The Lantern by Deborah Lawrenson. Harper, 2011.
The Lantern is narrated by Eve, who finds herself embarking on a new life in the French countryside following a whirlwind romance with an older man. Her idyllic existence is soon disturbed by doubts. Dom seems to have secrets and refuses to talk about his former wife, Rachel. When a local woman begins a breadcrumb trail of clues encouraging Eve to find out what happened, her doubts grow. Interwoven with Eve’s story is that of Bénédicte Lincel, the former owner of the quaint French hamlet in which Eve and Dom settle. The secrets of the past and present eventually come crashing together.
Though Deborah Lawrenson has written a number of books, The Lantern is the first to be published in the United States. I thank Harper for publishing it. The flyleaf makes the inevitable comparison to DuMaurier’s Rebecca to which any gothic novel is subject, but The Lantern stands on its own merits. Lawrenson has successfully created a modern gothic tale. Her prose paints a beautiful picture of Provence while also creating haunting scenes that will give you goosebumps. You will be unable to stop reading until you find out the truths that are well-hidden. Aside from being a gripping and ghostly gothic novel, The Lantern is the perfect read for this time of year. I encourage you to fall into the wonderful atmosphere of this novel.