Book Review of The Lantern by Deborah Lawrenson

Posted September 15, 2011 by Kara in Uncategorized / 1 Comment

Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: August 9th, 2011
Pages: 400
Genre: Adult Fiction, Contemporary

The LanternThe Lantern by Deborah Lawrenson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Goodreads Summary:

When Eve falls for the secretive, charming Dom, their whirlwind relationship leads them to purchase Les Genevriers, an abandoned house in a rural hamlet in the south of France. As the beautiful Provence summer turns to autumn, Eve finds it impossible to ignore the mysteries that haunt both her lover and the run-down old house, in particular the mysterious disappearance of his beautiful first wife, Rachel. Whilst Eve tries to untangle the secrets surrounding Rachel’s last recorded days, Les Genevriers itself seems to come alive. As strange events begin to occur with frightening regularity, Eve’s voice becomes intertwined with that of Benedicte Lincel, a girl who lived in the house decades before. As the tangled skeins of the house’s history begin to unravel, the tension grows between Dom and Eve. In a page-turning race, Eve must fight to discover the fates of both Benedicte and Rachel, before Les Genevriers’ dark history has a chance to repeat itself.


It’s happened again. A book I was really looking forward to reading turned out to be not what I expected. Honestly, I didn’t like it. I wish I had though. I had such high expectations for The Lantern. The synopsis sounds exactly like something that would be right up my alley. And I think it would’ve. If it had been written differently.

Some authors have a fantastic way with words and creating a wonderful sense of place. Some writers can make you smell the smells and feel the feelings of the characters just with their words. Some authors are kick-*ss at creating wonderful imagery and making their readers feel like they are there inside the book. Deborah Lawrenson is definitely one of those authors. But Deborah Lawrenson also doesn’t know what “going too far” means. You can overdo it. And she overdid it in a big way. This has to be seriously one of the wordiest books I have ever read. Talk about purple prose. I like a lot of description in my reading and this even went too far for me.

There was a great story to be had here. Somewhere. Unfortunately it was buried underneath all the wordiness and I can’t even remember major plot points. I really liked the setting and the manor. And the ghosts. And I would have loved the writing style if it had not gone overboard. She’s still a beautiful writer though. I just hope she knows next time when to stop.

Oh, also? Kitten torture scene completely unnecessary. Yes. There is a kitten torture/murder scene. If that bothers you, skip it. Although it goes by quickly and you can totally see it coming, it is particularly gruesome.

Three stars for gorgeous writing and an amazing sense of place. And I kind of feel like I’m being generous with these three stars. But I have to reward gorgeous writing. Because it is so hard to do. And I really appreciate the attempt, even if it went too far in my opinion.

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