This is the second week of Carl’s R.I.P. VI group read of Deborah Lawrenson’s The Lantern. This week’s questions have been sent by Kailana. Here is the link to the other posts.
This week we read part 3 and 4 of the book. I’m still in two minds about the novel as a whole. There are passages I like and others I don’t but overall I enjoyed parts 3 and 4 much more than parts 1 and 2. They were more mysterious and creepier and I really wanted to know how the book ends that’s why I already finished it but I will not spoil it for those who haven’t read part 5 yet.
Those who have not read the book at all, shouldn’t read the answers. It wasn’t possible to avoid spoilers.
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?
For me the lantern is one of the most creepy elements, together with the slender figure Eve sees several times at a distance but who disapears every time she gets closer. The discovery of the bones in the pool was quite creepy as well. At one point I thought it might be Dom who was carrying the lantern and trying to confuse and scare Eve.
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?
Scents are powerful triggers for memory. A scent can open up a door to a long forgotten past. That seems to be the function of the scents in the novel. For Bénédicte the scents and especially the perfume Lavande de Nuit are tied to Marthe, for Eve, I think, they will forever be her link to the first summer with Dom. And, finally, they capture the essence of the South of France, this very essence that Marthe tried to recreate with her perfume.
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?
Marthe’s story is the one that fascinates me the most. The other characters in the story seem to feel the same. They are all equally fascinated by her. Her disappearance echoes Rachel’s story.
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?
Of course I totally dislike Pierre. Dom is still without any interest to me. Eve is not very fascinating either but I’m interested in Bénédicte, Marthe and, more surprisingly in Rachel. I also start to feel pity for Rachel. I wonder if Dom ever really understood her. It seems she had issues but usually this type of issues does have an origin. Nobody becomes this obnoxious and dishonest without a reason.
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 was pretty sure they had been killed by Pierre but I didn’t see a connection with Rachel.
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’d rather not answer this as I already finished the book.
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?
It’s different from what I expected. I thought I would like the story Eve – Dom – Rachel best but now I realize I’m far more interested in the triangle Marthe – Bénédicte – Pierre. During parts 3 and 4 it met my expectations. I didn’t mind the descriptions anymore and, as I said before, I really wanted to find out the ending and rushed right through the final pages.