Monday, October 24, 2011

The Lantern Group Read - Finis!

Today is the final installment of The Lantern group read for RIP VI. I skipped last week as my brain was fried and I was afraid of giving things away. Today I'm onboard, though.

Thanks so much to Carl, Kelly, and Heather for coming up with the questions!!!

Potential spoilers ahead!!!

1. Now that it's all said and done; what did you think of the book? Did you see the ending coming?

I liked it! I had parts of the ending figured out.. I don't think Lawrenson's intention was to really trick her audience about what was coming. Given Pierre's character, I don't think it's any surprise that he might've done something terrible. Dom's role in Rachel's demise was a little more surprising. I did not see her illness coming, and I did not see his part in ahead of time. That's the one part of the book that REALLY gave me shivers. What guilt to live with!  I actually thought Rachel got off the hook quite easily. I expected her to be a bit more, oh, psycho! Thought he might've pushed her off a cliff by accident or something.

2. What do you think of the characters? Lawrenson took us on a twisty little ride there, I had trouble deciding who was good and who wasn't for a while there! What do you think of Dom? Of Sabine? Rachel?

One of the things Lawrenson does very well is cast doubt over her characters and walk the line between trustworthy or not, truth and lies, good and evil. Her characters are unreliable, conflicted, and I didn't really trust anyone outside of Benedicte and Eve. I even had my reservations about those two in some way or another. Benedicte's mental state was in question, compounded with her failing eyesight. Eve was paranoid and alone. So, yeah, I didn't trust anyone at various points in the novel.

Sabine was unimpressive overall. I found her a very wooden, stock character. Probably my least fave of everyone.

3. Pierre was such a conflicted character. In the end, do you think he killed Marthe and Annette, or did the fall to their deaths because of their blindness?

He totally killed them. I didn't really see him as conflicted. I saw him as a sociopathic asshole. Harsh?

4. The book is being compared to Rebecca and Daphne du Maurier's writing. Do you think the book lives up to that description?

No idea. I haven't read Rebecca. I know! I know! I will. Pinky swear.

5. Did you have any problems with the book? Narration? Plot? The back and forth between two different characters and times?

I didn't really have any problems with the book. I liked the narration, I liked the plot, but now that I've been done with it for several weeks, I have a hard time remembering specifics. I can remember the specifics if I think about it for a few minutes (like writing this post). I'm not sure it'll be memorable in the long run, but it was a good read in the short run.

6. Do you think Lawrenson tied both stories together well in the end? Is there anything she could/should have done differently?

Boring answer: I was satisfied. No changes necessary. :)

7. One problem I had with the novel is the reliability of the narrators. Do you think any of them were telling the truth? Which ones?

I kinda skipped ahead on this one and addressed this issue earlier!  I think they were both unreliable in their own ways. I don't think they were deceitful or had any specific agendas, but I think the forces at work in their lives -- health issues, mental stability, stress -- exerted influence that could make them unreliable. I kinda like that about Benedicte and Eve. It made them interesting, mysterious, and multifaceted.


  1. Hell yeah about Pierre. That was the one thing I could see coming from a mile away.

  2. Now of all the people participating in the group discussion, I would never have guessed that you haven't read Rebecca. You need to do more than pinky swear, I think blood needs to be shed and contracts need to be signed!!! :)

    I couldn't agree more with your statement that "I don't think it was Lawrenson's intention to really trick her audience". I think that is dead on, particularly because she patterned the book after Rebecca and so anyone who had read that book would have some expectations as to how things were going to go. Sure, she threw in some obligatory red herrings but I think more of those were there to cast suspicion on secondary characters than they were to trick the readers regarding the main characters.

    I didn't see the whole illness/euthanasia thing coming nor did I see the medical explanation for Benedicte and I loved both of those.

    Lawrenson's characters are intentionally unreliable which adds to the whole atmosphere the story is trying to create. And even when all is said and done it is legitimate to question if we were really shown the whole truth. I like that. I enjoyed the happy ending but also enjoyed the shadow that lingered later on.

    Sabine is a character who made more of an impact for me simply because I knew the character from Rebecca that she was representing. In that sense I am reading more into her character than Lawrenson gave us and she could have done a much better job fleshing out Sabine. She could have been a more richly drawn character.

    Unlike Rebecca, this isn't a novel that is going to wow readers for generations, but it is a delightful gothic novel that was a perfect read for this time of year and one I would recommend.

  3. I thought that Rachel was pretty psycho. I mean, faking a pregnancy to manipulate a guy who left you after you cheated on him repetitively isn't normal behavior, lol.

  4. Armchair psychologist here, but I totally agree that Pierre and Rachel both had some mental issues. And no, I don't think you're being too harsh on Pierre at all.

  5. I'm with you all the way, Kate. Keep those airchair diagnoses coming.

  6. Dude, I couldn't read your answers since I got all swept up in Salem's Lot this past week and posted my review on it today. Now I need to get back to reading The Lantern so I can write my thoughts as well about it (well after the fact, of course...!) :)

  7. I saw other reviews of this book before but they didn't really pipped my interest, until I read this post! Though, I didn't read some of your answers because I didn't want spoilers. I haven't read Rebecca either - I had no idea it was a mystery book... I thought it was a romance or something.

  8. I was expecting Dom to have done something dark and horrible, too. Something worse than what he ended up doing anyway. I didn't like him at all, but I guess I could see by the end why he was always so silent and so distressed all through the story. If you enjoyed this, you really do have to read Rebecca--it's one of my favorite novels!

  9. I agree. Some things were a bit predictable, but there were still a couple surprises. I suppose for me one of the surprises is the mercy killing method of Rachel dying. That surprised me!

  10. I don't think you can be too harsh on Pierre! I mean, come on, the kid is CLEARLY a sociopath (I've watched enough Criminal Minds to know that torturing animals = bad news) and I just don't think there can be any doubt that he murdered those two women.

    I loved the writing and the descriptions that make this story so much like Rebecca (which, I agree, you simply MUST read!), but the plot got wrapped up far too nicely - and far too quickly - for me to give the book a blanket 'I loved it'. I needed more mystery, a few more questions left unanswered - and for Dom to not be an indomitable twit. I almost wish that the main story we would have been given was Benedicte's, with Eve's story coming in the background. It was her story, her family, and her history I was most drawn to.

    So glad to have been able to do this read-a-long with all you wonderful folks, and I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed hearing your thoughts!

  11. I abhorred Sabine. She was shady and a little worthless in this story. Never trusted her. Still don't trust Dom's tale at all!

    You. Must. Read. Rebecca.


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