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The Lantern
by Deborah Lawrenson

Overview -

A modern gothic novel of love, secrets, and murder--set against thelush backdrop of Provence

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.  Read more...


 
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More About The Lantern by Deborah Lawrenson
 
 
 
Overview

A modern gothic novel of love, secrets, and murder--set against thelush backdrop of Provence

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. Is it a ghost from the past or a manifestation of her current troubles with Dom? Can she trust Dom, or could her life be in danger?

Eve does not know that Les Genevriers has been haunted before. Benedicte 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.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780062049698
  • ISBN-10: 0062049690
  • Publisher: Harpercollins
  • Publish Date: August 2011
  • Page Count: 386


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Suspense
Books > Fiction > Romance - Gothic

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2011-06-13
  • Reviewer: Staff

Dom, an erudite English musician, and an aspiring translator he calls "Eve" meet in a maze, fall in love, and decamp to Les Genévriers (the Junipers), a hamlet in Provence, at the start of Lawrenson's extravagant new novel. Eve is immediately intrigued by the misnamed French house, constructed in 1887; "there is only one low-spreading juniper, hardly noble enough to warrant such recognition." Les Genévriers is rich with antiques and hidden rooms, and also seems to be haunted. Eve is distressed when Dom refuses to talk about his ex-wife, who has gone missing, and becomes increasingly determined to investigate the disappearance. As summer slides into fall, a new narrative gracefully emerges with the discovery of audio recordings made by Bénédicte Lincel, a resident of Les Genévriers in the early 20th century. The recordings reveal a woman haunted by past tragedies and further deepen the mystery of the house. Lawrenson expertly manages suspense and intrigue throughout and breathes great, detailed life into her lush French countryside setting, making one wonder why this, her sixth novel, is the first to be published in the U.S. (Aug.)

 
BookPage Reviews

Provençal secrets

Deborah Lawrenson pays homage to Daphne du Maurier’s 20th-century Gothic novel Rebecca in The Lantern, which interweaves two stories, past and present, both set in a crumbling manor in the romantic, rural landscape in the south of France. The Lantern contains deliberate similarities to the du Maurier classic, including a big house and a mysterious first wife, but offers them with a contemporary twist.

The story begins when the unnamed narrator (the first tip of the hat to Rebecca), called “Eve” by her lover, meets the charming but secretive Dom and begins a whirlwind affair that takes the couple to an abandoned house in the south of France. Eve and Dom live in splendid isolation among the lavender fields at Les Genevriers, but as the months go by, she finds herself wondering about his life, his parents and especially about his first wife, Rachel.

When a nosy neighbor begins to ask questions, Eve realizes how little she really knows about her lover’s past. Soon she begins noticing a sweet odor wafting through the house and imagines ghostly figures in the garden. Eve’s story is interspersed with that of Benedicte Lincel, an old woman who grew up in the house and whose elder sister mysteriously disappeared after starting her own perfume company based on the scents of her native Provence.

Though the short chapters with alternating storylines can make for choppy reading and the novel never quite achieves the eerie power and haunted sensation of its inspired source, The Lantern works best when the prose evokes the drama and sensuality of the Provençal landscape. Lawrenson, who splits her time between France and England, is clearly familiar with the small hamlets and villages that she writes about so beautifully.

 
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