The Lantern: A Novel

The Lantern: A Novel

by Deborah Lawrenson

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Set in the lush countryside of Provence, Deborah Lawrenson’s The Lantern is an atmospheric modern gothic tale of love, suspicion, and murder, in the tradition of Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca. Drawn to a wealthy older man, Eve embarks on a whirlwind romance that soon offers a new life and a new home—Les Genévriers, a charming hamlet amid the fragrant lavender fields of Provence. But Eve finds it impossible to ignore the mysteries that haunt both her lover and the run-down old house. The more reluctant Dom is to tell her about his past, the more she is drawn to it—and to the mysterious disappearance of his beautiful ex-wife. An evocative tale of romantic and psychological suspense, The Lantern masterfully melds past and present, secrets and lies, appearances and disappearances—along with our age-old fear of the dark.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062049711
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 08/09/2011
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 705,873
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Deborah Lawrenson studied English at Cambridge University and worked as a journalist in London. She is married with a daughter, and lives in Kent, England. Deborah’s previous novels include The Lantern and The Sea Garden.

What People are Saying About This

Garth Stein

“With The Lantern, Deborah Lawrenson delivers a feast of sights, sounds and smells that grow and change and linger, like a wonderfully complex perfume. I was captivated by this marvelous, haunting book—at times vivid and lush, at times provocative and chilling.”

Tatiana de Rosnay

“I absolutely adored this beautifully written, modern Gothic novel, set in Provence, full of scents, colors and mystery. Reminiscent of Daphne du Maurier’s classic, Rebecca, The Lantern will hook you in from the start and weave its dark, lush magic around you.”

Danielle Trussoni

“A seductive mixture of a Gothic ghost story and a modern romance. . . . If the story doesn’t keep you up all night reading, the sharp and beautiful descriptions of the South of France will. Deborah Lawrenson has written an alluring, dark novel that will haunt you and leave you wanting more.”

Paula McLain

“Deborah Lawrenson is a master of mood and shadow as she spins this absorbing tale of intense passion and growing dread. Her Provence is sumptuous and forbidding and utterly real. Prepare to be riveted.”

