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The lantern : a novel
Deborah Lawrenson
Adult Fiction LAWRENS

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Dom, an erudite English musician, and an aspiring translator he calls "Eve" meet in a maze, fall in love, and decamp to Les Genevriers (the Junipers), a hamlet in Provence, at the start of Lawrenson's extravagant new novel. Eve is immediately intrigued by the misnamed French house, constructed in 1887; "there is only one low-spreading juniper, hardly noble enough to warrant such recognition." Les Genevriers is rich with antiques and hidden rooms, and also seems to be haunted. Eve is distressed when Dom refuses to talk about his ex-wife, who has gone missing, and becomes increasingly determined to investigate the disappearance. As summer slides into fall, a new narrative gracefully emerges with the discovery of audio recordings made by Benedicte Lincel, a resident of Les Genevriers in the early 20th century. The recordings reveal a woman haunted by past tragedies and further deepen the mystery of the house. Lawrenson expertly manages suspense and intrigue throughout and breathes great, detailed life into her lush French countryside setting, making one wonder why this, her sixth novel, is the first to be published in the U.S. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

Eve and her boyfriend, Dom, have moved into a country house in Provence that they are renovating. Life is idyllic, except that Dom refuses to speak about his ex-wife, Rachel. As a result, Eve becomes completely obsessed with Rachel. At some point in the past, Benedicte lived in that same run-down house, where she grew up with her blind sister, Marthe, and her wicked brother, Pierre. Benedicte reflects upon her life and wonders why Marthe stopped speaking to her. In fact, Marthe seems to have disappeared altogether while in the middle of a brilliant career as a perfume designer. What could have happened and how does it affect Eve in the present day? VERDICT British writer Lawrenson, making her U.S. debut, alternates viewpoints between the past and the present at a dizzying speed. Her sumptuous descriptions of the charming French countryside and the intricacies of perfume making do not compensate for a lackluster plot and minimal character development. Readers wanting a truly gothic tale of suspense and romance are better off rereading Daphne du Maurier or Mary Stewart. [See Prepub Alert, 3/14/11.]-Laurel Bliss, San Diego State Univ. Lib. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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