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The Lantern ~ Deborah Lawrenson

October 5, 2011


Genre: Adult Fiction/Mystery
Publisher: Harper
400 pages
ISBN: 9780062049698
Source: Gift from Heather

I have never been one for scary movies. Even more indie, artsy “psychological thrillers” don’t really appeal to me. There is, every now and then, though, a story that is so hauntingly (literally) beautiful that I can’t pass it up. The Lantern is one such story. Two stories intertwined, several decades apart, follow the lives of several women and fewer men, as they struggle with identity, discovery and, of course, murder.

The present day strand of the telling is written from Eve’s point of view. A young woman, never quite sure of herself, Eve falls dramatically in love with an American named Dom with a very murky past. They set up their home in a storybook estate, called Les Genévriers, in beautiful Provence. The house carries history for Dom but it also carries a deeper history of the area, one that Eve is determined to figure out, though everything seems to be standing in her way.

The second thread of the story dates several decades back to a family of severely unlucky, slightly dysfunctional siblings, occupying the same compound. Their story is at once more dramatically engaging and, yet, a softer undercurrent to the more modern fare.

Both stories work on our fear and obsession with the supernatural even when human nature is both more interesting and more sinister. The mystery, true and honest mystery, not campy crime solving mystery, is what drives this beautifully told tale. I found myself staying up way too late to find out more about the strange things that passed between the walls of the old house and what sat not so far underneath the surface of the farming town.

Aside from the excellent plain old story telling, the crafting of the telling, in words and thoughtful images, was my favorite part of this book. The story is told in such straightforward, yet, descriptive language that I never, for a second, believed I was anywhere other than the French countryside. This is, at times, spooky but rather than simply just another ghost story, The Lantern is an assessment of human emotion in the deepest sense, both positive and negative. I highly recommend the book to those looking for a well done fall read that explores the way we view ourselves in the supposedly paranormal.

This is my third contribution for the R.I.P. Challenge. Yes, folks, that means that I am only one book away from officially completing an actual challenge. Look at me! I think I’m having way too much fun, though. Going to keep going on the spooky stuff for right now. 

11 Comments leave one →
  1. October 5, 2011 9:44 am

    Yes! Glad to hear that The Lantern has another happy customer. I have it loaded on the iPod, and may very well be the next listen after Ready Player One. It really isn’t hard to get these RIP reads is it? I am awash in them.

  2. October 5, 2011 10:03 am

    Like you, psychological thrillers and other scary things aren’t really my bag. Still, you make this one sound so compelling — and I can get behind a true mystery!

  3. October 5, 2011 10:10 am

    I just finished The Lantern yesterday and I agree with your take on it. The language was so lush and there was just the right amount of suspense. I want to go buy pots of lavender now!

  4. October 5, 2011 11:21 am

    I can’t wait to get to this! Am hoping to closer to Halloween…

  5. October 5, 2011 11:32 am

    I loved this book as well, and thought that Dom was one sinister character indeed! I also thought the ending was really chilling as well. The author had a way of making every utterance and situation in this book seem tense and dark, and I just loved that. This was an excellent review, and I am so glad that you liked the book!

  6. October 5, 2011 2:42 pm

    I’ve seen this one around. It sounds delightfully spooky and fun.

  7. October 5, 2011 3:51 pm

    I keep reading so many positive reviews about The Lantern. Congratulations on being one book away from finishing the R.I.P. Challenge!

  8. October 5, 2011 7:09 pm

    Glad you liked this!! I have it from the library right now and hope I can finish it before it’s due.

  9. October 5, 2011 8:02 pm

    I am about to start this for the RIP readalong! I am really looking forward to it!

  10. October 6, 2011 12:45 am

    This isn’t one I would normally pick up on my own but your review has me more interested in it for sure! I love that cover too!

  11. October 6, 2011 10:16 am

    This sounds like a really interesting read! I’ll definitely have to try to check it out. :) Thanks for sharing!

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