September 1, 2011

The Lantern by Deborah Lawrenson: Review

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Eve, usually level-headed, drops everything and moves to Provence with a man she just met. Dom is intelligent, confident and has the means to buy a run down farmhouse named Les Genévriers. They revel in the summer months, exploring the mysteries of their new property and each other. As fall closes in, Eve begins to have her doubts about Dom and wonders about his refusal to talk about his ex-wife Rachel. Dom retreats further into himself the more questions she asks. Left to her own devices, Eve starts snooping, trying to find out what happened to Rachel.

While Rachel haunts Eve's relationship, the old house has haunting secrets of its own. The crumbling walls witnessed the comings and goings of generations of Lincels. Bénédicte is the last of the Lincels, finds she's being haunted by the ghosts of her family: first her brother Pierre then her sister . She remembers all the tragedies of her life and all the wrongs she believes she's committed. Unknown to Eve, those tragedies will have impact on her own life.

The Lantern by Deborah Lawrenson snuck up on me. At first, the slow pace made it easy for me to put down. The writing is lyrical but I didn't know where it was going. The two timelines and narrators were a bit confusing at first. I had a hard time distinguishing the voices. It all comes together at the end but it's hard to see how in the beginning. However, by the midway point I was hooked and didn't want to put it down, even when I was dead tired. 

The Lantern is being heavily promoted as "in the tradition of Rebecca" and Lawrenson even mentions Rebecca in the book. Talk about hitting someone over the head with the obvious stick. But despite the Rebecca/Rachel similarities, The Lantern veers off into spookier territory. Are the ghosts experienced by both Bénédicte and Eve real or is there a logical explanation?

Eve isn't a pushover and though she had moments where she doubted herself, she had the guts to put her foot down. Bénédicte is the character I felt the most sorry for. My heart broke into a thousand pieces for her. By the end of the book, I felt like I had been wrung out. It was a perfect ending.

The Lantern is a beautifully written gothic tale. It's atmospheric. I was there in the ruins of that house with the smell of lavender all around. Lawrenson strikes the perfect balance between the sinister and the beautiful.

Highly recommended.

Ratings:
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Thanks to TLC Book Tours for the review copy. You can find the rest of the tour schedule there. You can check out Deborah Lawrenson's website for more information on her writing.

15 comments :

  1. This sounds like a book that can't be read in bits and pieces at the beginning. I'll have to look for it.

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  2. I look forward to reading this!

    I'm sorry about our buddy read. I will get organized. :)

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  3. I need to get my hands on this one; the reviews have intrigued me. Nice job Chris.

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  4. THIS is exactly how my wish list gets longer! Thanks!.. i think lol

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  5. Nice review. I love the cover. I have never read a gothic tale before. So nice to have another sub-genre to add to the list. Thanks for sharing.

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  6. Slow-going is okay if it pays off in the end, and it sounds like it did in this case. Thankfully!

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  7. Just received my copy of this and I cannot WAIT to read it :D Sounds excellent!

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  8. You are already changing my R.I.P. plans, Chris. This is a great review, thanks!

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  9. I of course just skimmed this but like your final sentence. It gives me even more hope that I am going to enjoy this one.

    We are doing the group read of this book in October for anyone who is interested in joining in. I hope you'll come along and participate in the conversation over the three weeks that we do Q&A with the book.

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  10. Dare I admit that I haven't read REBECCA yet? ...

    I'm glad you enjoyed this one! Thanks for being a part of the tour. I'm featuring your review on TLC's Facebook page today.

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  11. Sounds like a good read! Thanks!

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  12. You're tempting me to join in on Carl's readalong. Maybe by October I'll be ready. It sounds like I should spritz the pages with lavender spray for the full effect, lol.

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  13. This sounds really good! I like the "Rebecca" connection, especially if this one is spookier.

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  14. Are you joining us in the group read of The Lantern in October, Trish? You should. :)

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  15. Another gothic creeper to add to my TBR list - - thanks for the great review, Chris!

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