This is the last week of Carl’s R.I.P. VI group read of Deborah Lawrenson’s The Lantern. This week’s questions have been provided by Heather. Here is the link to the other posts.
Looking back on the novel, I would say this was a very mixed bag for me. I was really curious to read the end for many reasons. I wanted to know how it all tied up and I also thought that I could only say whether I really liked the book once I finished it.
Those who have not read the book at all, shouldn’t read the answers. They contain spoilers.
1. Now that it’s all said and done; what did you think of the book? Did you see the ending coming?
It was a mixed bag. I liked some parts a lot but after having finished I must say, I didn’t like the end at all. The story of the bones was too predictable, the missing girls a bit of a plump red herring and Rachel’s end was far from realistic.
2. What do you think of the characters? Lawrenson took us on a twisty little ride there, I had trouble deciding who was good and who wasn’t for a while there! What do you think of Dom? Of Sabine? Rachel?
I still think Dom was an insufferable character and what he says about Rachel’s death doesn’t even have to be true. Rachel was a troubled mind but we never really know why she became the way she is.
3. Pierre was such a conflicted character. In the end, do you think he killed Marthe and Annette, or did the fall to their deaths because of their blindness?
I’m pretty sure, he killed them. It goes well will all the other cruelties he committed.
4. The book is being compared to Rebecca and Daphne du Maurier’s writing. Do you think the book lives up to that description?
I didn’t see Rebecca in it at all. It’s decidedly not in the same league.
5. Did you have any problems with the book? Narration? Plot? The back and forth between two different characters and times?
I had a huge problem with the police procedurals and the cancer story. They just didn’t sound realistic. This book overflows with descriptions and details but all we get is the word “cancer”. That’s too easy. To feel at least a little bit realistic, we should have heard what type of cancer. Colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, leukemia, glioblastoma… What did she have? I think you get the drift. If you can’t call a tree a tree but tell your readers it’s a fig, it’s a pine, it’s a …. then you should be a bit more explicit than that when it comes to an illness like cancer, especially when the person dies of it. This was not believable for me and spoilt the ending of the book.
6. Do you think Lawrenson tied both stories together well in the end? Is there anything she could/should have done differently?
The best part is Bénédicte’s story. I like that ending very well but, as said before the solution to the “serial killer” and Rachel’s end felt wrong, like a cheap trick.
7. One problem I had with the novel is the reliability of the narrators. Do you think any of them were telling the truth? Which ones?