The Lantern by Deborah Lawrenson

Published by Orion

The TV Book Club 2011 Summer Read: Book 1.

As excited as I was to find that in the eight chosen books for this Summer’s TV Book Club were titles by crime favourites Dennis Lehane and Camilla Lackberg, I was also determined to attempt to make this the year where I looked to broaden my reading and perhaps step carefully outside of crime fiction just every now and again.

I’ve never been a fan of the local book-club idea, but The TV Book Club (coupled with a bit of tweeting each week whilst watching the show) is okay by me.

If this first title of the series, The Lantern by Deborah Lawrenson, is anything to go by, then it could be shaping up to be a very good and varied selection indeed.

A bewitching novel of secrets, lost love, perfume and Provence

None of the above description comprises anything that would normally encourage me to pick up a book, I have to be honest, but the mention of secrets of the past and the fact that the key central character, which is an abandoned house in Provence, is about to reveal its hidden past and dark secrets on the rear of the book might have led me in for a few pages…

And, it’s just that few pages that the book needed, because by the time I was that far in, I wanted to be in that house, I wanted to experience all the things that Eve and Dom experience when they move there, the light, the views and the smells.

It’s a novel with a dual narrative, slowly unleashing its secrets in alternate chapters, building on the mystery as it reveals other parts.  I found it a similar read to a great surprise read of mine from last year (Time’s Legacy by Barbara Erskine) in the way that the history and present clash together to form such an intriguing and interesting tale.

And, as a crime and mystery fan, I shouldn’t have been in any way perturbed from reading this.  Although it deals with the mystery of the disappearance of Don’s first wife, there is also a story running alongside the main narrative of the disappearance of a group of young girls too, which somehow seems connected to the house.

Add to that the fact that some of what appears to be going on seems to be being caused by the ghosts of the house’s past, and I was hooked.

It’s unlikely I’ll get outside of England this year for a holiday, so in the meantime, the few days I spent reading and dreaming of living in Provence will do very nicely thank you.

Keith

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