“The Lantern” Readalong, Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of “The Lantern” readalong!  This week’s segments held many surprises!

This readalong is part of the R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril Challenge (hosted by Carl from Stainless Steel Droppings).  Be sure to check out the other bloggers’ posts!

Questions for this week were written by Kailana.  The photograph to the left is by ladyofshalott, and I thought it suited the overall feel of the story rather well.

From this point on, there are likely to be spoilers from parts III & IV of the novel.  Next week’s questions will cover part V.  Enjoy!

1. The title of this book is The Lantern, and a lantern makes an appearance in both of the stories. In Benedicte’s past, it had a meaning, but what do you think the lantern signifies in her future and in Eve’s story?

To me, the appearance of the lantern ties together the two major storylines found in the novel.  For Benedicte, it meant the arrival of her former lover.  For Eve, it signified that all wasn’t as it seemed.  The lantern showed up around the same time as the bodies, so I’m thinking that it was a motif symbolizing the connection between the past and the present.  I’m curious as to whether Benedicte is still alive, and whether she will personally come into Eve’s life at some point in the next section.

2. Carl mentioned scents in last weeks questions, but they have been addressed even more in these sections. What significance do you think scents have in this story overall?

Seeing Marthe’s place in the story explored in greater depth gives an additional context to the descriptions of scents in the novel.  Because of her blindness, she is very perceptive in terms of scent, allowing her to become famous for her perfume formulas.  I think that Lawrenson’s use of scent as a part of her sensory descriptions adds a nice flavor to her descriptions of Provence, and lets us feel more of what Marthe does in addition to the other characters.

3. What do you think of the combining storyline of Marthe? She connects Benedicte, Eve, and Rachel. What do you think will be revealed about this connection in the next sections?

I’m betting that Pierre killed Marthe and Annette.  I see no other reason for their abrupt disappearance, and Rachel seemed to be close to discovering what happened to them.  I’m thinking there’s also a connection to the serial killer somewhere in there… could it be Pierre?  I could be completely off, but I don’t think it’s outside the realm of possibility.

4. Now that things are beginning to move along, what do you think of the characters? Are any standing out for you? Do you particularly like any? Dislike any?

I like Marthe’s character a lot.  Pierre… well, let’s just say that this segment cemented my animosity toward him.  Dom is becoming a bit more complex now that he’s admitted that Rachel’s dead.  I’m wondering if she really had cancer, and my suspicion is that he may have killed her in a euthanasia situation.  I’d be satisfied with that.  Again, I could be completely wrong…

5. What do you think really happened to Marthe and Annette? What do you think the significance of the bones in the pool are to the story? Especially now that it has been revealed that Rachel is also dead.

I’m pretty sure that Marthe and Annette are the bodies under the pool.  Pierre killed them while Benedicte left the farm.  It does make me wonder how he got the bones under there.  I’m hoping that Dom is telling the truth about Rachel, but I don’t think that either of the bodies belongs to her.

6. Do you have any other things you think are significant to talk about? Are there any other predictions to be made for the last two sections of the book?

I already predicted a few things for the rest of the book, with no guarantees as to their accuracy.  I really like the way that Lawrenson is able to connect the different storylines between past and present in order to tie her stories together.  I can’t wait to read the last section to see how everything comes together in the end.

7. Lastly, what do you think of this book overall? Other than for the read-along, why are you reading it? Is it meeting your expectations?

Overall, I’m loving it.   I’ve seen the title come up a lot recently, and was curious to see what it was about.  I’m glad that the focus is more gothic than romance, and that the novel is so complex while at the same time being filled with beautiful descriptions of Provence.  It’s far better than I expected.

Comments make me happy! Please feel free to leave a reply.

16 comments

  1. I’m wondering if Pierre is the serial killer too. Although wouldn’t he be fairly elderly at this stage? and so maybe not capable. I’m really looking forward to seeing where this all ends up.

