So I said I was going to participate in Carl’s readalong for The Lantern. I didn’t even want to read the book initially, but all the rave reviews made me curious and I thought joining in with that would be fun. Then I started the book. And I couldn’t stop, reading schedule be damned.
“Eve” is our nameless narrator. She and Dom have started dating pretty recently and have moved into a home together in Provence, a French hamlet where the lush landscape hides many secrets. Eve begins to realize though that she knows next to nothing about Dom. He has a failed marriage under his belt that he refuses to talk about and Eve has the feeling that there is something about his ex Rachel that he is hiding.
Meanwhile, there is a dual narrative going on with an older woman named Benedicte who grew up on the property where Eve and Dom now live. Benedicte had a troubling childhood. Her brother Pierre was a satanist and masochist. For those of you who have read The Lantern already, I will just mention that the scene with the kitten really troubled me. Anyway, Benedicte’s parents ignore Pierre’s troubling behavior, and he gets worse and worse. Their sister is blind and travels to Paris where she becomes a famous perfumer, which also plays into the novel as scents and the emotions they evoke play a large part in the novel.
If I could choose one word to describe The Lantern, it would be atmospheric. I fell in love with the south of France and the crumbling mansion that Dom and Eve purchased. The gothic tone was perfect and the mystery surrounding Dom, and later on the property, definitely had a creepy feel.
The only thing that bugged me about The Lantern was Eve. She was so meek and such a pushover. There was no reason for her not to know Dom’s past (except for the fact that it would have made the book less interesting!) and I just kept imagining myself in her position. I would have demanded answers instead of letting Dom brush everything off. The idea of living with someone when you know nothing about them is just something I don’t understand.
As for comparing The Lantern to Rebecca, that may be what had me so scared in the first place. Rebecca is a masterpiece and probably the best gothic mystery I have ever read, so the comparison freaked me out because I figured there was no way The Lantern could hold a candle to it. I am happy to say that while Rebecca was certainly an inspiration to this book, it is great in its own right.
I read this book for RIP and it was absolutely perfect for the challenge.
I purchased this book from Barnes & Noble.