain and Gwenore, I knew they had to be connected somehow and had my suspicions but, again, the explanation at the end was very anticlimactic.
Maybe if I’d read the book before this one, I’d feel differently but, overall, I felt the story lacked development and the purpose of some characters and connections wasn’t made clear.