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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Lantern -
An engrossing read, rich in the scents and sights of Provence. If you want to lose yourself in a book this summer, this could be the one for you, with romance, a hint of dark suspense, a mystery and a nod to Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca.

It isn't Rebecca, actually (though that's one of the points of the novel), but a lovely weave of a past story of a run-down...
Published on 23 Jun. 2011 by LP Kent

versus
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An ok read
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...
Published on 8 Nov. 2011 by Nicola in South Yorkshire


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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Lantern -, 23 Jun. 2011
This review is from: The Lantern (Paperback)
An engrossing read, rich in the scents and sights of Provence. If you want to lose yourself in a book this summer, this could be the one for you, with romance, a hint of dark suspense, a mystery and a nod to Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca.

It isn't Rebecca, actually (though that's one of the points of the novel), but a lovely weave of a past story of a run-down house in the South of France and the present-day experiences of a book-reading heroine, "Eve". In between her fertile imaginings and the very real fears she has to face, there are great vistas of lavender fields and hill-top villages, and tiny telling details about perfume and music, psychological insight and the possibilities of spirits. The writing is beautiful and I was utterly enchanted and gripped.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An ok read, 8 Nov. 2011
This review is from: The Lantern (Paperback)
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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.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Feast for the senses, 19 Jun. 2011
By 
Welsh Annie (Wetherby) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Lantern (Paperback)
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I've read and enjoyed Deborah Lawrenson's books before - I can heartily recommend "The Art of Falling" and "Songs of Blue and Gold" - so I was delighted to receive this one for review, especially as it's now been selected for The TV Book Club Summer List. I'm always a fan of dual time frame stories, although I would say the structure of this one takes a little getting used to with its alternating short chapters. But both stories are highly engaging, the modern one dealing with Dom and Eve and the mystery around the disappearance of his wife Rachel, and the earlier story (1920s on) of Benedicte, her blind perfumiere sister Marthe and her cruel and evil brother Pierre. This is a book with a wonderful sense of place - the hamlet of Les Genevriers lives and breathes, and I'd highly recommend a look at the actual setting in the YouTube video - although the author's descriptions are so vivid you feel you've seen it already. This book is an absolute feast for the senses, particularly the sense of smell , and Provence is magnificently present throughout its pages. There's also a real sense of magic and mystery, and a touch of the supernatural. An enthralling read, and I loved it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Slow and a little long winded at first but does warm up, 20 Nov. 2012
By 
C. Frost "Charlie Frost" (Sheffield, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Lantern (Paperback)
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I must admit I struggled to get into this. I love books in this genre, but I felt it was slow to start. As other readers have commented, there are lots of long detailed descriptions about flowers and such, which did not grab my attention. It is a good story though once you get into it, definitely worth a read.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Didn't quite realize its potential, 15 Oct. 2014
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This review is from: The Lantern (Kindle Edition)
When Eve meets enigmatic but somewhat mysterious Dom, she becomes completely swept up in their love affair, leaving behind her old life with hardly a second's thought as she agrees to move to France with him. Here they set up home at Les Genevriers, a rambling old property in Provence that seems to be filled with echoes of the past. However, its not long before Eve starts to question just how well she knows the man she has fallen in love with; in particular she becomes increasingly obsessed to find out the truth about his ex-wife Rachel, whom he refuses to speak about and who looms between them almost like a spectre. Interspersed with Eve's story, is that of Benedicte Lincel, a previous occupier of Les Genevriers; living in the house on her own in her later years, Benedicte becomes increasingly disturbed by 'visitors' from the past, old secrets re-emerging to haunt her.

The Lantern is essentially two stories entwined together, the link between the two being Les Genevriers; the neglected old house as central a character as any other in the book, together with the entire setting of the Luberon Valley. Indeed much of the appeal of the book is the wonderfully descriptive prose that speaks to all the senses, the landscape quite brilliantly captured through all the changing seasons; sights, sounds, smells all completely brought to life and almost tangible. The power of smell in particular is important in the story, one of the characters a famous parfumier; and Lawrenson's depictions of some of the different fragrances are simply stunning.

The modern day story of Eve and Dom is an obvious re-working of Du Maurier's Rebecca; and certainly Lawrenson captures that same air of mystery and foreboding. Dom's ex-wife, Rachel, though not physically present, looms large in the story; the truth of what happened to her tormenting Eve, who becomes increasingly unsettled by the sensation of a strange presence in the house and odd happenings. The past story of the Lincel family is a tragic one, and a bit like Eve, an old Benedicte is haunted by the happenings around her. The sense of quiet menace builds throughout the story as secrets slowly begin to emerge; and I thought Lawrenson manipulates both stories well in hinting at the supernatural, whilst at the same time providing logical explanations, teasing at the power of illusion and the boundaries between fact and fiction.

Whilst there was plenty to enjoy in this book, overall I thought it rather dragged, the pace very slow with often not much happening at all, but rather the same thought processes being outlined again and again; such that towards the latter third I found myself skim reading to a certain extent as I simply wanted to discover the truth. Also I found myself somewhat disappointed at the conclusion of the Lincels' story, with the truth of what happened a little too obvious given that one of the characters had already been painstakingly painted as an out and out villain, whilst at the same time Marthe was never fleshed out enough for me to really connect with as a reader.

