This week is the final installment of the readalong of Deborah Lawrenson’s “The Lantern,” hosted by Carl from Stainless Steel Droppings as a part of the R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril Challenge.
This week’s questions were written by Heather.
From this point onward, there will be spoilers. I’ll post a spoiler-free review later in the week for anyone who hasn’t been reading along.
1. Now that it’s all said and done; what did you think of the book? Did you see the ending coming?
So last week, when Dom mentioned that Rachel had cancer, I speculated that there was a euthanasia situation. I wanted to like Dom, and was hoping that whatever it was that he did was morally questionable rather than flat-out evil. I was excited when I found out that I had guessed it!
Overall, I enjoyed this book a lot. It was a bit lighter and more flowery than what I normally read, but the gothic feel and descriptions of Provence made the novel. It was far better than I expected.
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?
I’ve got some choice words to describe Rachel that I’m not going to post her. She’s a little *expletives deleted.* There are some things you just don’t do, and telling a guy you’re pregnant in order to manipulate him is one of them.
I’ve liked Dom throughout the novel. Yes, he’s a wee bit angsty, but given that he put up with Rachel for so long, I can understand why he’s emotionally a wreck.
Sabine’s a neighborly busybody who is at the same time very naive. If Rachel would have leveled with her instead of telling her fabricated stories or distortions of reality, then I don’t think she would have been so secretive throughout the book.
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. After what he did to Annette, he probably didn’t want her to tell anyone. If I saw what happened, he saw Marthe sitting there and a little push was all it took to get rid of her, then dealt with Annette. I could have believed their deaths to be accidental, except for the fact that he was there when they disappeared and he lied about Marthe being alive in order to get even with Benedicte.
4. The book is being compared to Rebecca and Daphne du Maurier’s writing. Do you think the book lives up to that description?
I haven’t read “Rebecca,” so I have no comment on this one.
5. Did you have any problems with the book? Narration? Plot? The back and forth between two different characters and times?
I’m going to answer this one with the next question.
6. Do you think Lawrenson tied both stories together well in the end? Is there anything she could/should have done differently?
The only real problem that I had with this story is that there was no obvious way to tell who was speaking. Lawrenson should have either italicized Benedicte’s segments or titled each chapter with the name of the narrator. Either one would have made it much easier for the reader to picture who is speaking at any given time. Aside from that, I liked the two narrators, and I love the way that the stories all tied themselves together in the end.
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 think the fact that each of our narrators had a limited perspective made the story more believable, and it was nice to think of each of the characters as having their own motivations and limitations. I liked how we learned that Benedicte’s ghosts were a product of her limited sight, but at the same time Eve experiences Benedicte’s ghost flipping through an old childhood book.
The one other thing that I’d like to mention is that I enjoyed the fact that there was no serial killer, but rather a lot of unrelated events that we assumed were tied together. It’s a giant red herring, and I appreciated it. I’m glad that Dom didn’t end up being completely evil or psychotic, but instead very human.
Thanks for reading! Be sure to check out everyone else’s blog posts and responses!