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The Lantern by Deborah Lawrenson
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The Lantern (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Deborah Lawrenson

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4065226,236 (3.59)40
Member:tina1969
Title:The Lantern
Authors:Deborah Lawrenson
Info:Orion Publishing Group (2011), Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:****
Tags:None

Work details

The Lantern by Deborah Lawrenson (2011)

Recently added byboudreauxh, chrirob, arena50, lmfink, Tazoh, dgmlrhodes, poje, Roro8, private library
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Showing 1-5 of 52 (next | show all)
I had read a few reviews that compared this book with Rebecca which is one of my favorite books. There were some small similarities which appeared to be intentional since she made reference to the novel Rebecca. The Lantern wanted to be a great gothic novel but was really just average. ( )
  bibliophile_pgh | Aug 7, 2014 |
this was a good spooky ghost story, but I'm just not the gothic, setting-orientated reader. I tend to skim large paragraphs of information, which also tends to get in the way of the author setting the mood. ( )
  bp0128bd | Jan 24, 2014 |
Though slow to start, once The Lantern gets going it is a fabulous gothic read that lands firmly in the territory of Jane Eyre and Rebecca, but with its own rich mystery drawing on the history and life in the French countryside. Lawrenson’s luscious prose skillfully builds tension throughout the novel and her heroine, Eve, is the perfect mix of naiveté and young woman struggling to navigate a world that is just a bit too sophisticated for her to grasp. ( )
  daniellnic | Sep 25, 2013 |
The author
Deborah Lawrenson grew up in Kuwait, China, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Singapore. She studied English at Cambridge University and has worked as a journalist for various publications in England, including the Daily Mail, the Mail on Sunday, and Woman’s Journal magazine. She lives in Kent, England, and she and her family spend as much time as possible at a crumbling hamlet in Provence, France, the setting for The Lantern. For more information in Deborah Lawrenson you can visit http://www.deborah-lawrenson.co.uk/

The synopsis
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.
Eve does not know that Les GenEvriers has been haunted before. Bénedicté 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.

The review
I had a hard time with this book. I missed attachment with the story while still feeling I wanted to read this book. I am not sure what the cause of it is. Though I see why this book has been connected to Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier it was not as easy to read as Rebecca. I think what distracted me the most was the changing perspective. Once you got in the one story the chapter was done and you would have the other perspective.
The characters are well formed. Though most of them do not have looks their personalities are forming an image very well. This makes it rather easy to understand some of the decisions and also to understand parts of the story. I got the Bénedicté story very early already. The Dom story did surprise me though.
I experienced the storyline as confusing. I almost felt like not reading the chapters of either Bénedicté or Eve to get a connection to one of those stories. Still it was exciting enough to keep on reading. I really wanted to know what would happen. Due to this feeling I actually did not really enjoy this book. Still I gave it three stars. I think that a person who can engage to this book will have a lot of pleasure reading it and I would not want to discourage that. If you pick it up and cannot engage please know I am feeling you. ( )
  Ciska_vander_Lans | May 15, 2013 |
The Lantern was kindly provided to me by Netgalley for HarperCollins.

4.5 stars

The Lantern is a superbly written and beautiful story that is completely enthralling. I found it hard to put down because the mystery of the story is so fascinating. I found the author’s writing style to be quite wordy at first, but each description causes the scene to unfold as if you were actually experiencing it. I’ve incorporated several lines from the story itself to add some of that descriptiveness to my review and because they were some of my favorite quotes.

The story is about the relationship between Eve and Dom and the life they build together. From the beginning of the story you’re involved in their troubled relationship and the internal conflict that Eve is currently having. Not all is revealed, you’re only given bits and pieces, but it’s quite captivating.

”Until it happens to you, you don’t know how it will feel to stay with a man who has done a terrible thing. Not to know whether the worst has happened or is yet to come; wanting so badly to trust him now.”

The couple purchases a rural house in the south of France and immediately feels that this was all meant to be somehow.

”The property drew us in immediately. Not love at first sight, exactly, not as explosive as that: more a
deep, promising undertow, as if it had been waiting for us, and we for it.”


As much as they love the property, the more time they spend there the more the uneasiness begins to set in.

”The longer we stayed, the less it seemed to belong to us.”

When Eve sees an apparition of a woman on the property, her mind is unable to fully comprehend what she had just seen.

”Everyone wants answers and tidy conclusions, but in life they don’t always materialize. You settle for the best outcome you can manage, and accept that you can’t explain everything. The subconscious mind sometimes makes surreal connections, like the ones in dreams. Tricks of the light were all around.

