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Friday, March 23, 2012

Review: The Lantern by Deborah Lawrenson

Title: The Lantern
Author: Deborah Lawrenson
Publisher: Harper
Publish Date: August 9, 2011
Source: Library

Why You're Reading This Book:
  • You like gothic novels.
  • You like a little mystery with your fiction.
What's the Story?:

From "A modern gothic novel of love, secrets, and murder--set against the lush backdrop of Provence.
Meeting Dom was the most incredible thing that had ever happened to me. When Eve falls for the secretive, charming Dom in Switzerland, their whirlwind relationship leads them to Les GenEvriers, an abandoned house set among the fragrant lavender fields of the South of France. Each enchanting day delivers happy discoveries: hidden chambers, secret vaults, a beautiful wrought-iron lantern. Deeply in love and surrounded by music, books, and the heady summer scents of the French countryside, Eve has never felt more alive.

But with autumn's arrival the days begin to cool, and so, too, does Dom. Though Eve knows he bears the emotional scars of a failed marriage--one he refuses to talk about--his silence arouses suspicion and uncertainty. The more reticent Dom is to explain, the more Eve becomes obsessed with finding answers--and with unraveling the mystery of his absent, beautiful ex-wife, Rachel.

Like its owner, Les GenEvriers is also changing. Bright, warm rooms have turned cold and uninviting; shadows now fall unexpectedly; and Eve senses a presence moving through the garden. Is it a ghost from the past or a manifestation of her current troubles with Dom? Can she trust Dom, or could her life be in danger?

Eve does not know that Les GenEvriers has been haunted before. BEnEdicte Lincel, the house's former owner, thrived as a young girl within the rich elements of the landscape: the violets hidden in the woodland, the warm wind through the almond trees. She knew the bitter taste of heartbreak and tragedy--long-buried family secrets and evil deeds that, once unearthed, will hold shocking and unexpected consequences for Eve."

My Two Cents:

The Lantern is sort of a throwback to the old gothic novels. It's also a cautionary tale in not letting your imagination run away too much. Eve thinks that she has everything. She meets Dom in Switzerland and they move to a grand country house in gorgeous Provence. They have their music and Eve has her writing and her books. It sounds idyllic and wonderful but nothing is really as it seems. Dom seems to be hiding something and Eve will not (and seemingly cannot) rest until she figures out Dom's secret because otherwise he seems absolutely perfect.

Even though Eve does go a little bit off the deep end with trying to put together the mystery that's tugging on her. She's definitely an unreliable narrator but sometimes, those are the most interesting narrators. She puts all the clues together in a manner that could be totally plausible but then jumps to all sorts of conclusions that she treats as absolute truths. On the other hand, you can see that what Eve thinks is going on, is not really how things are. It's so interesting to see the juxtaposition between what Eve knows and what the reader can figure out by having two parts of the same story in full view.

The writing is a little stilted but works well for this sort of book.

I did have a little bit of a hard time getting into the book. The chapters are told from the alternating point of view of Eve, in the present day, and Benedicte, a French woman who was related to a famous perfumer. There is no notation at the beginning of each chapter of who is speaking in the chapter. Once you start reading the chapter, it was usually really apparent who was telling the story but there was a little initial confusion.



  1. I agree a lot with your review of this book. I found the alternating points of view for each chapter confusing as well, it was just an ok read for me.

  2. I've been enamored with all of the covers of this book that I've seen, even so much that I wanted to pick it up based on the cover alone. But when I read reviews of it, everyone pretty much says basically what you are saying. I really WANT it to be a 5-star, though, because it is so beautiful. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Meg!!

    1. I'm a little in love with the paperback cover of this book. It's filled with purple lavender, one of my favorite scents and flowers in the world!

  3. The synopsis sounds good, but the alternating pov's and your confussion has me rethinking this thanks for sharing your thoughts

  4. I think this is in my TBR pile. Based on this review, I probably won't rush to it.

  5. I've had this one in my tbr pile for awhile. I don't read many gothic novels, but I'd like to try this one out.

    1. I don't read a lot of gothic novels. Even though this book sort of fell flat for me, it did make me want to read more gothic novels.


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