Customer Reviews

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The Lantern 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 96 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this book was a page turner from beginning to end. It kept you guessing upto the last page. It was a mix of a ghost story, love story, and mystery all in one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you are going to read this book, I would suggest that either you read Rebecca or watch the movie or do both before you read The Lantern. AT first I had a hard time reading the book because of the back and forth between the main character and the "ghost". But once I got into it, I enjoyed the book. Definitely read Rebecca. The movie is a wonderful classic.
BookSakeBlogspot More than 1 year ago
This story was beautifully written about a part of France that I wish I had spent more time visiting. The couple that buys a very historical property in Provence learns through the history of the home how to let go of a bit of their personal history and secrets. It was hard for me to get started with the book, its format confused me a bit at first, but once I got the hang of the narrators changing, it was easier to follow and you get two stories in one book which is always nice. There was a certain creepiness factor, the objects that kept showing up, and reports of people that simply disappeared added some extra intrigue even though you understand where it is coming from early on. I thought the author did a great job of having the two women lead somewhat parallel lives, it brought an extra element to their stories, and it made me appreciate the difference in the times the women each lived through. Reviewed by Gabi for Book Sake.
FiveAlarmBookReviews More than 1 year ago
I read along for quite some time before I knew how I felt about The Lantern by Deborah Lawrenson. Normally I will only read so far before I decide whether or not I can finish it and give it a positive review and recommendation, but The Lantern had me confused. I was either holding a piece of literary work of genius, or a book that was not worth finishing. After getting the characters straight in my mind with all of the jumping back and forth, without any indication of what place in time I was reading about, things started to improve and I I found myself fully immersed into a fascinating novel of drama, mystery suspense and romance. Deborah Lawrenson writes in a classic style with vivid mastery. Although there were times that I could have done with less description, the writing was still beautiful and the plot was mesmerizing. I found The Lantern to be unique in the way that there is an air of mystery and suspense that surrounds the story, yet Lawrenson has written her book from the perspective of two characters (one past and one present) and their relationship with the people who surround them. I recommend this novel to readers who typically enjoy classical literature, both male and female, and to book discussion groups. There is a lot to talk about in this novel. Anything from literary work to relationship dynamics.
rbacapemay More than 1 year ago
This is an okay read - not great - I was drawn to it because of the review that said it was reminiscent of REBECCA - not even close.
Melissa Heck More than 1 year ago
I was ready for a spooky book or thriller and this was neither! Very predictable
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. The descriptive passages were stunning and added greatly to the ambience of the story, the time and the place. The plot was complex and suspenseful. All the characters were interesting. It's important to remember that most characters can only be seen from the viewpoint of the two narrators at each point in the story. Some have complained that Dom was not fully fleshed out, but that was the point. Eve was struggling to know who he was and he was struggling to hide who he was. This added to the suspense.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Did not enjoy going back and forth between chapters.
THEPRINCESS on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I agree with bookworm. I liked this book...and I didn't like it. The stories were interesting enough to hold my attention, to a point, although I had pretty much figured it out by mid-book. The stories themselves were interesting and the descriptions were outstanding. I really enjoyed her writing and would probably try another of her books.
nicx27 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Dom and Eve have a whirlwind romance and end up buying a run down property in Provence called Les Genevriers. Dom is a secretive man and Eve struggles to get much out of him, including what happened to his ex-wife, Rachel. Running alongside this story is that of Benedicte Lancel, the former occupier of the property for many years, along with her family for some of that time. I think I must have missed something with this book. I was very keen to read it for a number of reasons, mainly that I liked The Art of Falling by the same author, and also because I love dual time frame novels. However, for me, the two stories were not clearly delineated and although I mostly knew whose story I was reading at any one time, I would have liked it to be made a bit clearer, maybe with a date or a different font. I was reading a proof copy, so this may well have happened in the finished version.Also, the stories meandered quite a lot, they didn't really flow and the book as a whole was overly descriptive to the point where I was crying out for some decent dialogue. It's a nice enough book, and clearly the author loves the region of Provence in France, but it kind of left me feeling that this could have been a much better book had it had a tighter pair of storylines.
