It has been awhile since I have read a book that pulled me in to the point of complete absorption. Until I cracked open my copy of 'The Lantern'. It is an engaging 'sensory' experience. Through the written word, Deborah Lawrenson pulls us into a well crafted story peopled with full and vivid characters. Her environmental descriptions (from rooms and landscapes, to accompanying scents) made it feel as if I were actually there witnessing it all first hand. It kept me involved from beginning to end...and it ended well. *grin* For those that have read other reviews of mine, how a story ends is important to me as a reader. I do not want to be left hanging, whether the book is the first in a series or not. 'The Lantern' did not leave me hanging. It is a very satisfying read.
The story begins in Switzerland when Eve (whose perspective the majority of the story is told from) meets handsome Dom. Their romance is the definition of 'whirlwind', and Dom's need to own a certain bit of property takes them to Provence, France and the Luberon. On the property is their new home, an abandoned house called Les Genevriers. Living in her new environs, Eve is thrust into a world of mysteries where she discovers that Dom has a lot of mystery and secrets of his own...an ex-wife that he refuses to talk about is at the heart of it all. Rachel, the mysterious ex, rapidly becomes Eve's obsession.
A peripheral story runs alongside Eve's. Benedicte Lincel, the former owner of the house, has her own story of life at Les Genevriers in years past. She was surrounded by mysteries of her own. As both stories unfold, they become enmeshed. 'The Lantern' is interesting and engaging to the very end.
A major player throughout the book is the South of France. From the hills, to the abundant fruit trees, to the fields of lavendar, Deborah describes everything in vivid focus. Fitting that the perfume industry enter into the mix.
I will say I did get some small tastes of what was to come upon the release of 'The Lantern'. Months ago, I became...I guess you could call it 'Blog Buddies' with Deborah. *grin* Her blog is really lovely, she shares a lot about her experiences and her life in Provence. Much of her personal experiences (including the house) are the setting for 'The Lantern'. When we first became acquainted, I didn't know she was a published writer. I have since discovered other titles of hers I plan to check out. 'The Lantern' is her first US release, her others being european releases. During the time that I have been reading her blog, Deborah has posted snippets from 'The Lantern' salient to the place/event she wrote about. I was very excited to read the book in its entirety, and now that I have, I am not disappointed in the least. Beautifully written, and highly recommended.