Friday, April 6, 2012

Literary Friday: The Lantern

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This week, I read The Lantern by Deborah Lawrenson.  The story reminds me of Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, but instead of a Cornish setting, The Lantern is set in Provence.

The Lantern is a feast for the senses.  In her acknowledgements, Lawrenson said her idea for the story about a blind perfumer came from from the French cosmetic comapany L'Occitane en Provence.  The company's products have strips of Braille on their packaging because in 1997, the company started a foundation, Provence Dans Tous les Sens (All the Senses of Provence), to introduce children to perfume creation.  The blind perfumer's storyline is one of two in the book. It is set before, during, and a few years after World War II. Marthe Lincel, the perfumer, is a secondary character to her sister, Benedicte, who tells the story of their family from her point of view.

Parallel to Marthe and Benedict's tale is Eve and Dom's love story, which is set in the present. Eve and Dom have bought Les Genevriers, an abandoned hamlet with a large house and several small cottages and out buildings.  The hamlet is surrounded by the beauty of Provence, including lavender fields and orchards.  Les Genevriers is also the Lincel's family home.  The parallel gothic stories are creepy, and I appreciate how expertly Lawrenson weaves the plots together.  Both plots build, and the suspense kept me completely engaged throughout the stories.

When Eve and Dom arrive at Les Genevriers, they are in love, happy and optimistic about pursuing their individual interests in their new home: Dom is interested in composing music, and Eve wants to collect and translate traditional Provencal folk tales into English.  But as winter approaches, odd happenings and doubt haunts Eve.  She realizes that she does not really know much about Dom, and she knows next to nothing about Dom's ex-wife, Rachel.  Ghosts, missing college co-eds, several mysteries, and skeletons found in Les Genevriers' garden threaten their already fragile relationship. Eve begins to doubt Dom's actions and motivations because he will not open-up to her; he is evasive, secretive, and distracted.  Before there is any hope for a future together, they must reconcile the past.

I enjoyed The Lantern, and could hardly put it down.  The hype surrounding this book is warranted, and Lawrenson's gorgeous descriptions of Provence will take your breath away.

Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill

6 comments:

  1. That seems like it was written for me to read and enjoy. Everything you mentioned intrigued me more and more. It is on my list now. I may have to find someplace to get it tomorrow.

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  2. Oh another intriguing sounding book to add to my list. I had made a New Year's resolution that I was just going to try to concentrate on my known author's new books this year and not start grabbing every new book or author that captured my attention. That didn't last long. I just looked at my hold list at the library and realized I needed to whittle down some of it and now I've just added this!

    Love L'Occitane brand by the way. Their stuff smells wonderful.
    Carole/(Stapes)

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  3. On my list, Ricki Jill.
    Have a blessed beautiful Easter
    TTFN ~
    Hugs,
    Marydon

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  4. I cannot wait to read this!! I can tell it will capture my interest immediately!

    xoxo
    Karena
    Art by Karena

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  5. The book sounds intriguing and the fact it is set in Provence makes it appealing to me. Provence, the south of France is my favorite region of France. This is on my book list after reading your review.
    Easter Blessings Ricki Jill.

    ~Emily
    The French Hutch

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