Monday, October 10, 2011

The Lantern Group Read, Post #1

I couldn't help myself and finished the book already, but I have wanted to participate in this group read ever since Carl first announced RIP VI. I'm purposely being vague about the early pages because I most certainly do not want to give anything away for all of you.

1. This may seem like an obvious opening question, but what do you think of The Lantern thus far?

I liked The Lantern right off the bat. Like so many books I've read lately and for RIP VI so far, it unfolded very slowly. I always felt that Deborah Lawrenson had something very special in mind for me as I was reading. I loved learning about the estate and the countryside surrounding it.

2. The book appears to be following the experiences of two different women, alternating back and forth between their stories. Are you more fond of our main protagonist's story or of Benedicte's or are you enjoying them both equally?

For much of the book I enjoyed "Eve's" portion of the book more. I was captivated by her experiences for several reasons, but probably because I felt her whisk-away type of relationship with Dom had something in store from the beginning. On the flipside, I enjoyed Benedicte's story more as the book progressed. The sense of history and "old fashionedness" was appealing to me.

3. The Lantern is a book filled with descriptions of scents. How are you liking (or disliking) that aspect of the book? How do you feel about the lavish description of scents? How are the short chapters working for you?

LOVE the description of scents. I really loved her descriptions of everything. I really felt I got a handle on the area the book was set from reading her descriptions. I went into this book expecting more of a Gothic type novel in the Sarah Waters vein, but the setting really broke that expectation up for me a bit. The sunny, French countryside wasn't as ominous as I was expecting.

4. How would you describe the atmosphere of Parts 1 and 2 of The Lantern?

Progressively creepier.

5. Has anything surprised you to this point? Anything stand out?

I was just looking back through the sections and was reminded of several particulars that struck me throughout these two sections. I was totally captivated by Benedicte's seeing the ghosts in her house. Who wouldn't like that? Pierre's spirit in the space became progressively more disturbing as we learn more background about him. I was appalled by his actions on several occasions (the kitten, the gun) and was truly rooting for him to go away! 

Eve is maddeningly accepting of Dom's secrecy and moods throughout the first two sections. It wasn't maddening to an unbelievable degree, or I believe it would've affect my feelings about the book. I thought she was a believable young woman taking the plunge into her first serious, powerful relationship. She has a very real and unfortunate tendency to second-guess her instincts.

6. What are your feelings about Dom in these first two sections of the story?

Weird jerk!

Bonus question: Did anyone else hear "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again" ringing in their ears through the first sections of the book?

Yeah, I have a confession. I haven't read Rebecca, but I want to read it all the more now!


  1. I had meant to participate in this readalong but, like you, I finished the book ASAP, so I decided to forgo it.

  2. WHAT? You haven't read Rebecca yet? I am so sorry, I have failed you. I thoguht I had told you to read that already.

    Go on, get on that already. You're in the perfect place to read it, I think.

    I haven't quite finished Part 2 yet, but I am enjoying this book immensely!

  3. I like your assessment of Eve being "maddeningly accepting" of Dom's secretive nature. It made me sort of want to smack her upside the head and say, "ask some questions! and don't move to a foreign country with a stranger!" :)

  4. I agree with Kate - "maddeningly" is the perfect word for what Eve is where her relationship to Dom is concerned. There were so many times I just wanted to grab her by the shoulders and yell "Demand some answers or get out!!!". Maybe that's a little harsh, but I can't women who don't seem to be...proactive.

    Glad that you loved the scents - I'm loving them too! Nothing evokes memory more than scent, and this book sure does have a lot of memories to evoke! Can't wait to see what you'll have to say next week (especially as someone else who has already finished the book and is dying to discuss some of it's more...juicy aspects!)
    - Chelsea

  5. You have to read Rebecca. I loved that book! I just recently watched the Alfred Hitchcock movie. It is available on YouTube.

  6. I was good and only read the first two parts before answering the questions but now, before commenting, I've already read the next two and so I can't remember what I can talk about and what I can't! I'm sure I'll just finish it tonight too because I can't wait to find out what happens. Benedicte's story already seems partly wrapped up but Eve's is still totally in the air!

    And I second Heather -- get to Rebecca asap! You won't regret it.

  7. I've been doing good at not forging on ahead, but I am honest enough with myself to know that is simply because I'm group reading three books right now. If I had just picked this up to read on my own I would have torn through it already, LOL!

    I like that it is a slow building book. That is part of what I look for in books and in films that have this moody atmosphere. I think it works in the story's favor.

    I like your assessment of Eve in these early days of the relationship. I don't quite see Dom in at least the early part of the book as as big a jerk as others do. I don't feel the need to cut him a lot of slack, but I am thinking that we are a) only seeing him from Eve's point of view and b) it doesn't seem wildly implausible that a man or woman in the early throes of such a wildly romantic relationship would be reluctant to the point of rudeness to share things with the other that would potentially damage this almost too-good-to-be-true relationship. That is the same thing Eve is doing in her reluctance to push too hard for answers early on. They are both being foolish, but who hasn't been foolish in love at some point.

  8. Oh, and you so need to read Rebecca!

  9. I have just finished the second section and with only 80 pages left think I might now have to race to the end! I'm wondering, too, what the twist will be--surely she has something up her sleeves. It might be a good thing that you hadn't read Rebecca yet (and I also highly recommend it). It's interesting to see which elements of Rebecca she uses--this really does seem like a retelling of the story, though she has created a very different story still. Doesn't Provence sound lovely? (Even with the ghosts).

  10. Sabine is starting to really annoy me. I mean, why can't she just spit out to Eve whatever it is she is trying to figure out?

    You really, really, really must read Rebecca. I promise, it is a quick read and you will love it.


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