Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Review: The Lantern

The Lantern is a Gothic tale of Provence set in a looming old house complete with a moody and mysterious resident and a ghost. Eve and her boyfriend Dom purchase the atmospheric and remote Les Genevrieres, but once they move in their relationship seems to disintegrate. Dom refuses to talk about his previous marriage and becomes more and more isolated. Mysterious objects appear and disappear in the house. Then, when digging a new pool, builders find the bodies of two women on their property. Eve has no idea what relationship these bones might have to her boyfriend and his former wife, or to a college student who has recently gone missing from the area. At the same time as Eve and Dom try to live with each other and their house, the book tells the story of the house's former residents, a blind perfumier and her sister.

This book is full of beautiful descriptions of Provence, both in the well-known, sunny summers that produce the lavender harvest and in the colder, more desolate winters. Lawrenson does an excellent job of creating a suitably creepy atmosphere. I enjoyed the two stories she told, though I sometimes found Eve's naivete hard to believe- buying a house with a guy who literally will not say anything about his past is probably not the best idea.

Deborah Lawrenson, The Lantern (Harper, 2011) ISBN: 0062049690 

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