Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Lantern (2011)

The LanternThe Lantern by Deborah Lawrenson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

References to Daphne DuMaurier's Rebecca are made when writing about The Lantern by Deborah Lawrenson. That is a powerful hook. And this is a lovely book. The writing is charming and the author captures the sights, sounds, and fragrances of Provence.

"Do photographs and memories complement each other, or do photographs inevitably prove more dominant, ultimately taking the place of the true memory?" Such are the kind of thoughts our narrator ponders as she seeks to learn the truth behind her husband's first wife, the talented and beautiful Rachel.

The past and present of the abandoned house where Eve and Dom settle are woven together in short chapters with the thoughts of a previous tenant Benedicte. The author also comments on her blog that in addition to being an homage to DuMaurier "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."

Unfortunately I had to drag myself through this book. I'm not sure why. Maybe I've read too many books recently that jump back and forth from past to present. There were things that led me to expect a slightly different resolution at the end. More mysterious and gothic. It was not to be.

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