    1. He would be old, but he emanates evil. I think that the serial killer is going to tie both stories together, I’m just hoping that it isn’t Dom!

  2. Pierre would be, like, eighty-something, so I’m thinking not him, but just this very second I came up with the theory that perhaps the present-day killer is Pierre’s kid? Or grandkid? That would be an interesting way to tie these stories together… and now I really have to stop imagining things!

  3. I like your predictions. Didn’t even think about euthanasia being a possibility. I am so programmed to distrust Dom at this point that I don’t know if I can trust the cancer story or not. I also don’t trust what has been revealed about Rachel, at least by Sabine. If this story follows Rebecca in any way, she has to have some dark secrets of her own. I guess we’ll see soon!

    I too think Pierre killed the two girls and that those bodies have to be them. Unless Benedicte did something awful and her memory is blocking it out to this point. But he is just so nasty that it seems highly likely it was him.

    Like what you had to say about the lantern. I find it particularly interesting that it inspires the title of the book because it is a small, but indeed significant, part of the story thus far. If Lawrenson can be accused of overdone scent descriptions (and I don’t accuse her because I think they are just right) she cannot be accused of focusing too heavily on any one plot point or moment in the story. The lantern is barely mentioned in comparison to other things but it hold such meaning and it really is interesting how it is intersecting these two stories.

    So loving reading this in general, but especially with all of you.

    1. I don’t know what I think of the cancer story quite yet, but given what Sabine said, a euthanasia story would make sense. Of course, part of the reason I thought of it is that I really don’t want Dom to have done something truly awful, and would prefer to believe him capable of something morally ambiguous.

      I’m pretty sure that it was Pierre that killed Martha and Annette, but thinking back on it, I wonder if maybe Benedicte did something to retaliate once she found out. Thinking back on it, Pierre wouldn’t be able to be the killer, because Benedicte was alive and seeing his ghost, and Marthe’s… maybe she killed Pierre?

    1. Most of my theories are ridiculous, but I’m curious to see if any of them are correct.

      As far as Pierre goes, I’m hoping he gets what he deserves before the book ends.

  4. I’m not quite done with this section, but it sounds like things start to get really good pretty soon! It could use a little action at this point. (they JUST found the first body under the pool)

    Great theories!

  5. The feel is more gothic, I gare but the device, the not talking about something that happened in the past strikes me as the no1 romance recipe. Do they not corcle around each others for 200-300 pages in romances just because they cannot talk about what’s bothering them? It’s the main reason why I don’t do well with romance.
    I did like the descrptions of the scents and Marthe’s story a lot. I had a problem with other descriptions.
    I like the photo you chose for your post. It is lovely.
    I always thought that Pierre is dead, it never occurred to me he could have murdered the girls or Rachel.
    I really like Marth’e and Bénédicte’s stories best.

    1. I do wish that they would have been a bit more open with each other, but after reading to the end, I can kind of excuse him a bit. 😛

      Normally I don’t do so well with romances because the girls are airheaded and don’t seem to have brains, and the sex scenes are incredibly awkward. Here at least Eve is well-versed in literature and somewhat independent, despite her questionable choices regarding relationships, and the sex scenes are alluded to rather than spelled out with ridiculous euphemisms.

      Thanks on the photo. I found it and thought it captured the feel of the story rather well. I was originally looking for a lantern, but this seemed nice, especially with the descriptions of scents.

      Marthe is such a neat character. I love how she used her obstacles to her advantage in her career choice. Her story was fascinating.

      1. I suppose it depends on which romances you’re reading! 🙂 (To be honest, I read plenty and it’s just like any other genre with the good and the bad.) It’s a fair point on some of the airheaded heroines but interestingly enough I definitely thought of “Eve” in that way, as she seems to make bad decisions, reinforce those bad decisions with indecision and inaction, and sometimes be incapable of managing her own life. I talk about it just a little bit in my post for this week (and sorry I missed out on week 2, also!)