bachaney on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Lantern is set in a small hillside hamlet in Provence. Eve and her lover, Dom, have come to Provence to live their dream life. They buy an old abandonded farm house and set to restoring it, with the same passion that fills their new love affair. But soon, strange things start happening in the house, and Eve is convinced Dom is playing a part. In a parallel narrative, Benedicte, the last inhabitant of the house, tells the story of her family's downfall. As the novel progresses, the women's lives become more and more intertwined. The Lantern had so much potential. It is beautifully written and set in a dark, crumbling, perfectly gothic house. The women at the center of the story are interesting, and their story unfolds in such a way that it is suspensfull. But unfortunately, the execution was lacking for me. There was the opportunity for a great gothic twist, but it wasn't taken. So disapointing to see a novel with so much potential end in such a way. The descriptions of Provencial life make this worth a read, but it does not live up to modern Gothic successes like "The House at Riverton."
sunnydrk on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Pretty well written, I found myself pulled into this story, only to find myself pulled out time and time again. This book had mediocre characters and, at times, the storyline seemed to jump along and become stilted. It did pick up towards the end and it did make me think throughout. All in all a pleasant read.
MelissaPrange on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In comparison to the likes of the classics or even the more modern Thirteenth Tale or Kate Morton novels, the Latern is a less than entralling gothic novel. It centers around two stories. The first is of a modern day woman who has moved to France with the love of her life - who may or may not be a murderer. The second is the life story of a woman who feels guilt over the mysterious happenings centered around her family. The Lantern uses the standard cliques, including a mysteriously absent wife, a sociopathic brother, and a heap of unexplained ghost sightings. I enjoyed the novel for what it was, but I would have liked it to be a bit more surprising. The ending feels forced and a bit corny. I was never shocked during this novel or even mildly surprised. I like to be surprised in this sort of book, but the author failed to make the twists all that interesting. Also, the book was told in first person from two points of view, but the author failed to make either of the voices stand out. The characters, in general, were unexciting and vague. The plot and mysteries were the main focus but unfortunately, they were almost as unexciting as the characters. I wanted to like this book, but in the end, I felt let down. I would recommend rereading the Thirteenth Tale or the Monk instead of cracking the pages of this lackluster novel.
nfmgirl2 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Eve is swept off of her feet by the older Dom, and before she knows it she is following him to Les Genevriers, an old abandoned house in a small hamlet in the south of France. At first all is wonderful as they fix up the home, but soon the ghosts from the past creep in to come between them.Throughout this book, one word kept going through my mind: lush. Humid, dank, and dense through much of it, but lush throughout!The setting is very important to the storyline. This story is all about ghosts and the past, and you really need the antiquity of the buildings and landscape, and the old local legends and myths to create this haunting atmosphere.The atmosphere really ties into the story. I believe that the environment should be warm and arid, taking place in France, which I don¿t believe is known for high humidity. And yet the feeling that I kept getting throughout this story was ¿lush¿ and humid, dripping and cloying. It was really a contrast to the true atmosphere of the setting. It set the relationship between Dom and Eve. When things were going well between them, the air would be light, warm, the plant life in bloom. Then the sky would get overcast, the plants dormant, rains falling. When the weather would turn and everything would be gray and miserable, the mood would likewise change between Dom and Eve.This is a story for the senses. It's the movement of shadow, the twist in the light, the way the breeze feels as it hits your skin. There's an oppressiveness in the air that bears down on you. But more than anything it is the sense of smell that drives the story. Vanilla, lavender, citrus and almond-- the sense of smell is important to this storyline, which hosts scenes from the youth of a blind woman who became a perfume-maker, and you are drawn in to how it was to be her and living through your sense of smell.I enjoyed this story. I felt that the "main" characters of Dom and Eve lacked some development and were actually secondary to the ghosts of Benedicte, Marthe, Pierre and the rest. It was the ghostly glimpses into the past that kept me intrigued. I loved how expressive the author could be, and her writing could really pull me in. My final word: Part love story, part ghost story, part mystery and suspense, this is a leisurely jaunt through the past. Some have expressed annoyance at how similar Lawrenson's writing is to that of Daphne du Maurier. Since I haven't yet read any of du Maurier's work, I can't really speak to that, and did not have any similar annoyances. I found Lawrenson's writing beautifully descriptive without being overly done, and it really drew me in to the sights, smells and sensations of the surrounding environment. The book left me a little melancholy, but all-in-all hopeful for the future of the characters, and I was left wanting to read more from author Deborah Lawrenson.
