The Book Mark

Books that make the grade.

The Lantern

The Lantern (C) by Deborah Lawrenson was an underwhelming attempt at a gothic novel.  Two separate stories are told linking the past to the present.  Eve and Dom meet and fall in love. Dom purchases Les Genevriers in the South of France a worn down mansion surrounded by lavender fields. Eve agrees to live there with Dom; a man she knows nothing more about other than he was married to a woman named Rachel.  She does not know that Dom and Rachel lived in the area before.

Dom is happy to live in seclusion and spends his days restoring the old house and writing music.  He seems distracted and moody.  His moods erode their relationship. Several attempts to regain the intensity of their romance fail leaving more distance between the couple.

Sabine a local woman befriends Eve.  It is a friendship of convenience.  Sabine was Rachel’s friend and hopes to discover what has become of her. Eve counts on Sabine to unravel the truth about Rachel and Dom.   Sabine shares local history. She tells Eve about Marthe, a perfume designer, one of the previous residents of Les Genevriers.

Lawrenson narrates the past through the voice of Benedicte.  In her last years at Les Genevriers, the ghosts of her family each visit Benedicte reminding her of old fears and anxieties.

Is history repeating itself at Les Genevriers?  Are the ghosts that visited Benedicte visiting Eve?  Will Eve be the conduit that unravels old mysteries?  Does she unravel new ones too?

The Lantern held great potential but Lawrenson didn’t succeed.  She wrote endlessly graphic pages of details that weren’t necessary. She took the punch out of the mysteries by taking so long to deliver them.  I was truly disappointed.  While, Lawrenson was inspired by Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca; she just wasn’t skillful enough to replicate it.  As I have said before, you can’t duplicate a classic.  I appreciate what Lawrenson tried to do and I hope that she tries again because like her novel; she holds great potential.

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