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The Scroll of Seduction Hardcover – 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Rayo (2006)
  • ASIN: B002K7LW1M
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Customer Reviews

Though it's a very absorbing book "Scroll" has some issues.
Lilly Flora
I know that translation is tricky, but I would think that it would also make the editors doubly diligent about mistakes.
Farin
The soft erotic air of the storie gives it a tremendous sex appeal.
Frank Torres

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By wkbee on October 28, 2006
Format: Paperback
Historians have disputed whether Juana of Castile (1479-1555)deserves her nickname of "La Loca" (the Mad). The daughter and heir to Queen Isabel was caught in a power struggle between her Flemish husband Philip and her father King Ferdinand. Both men were strongly motivated to discredit her in order to seize the territories that she was entitled to rule. "The Scroll of Seduction" tells Juana's story within the purely fictional story of Lucia, an orphan living in a convent school in Spain in the 1960s. Lucia is being told Juana's story by an obsessed 40-year-old historian, Manuel, who lures Lucia away from her boarding school on the weekends, brings her to his apartment and insists the 16-year-old wear a historically appropriate costume in order that she can better identify with Juana (and give Manuel insight into Juana's psyche) during the story-telling sessions. Obviously, the situation with Manuel is far from appropriate from the beginning and only gets worse, but it is really Juana's story of her passionate love for Philip and her struggle for independence that is truly engrossing and believable. The framing device of Manuel's relationship with Lucia is a gothic "Flowers in the Attic" catalog of lies and sordid behavior that seems unnecessary and over-the-top. However, the character of Lucia is well-written and relatable. Unlike Juana, she seems poised to survive and overcome the many traumas that come her way, including her seduction by Manuel. There are occasional anachronisms in the book (as far as I know, it was discovered that diamonds were made of carbon in the late 1700s -- there's no way Juana would have known that fact) and other "continuity" errors. In the edition I read, there were quite a number of spelling mistakes. But there are not a lot of books available about Juana, and the historical sections of this book explain her behavior in an intelligent and interesting way.
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I have always considered history to be the greatest mystery there is. Not the actual mysteries of history (who or what killed Attila the Hun, what happened to the Princes in the tower, was troy a real place...) but the notion that it is impossible to really understand history. Sure we can study it, learn the dates and the names and the places of importance, read documents, form theories-but will we ever understand the real mind of a single person who lived in an era not our own? It's so hard to even comprehend our contemporaries sometimes!

It's that question which lead me to read this novel. It's the story of two people who meet quite by accident-Manuel, a history teacher who is subbing for a tour guide friend and Lucia a sixteen year old boarding school student who happens to have Manuel as her guide when her grandparents visits Madrid (where she lives) and take a historical tour. After another accidental meeting Manuel and Lucia strike up a friendship, despite the difference in their ages, based on a love of history. Manuel seizes the opportunity to have Lucia participate in an experiment of a most unusual nature-he will tell her the story of Queen Juana "the mad" but if, and only if, she will imagine herself to be Juana, to feel what she felt, think what she thought. And dress they way she dressed, a in a red renaissance silk and velvet dress.

Lucia, an introverted orphan on the very edge of adulthood, is intrigued and goes along with it. But soon the experiment changes her life in unexpected ways as she becomes more involved in the story of Juana and her husband, Philip the Handsome, and with Manuel and his own curious and secret riddled family history.

"The Scroll of Seduction" is a novel riddled with questions and mysteries, pilled atop on another.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Farin on February 11, 2008
Format: Paperback
I agree wholeheartedly with the reviewer who said that it would have been lovely if Ms. Belli focused exclusively on the story of Juana and Philippe the Handsome. That part of the novel was an absolute joy to read! Not only did Ms. Belli capture the time period and present her extensive historical research beautifully, but she also managed to make Juana very human--I felt for this fiery, reluctant queen who was manipulated throughout her life by the men who wanted to crush her spirit. And the chemistry between her and Philippe was palpable, which made the deterrioration of their relationship even more painful.

I truly don't understand why Ms. Belli felt the need to weave this story in with the larger plot of Lucia and Manuel. It seemed to me like the Lucia/Manuel story was merely a device to tell Juana's story, and if that is the case, why not simply tell Juana's story and leave it at that?

There were also tons of spelling mistakes in the English version. I know that translation is tricky, but I would think that it would also make the editors doubly diligent about mistakes.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Frank Torres on March 16, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is great book that would keep you guessing and engaged. The soft erotic air of the storie gives it a tremendous sex appeal. It gives a clear picture of the intrigues and betrayal of royal chamber in the king' court of Europe. We can appriciate that little has change in our circle of Government. On the other side the book focus on a great love story of high magnitude. Excellent reading. A must read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Barbarino on November 24, 2010
Format: Paperback
I was very curious about "Juana the Mad" and was looking forward to reading that portion of this story. I wasn't as interesting in reading about the more contemporary seduction of the seventeen year old girl by her adult professor but I thought I would give the book a try anyway.

There were things that got in the way of my enjoyment and I didn't finish this book. The seduction part of the story would have been just fine if it weren't for the strange and disorganized way the story was told. I suspect, that in the translation from Spanish to English, some of the finer points of the writing may have been lost. The chronology wasn't at all fluid, it was very difficult for me to tell if the main character was referring to something that happened in the recent past or the distant past.

I thought the way the author had the main character Lucia describe her body was strange especially when she tells the reader about her belly button. This is after she has described the rest of her body:

'...my belly button was so deep and tiny that the only way I could clean it --- as part of my weekly ritual --- was by using a cotton swab that went almost halfway in before hitting the end. And for some inexplicable reason, whenever I did that, I felt a tickling sensation in my rectum.'

I do not consider myself to be "squeamish" in the least. I can read about nearly anything without being offended. And it wasn't that I was offended by these details. I just didn't feel like they were valuable to the story in anyway. They didn't serve to endear the main character to the reader and they certainly didn't do anything to move the story forward. I thought that they were strange and gave the story a weirdness to it that I didn't understand.
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