Beamis12 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sometimes the blurbs on the back do a disservice to a novel and I think that is true in this case. By comparing this book to Rebecca, I expected dark, boding, Gothic but that it not what I got. Once I got over that I realized this author is a very good writer in her own right, her descriptions and setting are amazing. Her prose and word choices were actually beautiful but distracting at times. It took awhile before one could discern the actual story and figure out who was who and when they were talking. Rather than Gothic this is more a mystery and a haunting.
bookmagic on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I tried to get through this book, I really did. I had heard great things about it and was looking forward to reading it.But it just went so slow. I kept putting it down and picking it up again and having to reread pages. It certainly had potential but the plot just did not move. I wasn't able to engage with the characters quick enough for me to want to stay with the book despite it's slow pace. After about a month of this, I finally gave up. I hate to give up on a book unless the writing is bad but I just as if it wasn't going anywhere. I would not receommend this book.
TheGoldenPen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In a little Hamlet in Provence lies Les GenÉvriers, an old run- down farmhouse in the Luberon valley of Provence. When Eve met Dom she thought she met her match. Dom and Eve decide to build a future in Provence in the Luberon Valley of Southern France. At first Eve is enchanted by the cottage and surrounding farmhouse when they first purchased it from the Estate Agents and went to live in it. But soon, as summer ends, Eve discovers secrets and ghosts in the cottage...secrets that haunt her. With each day Dom begins to withdraw within himself and Eve is left on her own to ponder the strange shadows and flickering lights that emerge throughout the house and garden.Eve, an avid bookworm discovers a children's book in one of the wardrobes of the house and soon begins to delve into Le Genevries's history and previous owners....the Lincel family. When Eve and Dom meet a strange woman at a dinner party....a woman who claims to know about Dom's past and several legends surrounding Les GenÉvriers, Eve begins to question he really the man he says he is. What became of Rachel, his first wife? Each day a new mystery unfolds and Eve is caught in a web of mystery, deceit and lies. What secrets does the house hold? Who is Benedict and Marthe?The Lantern is a well-written story about how dangerous a wild imagination can be. It is a ghost story, a romance novel, a mystery, a Crime story and a Gothic Novel rolled into one. I fell in love with the story and couldn't put it down. As the story unfolded I wanted to find out what happened to Rachel. Was she murdered? Did she vanish without a trace like Marthe Lincel? The answers to all these questions are revealed within the descriptive pages of this wonderful book. The characters are well-rounded and I identified with the character of BÉnÉdicte. I disliked the character of Pierre Lincel. I was shocked by a scene in the book where Pierre strangles a cat and quarters it before Benedict¿s eyes for being betrayed by his sister when their father, discovers a revolver which Pierre had asked BÉnÉdicte to hide for him. Yet, this story is well-written and highly descriptive. I love the plot twist in the end. I commend the author for a great story.
ulliowl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is two stories intertwined. It revolves around a farm in Provence, France and a women who having found love is suddenly beset with doubts. The dark past of the farm and doubts instilled by chance meetings combine to make a combination mystery and horror story. Not Horror in the way of blood and guts but in the way of a constant feeling of suspense of a dangerous and hidden secret. The story catches you from the first and never lets you go. It was one of those books for me that I could of stayed up all night reading. The characters are well developed and real. So real that you can relate to the the main character almost immediately.
arielfl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Much like The Heiress was reminiscent of of Gone with the Wind and Forever Amber, The Lantern is a tribute to Rebeca and Jane Eyre. What is old becomes new again in Provence France. This is the IT book for fall. Gothic lovers enthralled with the Thirteenth Tale will find much to love here. If you have not already picked this up you may want to join in the reading group for RIP at Stainless Steel Droppings taking place for three weeks in October. The echos of ghosts real or imagined make this the atmospheric read for fall. I however, could not wait that long.The novel has two stories that run simultaneously. The first takes place in Provence France in the current time in a crumbling estate called Les Genevries. Eve has a world wind courtship with Dom and then move from England into Les Genevries. At first Eve is happy but as time goes on she feels distrustful of Dom when she begins to realize how isolated she is and that she does not really know that much about his past especially the part concerning his first wife Rachel whom he refuses to talk about. Things reach a critical level when dead bodies turn up during their pool renovation and Dom is the prime suspect. The second story also takes place at Les Genevries but in the past. Benedicte lives there with her siblings, the blind Marthe and her psychopathic brother Pierre. This is the more Gothic part of the story. Basically everything that the author can come up with is thrown at poor Benedicte, murder, incest, adultry, abortion, suicide, by the end of the story nothing will surprise you. If all those things happpened in a house, I think you would expect it to be