Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Lantern-Deborah Lawrenson

The Lantern
Deborah Lawrenson
Harper, Aug 9 2011, $25.99
ISBN: 9780062049698

In Switzerland, Dom the English musician and Eve the translator meet in a maze; for both it is love at first sight. They move to Les Genévriers in Provence where they plan to renovate a country house constructed in 1887. The abode is loaded with seemingly valuable antiques and hidden rooms. However two things disturb Eve in the midst of her heavenly relationship with Dom. First calling this place Les Genévriers seems inane when there is only one juniper tree; the English translation of the French word. Second her beloved refuses to speak about his former wife Rachel who vanished.

As Eve wants to know the truth about Rachel, they find sad audio recordings made by former resident Bénédicte Lincel over five decades ago. Bénédicte talks about her blind sister Marthe the perfume designer who apparently vanished and about their cruel brother Pierre. Eve wonders about two females living several decades apart simply vanishing.

Rotating perspective between past and present, readers have a haunting gothic thriller using the beautiful French countryside and the creation of perfume as counterpoints to the growing fear of something bad about to occur. Although the cast in both eras are somewhat thin, readers will enjoy this suspenseful tale as Eve’s suspicion that she may not next grows.

Harriet Klausner

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