Archive for July, 2012

The Lantern – A gripping gothic novel or a boring predictable flop?

When Eve and Dom fall in love their whirlwind romance leads them to purchase an abandoned house in a rural hamlet in the south of France. As the renovations begin, a grim discovery in the garden pushes their relationship and secrets begin to unfold.

Intertwined within Eve’s story is also the story of Benedicte Lincel: a young girl who lived in the house decades before. Between the two stories of both past and present we begin to piece together the terrible history that lies within the brickwork of this run-down old house.

It took me a while to get into this book but once I got started I couldn’t put it down. Engrossed by the two stories of both Eve and Benedicte I found myself dying to find out just what happened next. This was a very easy read and I found myself turning page after page completely immersed in this captivating story and couldn’t wait to see what the rest of the book group thought about my excellent choice of book for the month.

As we all sat for our meeting I felt that I would burst if I didn’t say my bit first so I rattled on about the novel being filled with love, loss, deceit, deception, murder and how it was a fantastic gothic ghost story that I couldn’t put down. After my cheery introduction and enthusiasm I was immediately kicked to the floor and verbally beaten! My cheeriness had apparently clouded my vision and I was unable to see what a dreary, boring read it was.

Oh dear . . .

BUT, this is what I love about group discussions. We all have different opinions and discussing them in a group makes for interesting conversation. Pretty much everyone else found the novel to be predictable, slow and didn’t really have enough in it to keep them interested. The characters were very hard to relate to and had very little personality. The love aspect of the story was very average and the grim discovery in the garden was a little on the predictable side. One thing we did agree on was that Benedicte’s narration was more enjoyable than Eve’s (I’m really stretching that word enjoyable here!) and there were more interesting events happening to keep you engaged.

In the end I had to admit that for unknown reasons I did indeed enjoy the novel and I stick with my opinion. Yes it was a little boring in parts but I was so engrossed with Benedicte’s story that this did make up for the weak areas in Eve’s chapters. The rest of the group won’t be rushing to the shops in search of the sequel but hey, we had a good discussion!

Our next meeting is now in September and the book we are reading is The Music Room by William Fiennes. I have actually read it already and hope that we will have some interesting conversations arising from our meeting.

See you all in September!


About the group

The Tees Valley Book Group meets at Stockton Central Library at 6.30pm on the first Tuesday of the month.

If you would like more information about what the group is reading, please visit www.newwritingnorth.com/submit/join-tees-valley-book-group.

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