The Lantern by Deborah Lawrenson
Thursday, Oct 13, 2011
Billed as a modern-day Rebecca, this gothic tale of love and mystery is set in a crumbling villa in Provence. Eve and Dom, after a whirlwind romance, have moved in and begun the slow process of renovation. The summer is glorious but at the advent of cooler weather Eve begins to have suspicions about Dom’s past and the disappearance or death of his ex-wife. Three young women go missing in the area. Seemingly insignificant, unexplainable events heighten Eve’s senses – a strange light and a shadowy figure in the night. When bones are found during the rebuilding of the swimming pool and police take over the property, Eve’s fears seem to be confirmed. Told in alternating chapters, there is a parallel tale that occurred at the same house between 1930 and 1975 - the tragic story of the former owners that ends with two mysterious disappearances. This often disjointed tale with its unbelievable characters, ponderous plot, and predictable end does not work for me. It was difficult to tell where the story was leading – a ghost story, murder mystery, love triangle? And the Lantern itself doesn’t show up until mid-book. The best parts were beautiful descriptions of the countryside and of the lavender and perfume industry. This book is definitely a book for women who enjoy spending time with a story with a romantic setting and don’t mind a wandering plot.