haunted. Both stories are tied up neatly together by the end in the character of Sabine who has ties to both Benedicte and Eve.I read a lot of reviews that say this book starts off slow. It wasn't slow for me so much as confusing. The author does not come right out and say who is talking so sometimes I was left wondering if it was Benedicte or Eve though this problem did not last long as both stories quickly became clear and separate. My main problem was Dom and Eve. Every time Eve asked about Rachel, Dom would clam up or get testy and Eve would drop it. I would have never let it drop until I found out every last detail about her and if he wasn't telling I would have left long ago. It was maddening. I wanted someone to give Eve a backbone. Finally I just suspended reality in order to move past it because it was driving me crazy. For crying out aloud she could have googled her! I found Benedicte's story to be the more compelling one even if it was drama laden. The last pages of the book fly by in part because secrets are revealed and chapters are short, often only one or two pages long giving the feeling that you are speeding along. I won't give away the secret of Dom's wife but if you are familiar with Jane Eyre and Rebecca you can guess easily.I did really like this book because of my love of Jane Eyre and Rebecca. I knew I would be hooked when I read in the description the words Gothic and France. The writing is beautiful, especially the description of the plants and smells. The food wasn't too shabby either. I wanted to go out and buy something lavender after finishing this book. If you can suspend your disbelief then by all means join Eve and Benedicte by getting lost in the lavender of Provence, France this fall.
amusingmother on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is really a 4.5 - 4.75 read for me. I found this book to be evocative and beautifully written. The author is telling two stories simultaneously but, if the reader is watching closely, the symbolism of the house and the happenings of the house is mirrored in the relationship of Dom and Eve. Dom and Eve begin a relationship seemingly on a whim. Dom buys an old homestead with hidden rooms, tunnels, and surprises that turn up here and there. Like their relationship, the couple take it all in stride and are delighted with the gifts of the house. On the other hand, there are still unexplored areas with walls blocking rooms. The home is also aging and plaster falls apart. There are stains that can't be removed and mysteries that can't be explained.Meanwhile, Dom is secretive about his past and relationships with those he has been close to. There is the mystery of the former wife, Rachel. What happened to her? Where is Dom's family? Why don't the couple have close friends or, really, any friends? Any attempt "Eve" makes to ask about his past is met with Dom's completely shutting her out and retreating to his music or another hobby. And then there is the issue of the skeletal remains that show up on the property. Small detail.Meanwhile, every other chapter is about a different character at a different time but at the same home. Benedicte is the youngest child of three, born in 1925. Her story unfolds which includes the rise and fall of farming, having tenants, her family's demise, and the appearance of ghosts. Although seemingly unrelated, both stories share many similarities as both protagonists struggle with trying to make sense of their worlds and attaching meaning to different experiences. Ultimately, I found that I am prone to find meaning and make connections. The stories were about relationships and personal perceptions. What is real is whatever we attach meaning to. Trying to make connections where none exist is what drives conspiracy theories which is fine for some. For others, accepting experiences at face value is what they do. Although it is nice to think a person and a relationship (or a place) can be a brand new start, a clean slate with no history, each person and place is complex and have hidden rooms and surprises to be discovered which just keeps the relationship interesting.And the ghostly apparitions? I'll let you decide.
BookDivasReads on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Every now and again you read a book and think, wow . . . excellent writing, realistic and incredible characters, wonderful settings and a great plot. Don't get me wrong, there are great books written and read every day. But there are also plenty of good books and not so good books as well. The Lantern by Deborah Lawrenson is one of the great books.The writing is not only beautiful but beautifully evocative. Ms. Lawrenson paints pictures with words that capture the imagination and allow the reader to step inside of the story and walk alongside the characters. And we step inside the present with the story of Eve and Dom, and then we step into the past with Benedicte. Eve is a French to English translator. She falls in love with Dom and they relocate from the UK to France, pastoral northern France. Dom is, apparently, independently wealthy and they purchase and rehabilitate a farmhouse. Benedicte was born and raised in this farmhouse and the reader is invited to see the past through her story and memories. Eve isn't exactly naive but she does have a certain sense of naïveté about her, especially when it comes to Dom. She has the sense that something from his past is haunting his present and that it most likely is related to his ex-wife, Rachel. It doesn't help that the local realtor evidently met Rachel and suspects that something untoward happened to her. Her fears overshadow Eve's love and longing to build a life with Dom. Benedicte is a typical farm girl. Although she longs for more, she knows that she must stay to help her family, especially since her older sister is blind and no longer living