Overall though rich in style, I felt the story was too stretched out to sustain enough interest throughout and as such ultimately slightly a let down. Although there were plenty of interesting ideas, the connections between them seemed at times flimsy and the book overall a little insubstantial.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Lantern - Sensory Aromas - A delight, 5 Jun. 2011
By 
Alessi Lover "C.A.D." (Knightley UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Lantern (Paperback)
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Really did think that after reading the blurb it would be a book about 'a run down house abroad, old and having lots of mysterious rooms, that with a husband whose first wife had disappeared thrown in, well sounds alot like your average haunted house tale. You read so many of them, that sometimes they can become a bit of the sameness.

No, I got a lot more than bargained for!

A cleverly written book that kept me guessing what had happened to Dom's first wife.

The begining is a sensory overload of aromas, from rosemary, thyme, fig trees and almonds, Deborah Lawrenson writes in such a way that you can almost smell the whole scene. The reasoning behind this becomes clear to the reader after reading a few chapters in. No spoilers in this one at all, you will see what I mean when you start to read the book.

A modern tale of a empty house that has seen some life and one that draws you to it..... it did for Dom and his first wife .... What will become of Eve? .... Remember though that the past is not always in the past.

The Lantern the title did make me wonder why? After reading it, it all became clear.

The ending of the book, well I didn't see it at all, which to me made it even better.

Now looking at a previous book 'The Art of Falling' by the same author
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Evocative, haunting, fragrant and beautiful - a great summer read, 25 Aug. 2011
By 
EllyBlue (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Lantern (Paperback)
This is a wonderful novel to take on holiday, to France or anywhere else. Combining two stories, one in the past, one in the present, the connection is an old house, Les Genevriers. In the present, it has new occupants, Dom and Eve, who have moved to France to start a new life. The relationship between them is new, and the mood of menace gradually increases as the seasons change and Eve wonders about Dom's past. The story from the past tells the story of the three people who grew up and lived at Les Genevriers, Benedicte, her sister Marthe and brother Pierre. In the past too there are dark secrets and sadnesses which are gradually unravelled. There is enough plot in both strands of the story to drive the narrative along, but it is the language and atmosphere that really makes this a superb read. Lawrenson evokes the sights, and very importantly fragrances of the Luberon region of France superbly well. It isn't all picturesque and summer though. Lawrenson manipulates the feeling of the book superbly well to build up a real sense of menace and hints of the supernatural. The culmination of the book is satisfying without being trite, and I thoroughly recommend this as an excellent, evocative read with a superb sense of place.
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42 of 51 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy read, 22 Jun. 2011
By 
A.M.Boughey "Poetmaster" (Rochester, MN) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Lantern (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The lantern pitches itself as a modern Gothic novel, centered around the Luberon region of France and more specifically a run down parochial village.
I've actually visited this picture postcard area of France, and Ms Lawrenson captures it beautifully in this story. It's the kind of area that people who've never visited the country expect everywhere to look, in a perfectly harmless but romantic and naive kind of way.
The story centers around a young girl from the aforementioned tiny town, and her a mysterious beau who captivates her heart and mind, in standard romantic fiction fashion. The story has been compared to Daphne Du Mauriers Rebecca in this way, but the story unfolds in many different directions, making it stand on it's own merits.
As the author herself admits "Along the way it became a novel about perfume and blindness and the past life of houses, and also about books, reading and the imagination"

Nothing bad to say about this book at all really, it's not going to overwhelm or surprise anyone, and will fit perfectly for the easy reader, or those who like some harmless escapism on the beach, or on a traveling vacation to fill the down time. 4 stars
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3.0 out of 5 stars HIGHLY DESCRIPTIVE - LACKING CHARACTERIZATION, 17 Nov. 2014
This review is from: The Lantern (Paperback)
The Lantern by Deborah Lawrenson, was a TV Book Club 2011 Summer Read recommendation.

Eve, throughout the story she is known by this name however the reader is informed that this name was given by her partner Dom.
Eve & Dom have a whirlwind romance and purchase a run-down farm house in Provence. There are mysteries surrounding the house and the previous owners. Also Dom becomes increasingly distant and secretive and as their relationship deteriorates Eve goes in search to uncover secrets of the past.
The novel takes the reader along a parallel story line about Benedicte and her family, previous owners of the farmhouse decades earlier however both tales become entwined.

In my opinion this novel is over descriptive and lacked characterisation of the three protagonists.
The story has been likened to the Rebecca, by Daphne Du Maurier, however I felt ‘The Lantern’ did not achieve the ‘menace & suspense’ I would have expected.
I found this book ‘a difficult read’ as it did not hold my attention, was slow moving and I didn’t care too much about the characters within it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful tale with spirit and an air of mystery and romance in Provence!, 2 Sept. 2011
This review is from: The Lantern (Paperback)
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 Dom....is 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.
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The Lantern
The Lantern by Deborah Lawrenson (Paperback - 23 Jun. 2011)
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