Sep 5, 2011

Book Review: The Lantern by Deborah Lawrenson - TLC Book Tour


Title: The Lantern by Deborah Lawrenson
Publisher: Harper 2011
Genre: literary fiction, suspense
Source: ARC for review from TLC Book Tours
Objective rating: 4.75/5

About the book: There two stories intertwined, one from the past and one in the present, both set in Les Genevriers, a hamlet in  the hills of Provence, France. In the present is the love story of the young writer Eve and an older man, Dom, who come to live in Les Genevriers and gradually discover the secrets of the old house and the story of the people who used to live there.

One of the former occupants was a young blind girl, Marthe, who was known for her perceptive sense of smell and her knowledge of the plants and flowers that grow in the region. After becoming a famous creator of new perfumes in Paris and at the height of her success, Marthe suddenly disappears, never to be heard from again. We learn from the writings of her sister Benedicte, who stayed on at the house, what went on with the family during those early times.

But Eve and Dom have their own troubles in the present. Eve discovers that Dom has haunting secrets from his past that trouble him, which he is unwilling to share with her. Between dealing with the ghosts from the past, including a mysterious glowing lantern that appears during the night on the path to the house, and those of the present, Eve finds herself trying to assess her safety and the reality of her life at Les Genevriers.

Comments: I had heard that the writer of The Lantern had based her story on Daphne du Maurier's classic novel, Rebecca, which I had read more than once plus seen the black and white film several times. I began reading The Lantern with a bit of trepidation, dreading a meeting with the equivalent of Mrs. Danvers, the villain in Rebecca, whom I didn't want to meet again in another book.

Imagine my pleasant surprise, no Mrs. Danvers, though there is at least one very frightening character from the past and some hinted at in the present. Lawrenson's book does not follow Rebecca too closely, as I had imagined it might, and the plot is a new one, all its own, except for a few resemblances of Dom to Maxim in Rebecca, and the innocent character of Maxim's young wife to The Lantern's main character, Eve.

The novel is beautifully written and the plot is original and suspenseful. Lawrenson has written a novel of mystery as well as a romance. Her writing is full of poetic and lyrical descriptions of Provence and the countryside. That in itself is worth reading the book for, but add the mystery of Marthe from the past and Eve's love story in the present, and that gives two more reasons for liking the novel.

For more information about the author, visit her website and her blog.
For other reviews of the book on the TLC tour, see The Lantern reviews.

Source: An ARC of the novel was provided by the publisher for TLC Book Tours. My rating and review of the book are objective and not influenced by my receiving a free copy for review.

© Harvee Lau 2011

10 comments:

  1. I want to read this but have put it off, especially because I never read Rebecca! So I'm glad to hear that won't be an issue!

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  2. Funny how the comparison to Rebecca made you worry since you loved it so much and how it makes me worry because I am too cowardly for it. Still pondering if my weenie little self can read this one without losing any sleep!

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  3. Rhapsody: It's a stand alone book and you don't have to have read Rebecca!

    Kristen: What's a few little ghostly events here or there...

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  4. I think I am the only person who hasn't read this yet! I am not sure yet if I will pick it up or not.

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  5. I'm currently listening to this on audio and it has wildly exceeded my expectations. I'm a little over half way through and I had to stop listening today and be social at my picnic!

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  6. Your review was terrific; everyone has seemed to enjoy this one. I MUST get to it soon.

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  7. Adding this to my ever growing TBR list.

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  8. I so want to read this one. I waited too long to put my copy from NetGalley on my Kindle and it poof!! Oh well, I will read it one of these days!!

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  9. This one sounds delightfully creepy - perfect for fall! I'm glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for being on the tour.

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  10. This one looks good. It's been years since I read Rebecca but I remember enough to make this look intriguing.

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