at home and their brother cannot be relied upon to help out. Over the years Benedicte has worked the land and kept up the farm/estate as best as she can but she has also suffered major disappointments (hopes for a career that never came to fruition and a lover that . . . disappointed her). In her old age, she reminisces and fears that she is losing her mind as ghostly visages torment her. She questions what really happened to her sister and why has she deserted her? The Lantern is filled with psychological horror that gradually builds throughout the story. The reader and characters begin to question what is and isn't real, and suspect what has and hasn't happened to people from the past. As I've previously stated, the writing is truly beautiful and captures the reader from beginning to end. If you can appreciate beautiful prose, great scenery, and credible characters accompanied by subtle psychological horror, then The Lantern is just the book for you.
mckait on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The words are like flowers, as is perhaps appropriate in a story wherefragrance and its composition is nearly a character in and of itself. Butthere are moments of casual cruelty hidden within the flowery language. Thereis darkness, mystery and and the whispering of the ghosts of lifetimes lived and left.He called her Eve. They met in the depths of a labyrinth and that too, was appropriate,given that that their life together was wound between secrets she dared not explore. Shewas happy enough, more than happy, in fact. At least in the beginning. Before the darknessthat secrets exude began to swirl around them. She was happy before the doubts began to creep in,before the bones were uncovered in the garden.This story is a journey that begins in the distant past, and ends with a promise for the future. ITis a journey that I recommend that you take, if you like mystery touched with romance and dusted withpetals of flowers long since gone.
bjmitch on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The best word I can think of to describe The Lantern is dreamy. It moves slowly but with dark mysterious undercurrents. The story of Les Genevriers (The Junipers), an 1887 farmhouse in Provence, is told alternately by Benedicte, a woman who lived there her whole life (and perhaps continues to live there after death) and Eve, who has come to live there with her lover, Dom. Both Eve and Dom are British; Dom buys Les Genevriers after Benedicte's death. My one complaint about The Lantern is that the point of view changes abruptly without any indication. Many times I read several paragraphs before I realized it was Eve rather than Benedicte, or vice versa. Perhaps Lawrenson thought that was clever; I found it annoying. Benedicte's story is heart wrenching. Her older sister gradually goes blind so Benedicte becomes her eyes. She goes to work in the lavender fields during the German occupation of France. Her blind sister is working at a perfume company developing new scents and wants to know everything about lavender and its distillation. But this idyllic story is underscored by the danger of living with their evil brother, as well as the nagging fear of the Nazi occupiers to the north. The other story shows Eve arriving at the house in the early throes of deep passionate love, but there are always doubts in the back of her mind. She doesn't know much about Dom, who seems to be in the grip of a mysterious memory. He isn't in touch with his family and there is the question of what became of his wife. Why won't he talk about her? Why is he so moody? They remain isolated in the house as Eve's questions and Dom's torment grow. Lawrenson's depiction of the house and gardens as well as the people of the nearby village is masterful. I could feel the atmosphere and see the house. There are sealed up rooms, strange sounds, a stain on the kitchen floor that Eve can't scrub away, and haunting scents that seem to come from the very walls of the house. I had trouble getting into this book but once I did, I was hooked. I recommend The Lantern, which is coming out in August.
starlitehouse on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
From the minute I received this book I was intrigued. The marketing idea of the unique sleeve on the book draws you in. Six people who just saw the packaging asked to read this book just based on the way it was shipped.As I started reading the book I was not disappointed. The characters are well written and draw you in. Each character feels like the "main" character. Please read this book you will happy you did.
TheLostEntwife on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I finished reading this book a few hours ago and I am still battling the chills it brought to life. Holy smokes, this one blew me away.I¿m a huge fan of Kate Morton, I loved Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier and so it was inevitable that I¿d pick up The Lantern, gothic romantic mystery? Yes please!I have to say, I was intrigued enough for the first half of the book to keep reading. I, like Eve, needed to know the secrets. I was confused by the narrative but quickly got used to it and appreciated that I didn¿t have to read long before going back to the other story.Then, something magical happened. I started jumping at every little noise, looking over my shoulder at the slightest breeze of air touching it and whimpering with needing to know exactly what was going on.I¿ve read a lot of books with psychological torture, but I have to say - I think an event in this book about takes the cake. I won¿t say anymore about it, but .. yeah, you¿ll know when you read it.If you love books that just tingle with mystery, sweeping, beautiful descriptions of homes fallen into disrepair and ruin, filled with mystery, ghosts and more then The Lantern is a must-read.