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.