Friday, October 14, 2011

The Lantern - Group Read Week 1

As part of the R.I.P. VI Challenge, Carl is hosting a few group reads and I decided to join along in reading The Lantern by Deborah Lawrenson. I saw that my library had The Lantern available for an eAudio download so I requested it.  Unfortunately the request expired yesterday so I had to scurry to read listen to the book a little ahead of the read-a-long schedule. I'm still going to respond to the questions but it might be a little odd since I've finished the book.

Here we go!  Watch out for SPOILERS!!!!

1. This may seem like an obvious opening question, but what do you think of The Lantern thus far?

I adored this book. Part 1 started off a little slow but my favorite parts where 2 and 3.  This Week only goes over Parts 1 and 2.  Overall - the sights, the sounds = Beautiful and Inspiring.

2. The book appears to be following the experiences of two different women, alternating back and forth between their stories. Are you more fond of our main protagonist’s story or of Benedicte’s or are you enjoying them both equally?

I was reading Carl's response over at Stainless Steel Droppings and he mentioned that he was having a hard time following who was talking - Eve or Benedicte - except that once you get into it, the chapter breaks help.  I think this is what makes the audio version an awesome pick for this story.  Eve and Benedicte are narrated by different ladies and they both have such beautiful voices!  I think I may have perfered one over the other if I was reading, but the fact that they did such a wonderful audio job with the story....I love their stories equally. That's is a huge rarity for me. 

The other odd note: I think if I was reading the story it would have taken me a bit to realize that Benedicte was female.  Anyone have this happen?

Also, the lady who narrates Eve - my gosh she has an awesome voice. I'm not sure which of the two ladies it is (Kristine Ryan or Gerrianne Raphael) but her voice reminds me a lot of this actress so that is what I kind of picture Eve looking like:
That's Eva Green who was born and raised in Paris so great pick for all the beautiful French words and accent in the story!

The short chapters work VERY well in the audio version because it feels like time is passing so quickly while listening and I don't get as distracted as easily.  Perfect.

3. The Lantern is a book filled with descriptions of scents. How are you liking (or disliking) that aspect of the book? How do you feel about the lavish description of scents? How are the short chapters working for you?

I think this has to be my absolute favorite part of the book (aside from the lovely narrators).  The scents are amazing! I actually told my husband (and he agrees) that our future plans for our backyard should be Provincial themed.  Grapes, lavender, rosemary, citrus fruit, sunflowers, etc.  Here's the grape vine we already have growing thanks to our neighbors who replaced it in favor of an olive tree:

I can not wait to do some planning for next year. It's a challenge growing anything in Las Vegas but this book inspired me to want our backyard to smell like this book.  Odd thing to say but there it is.

4. How would you describe the atmosphere of Parts 1 and 2 of The Lantern?

I think Part 1 had a slow build - a languor about it. Sleepy summery feel. Definitely not what you'd expect Gothic to be which I always feel is cold and dreary.  But it really starts to pick up the creepy Gothic feeling in Part 2.  Beautiful writing.

5. Has anything surprised you to this point? Anything stand out?

While I've read that some people had to warm up to Eve...I loved her from the very beginning.  She's a reader. A writer. Able to just amuse herself for hours with a good book or just working quietly on the house. I don't find her quick involvement with Dom very surprising at all.  I feel that's how I am.  You don't find connections with people all that much but when you do - you know it and just jump right in.  I also didn't find the seclusion odd. I'm not sure I'd like it forever, but a beautiful house I have ooodles of money to restore and just read and play in the garden....seems like paradise to me! The main creepiness of the story, I feel, has pretty much all to do with Benedicte's story.  Pierre! I find him already an insanely horrible character.   

Almost forgot to add!!! At the beginning of the book - Dom and Eve seem to be hiding out. It starts the story very ominously and I kept imagining the time period being pre-WWI or pre-WWII.  In reality it is present day which almost threw me but then I loved because what is it about the writing that makes it seems so old-timey or instant classic feel to it. 

6. What are your feelings about Dom in these first two sections of the story?

I liked Dom.  I am surprised that I don't find him odd or creepy.  The only bizarre thing is that we don't really know Eve's real name.  Her name doesn't come up all that often (as narrator that isn't surprising) but I wonder if I'd just let someone call me some random name that wasn't mine.  Perhaps her name is similar??

Bonus question: Did anyone else hear “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again” ringing in their ears through the first sections of the book?

Oh definitely!  But in a good way! I don't think she stole the idea from Rebecca or it's TOO much like it or not enough like it.  I was expecting this comparison and it seems like it was the author's intent to be a bit like Rebecca.  I love love Rebecca the book and the movie so it's wonderful that I don't think any less of The Lantern at all.  The only problem is that I am not wary of Dom like I'd probably be without Rebecca because I have read and seen Rebecca.

Some Read-a-long People:

Stainless Steel Droppings
Capricious Reader
Estella's Revenge
Check out more at the end of Carl's post

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