As the story continues, the story begins switching back and forth between the past and the present, between Eve and Bénédicte. Bénédicte is a young woman who in the past used to live in the same house that Eve and Dom currently reside at. The past and the present ultimately collide and the revelation behind all the constant mystery is quite intriguing.

Throughout the story the author constantly keeps your interest as she’ll throw you a tid bit here and there about what may be potentially going on, but will leave it at that, a simple sentence. This is a great novel to do as a read along (speaking from person experience as I read this with another) because there is an enormous amount of information that is easier to sort out if you’re able to discuss with someone.

The books ending wrapped all the questions culminated throughout reading this book quite nicely even though it ended up being not quite what I had originally thought.

”All of which goes to show how dangerous it is to assume connections where there are none, to link events that have no link, to want tidy storytelling when real life is not like that, to draw too much on the imagination when it is so often misleading.”

Lovely novel.

Interested in more of my reviews? Visit my blog! ( )
  bonniemarjorie | May 7, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 52 (next | show all)
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Book description
When Eve falls for the secretive, charming Dom, their whirlwind relationship leads them to purchase Les Genevriers, an abandoned house in a rural hamlet in the south of France. As the beautiful Provence summer turns to autumn, Eve finds it impossible to ignore the mysteries that haunt both her lover and the run-down old house, in particular the mysterious disappearance of his beautiful first wife, Rachel. Whilst Eve tries to untangle the secrets surrounding Rachel's last recorded days, Les Genevriers itself seems to come alive. As strange events begin to occur with frightening regularity, Eve's voice becomes intertwined with that of Benedicte Lincel, a girl who lived in the house decades before. As the tangled skeins of the house's history begin to unravel, the tension grows between Dom and Eve. In a page-turning race, Eve must fight to discover the fates of both Benedicte and Rachel, before Les Genevriers' dark history has a chance to repeat itself.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0062049690, Hardcover)

Amazon Exclusive: A TALE OF PROVENCE: The story behind The Lantern

I’ve been having a love affair with Provence for more than 25 years. The light, the views, the colors, the heat—I find them all intoxicating. I went for the first time with the college boyfriend who would become my husband; his family had had a house in the Luberon for some twenty years. We finally bought our own property in France five years ago after my husband decided to give up banking and realize his long-held ambition to compose music.

“Les Genévriers” (not the property’s real name) is described in The Lantern more or less as we found it. Its setting is as accurate as I can make it without giving away its precise location. The Luberon area is one of the most sought-after locations in Provence, known for its hilltop villages, lavender, abundant fruit and clear bright light. It is the area Peter Mayle famously chronicled in A Year in Provence.

In addition to the abandoned farming hamlet, the story has its roots in the lavender fields and perfume industry in the region. There are small lavender fields and tiny family-run lavender distilleries all around where we live, but the main centers are to the north in Sault and, as described in the novel, to the east at Manosque and the Valensole plateau.

The idea of a blind perfumer came from the realization that there were strips of Braille on the packaging used by beauty product brand L’Occitane en Provence, based at Manosque. In 1997 the company created the foundation Provence dans tous les Sens (All the Senses of Provence) to introduce visually-impaired children to the world of perfume creation. In the novel, Marthe Lincel finds her true talent as a perfume “nose” after a visit to the Distillerie Musset from the school for the blind she attends in Manosque, although this episode takes place in the 1930s.

For most of the 20th century in this region, there was a gradual erosion of traditional farming as young people moved to the towns to seek work in the new industries and factories. The struggle was intense for those left behind on the hill farms in a region that was poor until the advent of mass tourism. In The Lantern, as Pierre--the only brother--takes off for better-paid work, and Marthe finds increasing success in Paris, this is the struggle faced by Bénédicte at “Les Genévriers”—and the past which gradually comes to disquiet Eve, the heroine of the contemporary narrative strand of the novel.

Like Eve, I am an avid reader and worryingly prone to over-imagination. While at the house our first summer, camping on stone floors, I re-read Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, and was as captivated by it as ever--but my thoughts wandered... what if I had come to this place knowing less about the area, or perhaps, less about the man I was with?

--Deborah Lawrenson

A Look Inside The Lantern
Click on the images below to open larger versions.

Lavender field in sunlight Garden door to the walnut wine cellar View from Gordes to the Luberon ridge A room with a view Side door into the alleyway

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:03:44 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Drawn to an older man, Eve embarks on a whirlwind romance that soon offers a new life and a new home--Les Genevriers, an old house in a charming hamlet amid the fragrant lavender fields of Provence. Their relationship becomes strained, however, as Dom grows quiet and distant and Eve feels a haunting presence. The more reluctant Dom is to tell her about his past, the more Eve is drawn to it--and to the mysterious disappearance of his beautiful ex-wife.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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