“Some scents sparkle and then quickly disappear, like the effervescence of a citrus zest or a bright not of mint.” And so this beautifully written novel, The Lantern begins.
In Switzerland Eve meets a mysterious man and starts a whirlwind romance. Dom is handsome but somehow closed off and haunted. Dom admits that he was once married but asks Eve to never speak of Rachel again; he will not speak further about it. Eve is caught up in the love affair and keeps thoughts of Rachel locked away in her mind.
Soon Dom has convinced Eve to leave her work and home to move with him to the remote Les Genevriers in the South of France. Eve is thrilled to have found love and easily gives up her lonely life, renting out her
When the cold winter moves in, Eve starts to feel haunted as she sees things in the garden and starts hearing noises in the house. And, seemingly, Dom pulls away from her, leaving her even more isolated. They are far from town and there are no other houses nearby, Dom has effectively cut off Eve from her friends, work and family. Eve becomes afraid, distant and restless as Dom becomes more uncommunicative. Eve also becomes obsessed with Dom’s former wife Rachel and spends all her time researching her and wondering what happened to her. Dom still refuses to talk about Rachel, but Eve has learned that Dom and Rachel had planned on living in Genevriers together. Eve soon finds a lady in town, Sabine, who implies that Dom may have killed Rachel. Per Sabine, Rachel was pregnant and disappeared unexpectedly…
As the haunting of Eve begins, the reader starts learning the ominous past history of the farmstead. The farm is where Marthe Lincel, a famous 1950’s perfume creator grew up as a child. Eve often smells the strong scent of lavender which was the inspiration for Marthe’s signature scent. Soon Eve is also researching the story of Marthe, who disappeared at the height of her career.
In an eerie bit of foreshadowing, Dom and Rachel have decided to replace the pool in the garden…what will they discover? Throughout the novel I thought of Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier, there are many parallels that cannot be ignored.
For me, this novel is much more descriptive and enthralling than Du Maurier’s Rebecca. Here is an example of the language, “Outside, the figs fall, the wasps drone at the sugar bursting on the ground and on the branch, the scents of summer are overblown in the heat.” Magnificent descriptors, I highly recommend this novel for any fiction readers and book clubs. Alas, this novel is not yet available in paperback.