The Lantern ~ Deborah Lawrenson
Genre: Adult Fiction/Mystery
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.