Friday, October 21, 2011

The Lantern Readalong Part 2

After only posting my thoughts on part 1 of this book yesterday, I have continued reading and now have composed my thoughts on the second part.  Please bear in mind that this post is about the middle of the book and there are therefore SPOILERS ahead!

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?

Oh  dear! A hard question to start with.

Actually, I think that there are two roles that the lantern is fulfilling. The first is a mechanism for tying the two stories together and maybe it is a symbol for both Benedict and Eve of shining a light on the past.

For Benedicte it is a sign of love with Andre, but also for her in later life it seems to also be symbolic of revealing exactly what went on!

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?

As I was reading this section I was very much reminded of a book I read earlier this year called The Various Flavours of Coffee by Anthony Capella. In that case the main character has a strongly defined sense of taste which he uses to identify all the different notes of various coffee beans! In this section Marthe is divining scents for perfume rather than coffee but the sense of appreciation was paralleled.

I find the idea that some people have better noses than other people to be totally fascinating and enjoyed reading the parts about Marthe.

Marthe's career as a perfumer has also reminded me of the visit I made to a French perfume factory many years ago.

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?

Like I just mentioned I am enjoying reading Marthe's story. I am not sure that I feel that the connection between the other four characters is really strong enough, but it is moving the story forward which is the purpose I guess.

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?

I am going to start with a secondary character - can I just say I don't really like Sabine. It is like she is a puppeteer manipulating the events that are happening and the actions of Eve in particular.

I am hard pressed to choose a character that I really, really like! Benedicte is okay as is Marthe, but I find Eve to be far too accepting and passive, particularly in respect of her relationship with Dom and his refusal to talk about anything. As for Dom, I don't distrust him quite as much as I did, but I think that he really needs to answer some questions and start actually communicating with this woman that he professes to love!

I said in my previous post that I found Philippe to be a one dimensional character and I don't think we have seen anything to find out why he was the way he was and to give him any depth. The reader is not meant to like him or to empathise with him in any way shape or form, and I don't so that appears to be right then!

Provence is synonymous with sunflowers and now  lavender to me
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 think Marthe and Annette are dead and that Pierre killed them. The bones in the pool are there to move both aspects of the story ahead and also to cast more doubt on Dom and what exactly happened to Rachel. I must confess that at one point I did wonder if perhaps Rachel had died of natural causes and Dom had chosen to bury her and so came back to the house so that he could be close to her even in death but I am changing my mind about that theory at the moment.

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?

No predictions, I just want to keep reading because even though I am still finding holes in terms of characterisations and plot I am still finding the book immensely readable.

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?

I would have read the book eventually as I do enjoy a good gothic type read and also have had an obsession with all things French over the past few months so this ticks boxes for me!

And now I am all caught up on the posts and can post about the final section of the book on Monday, and now that I have posted about this section I can go and finish reading it! Seems like a good way to spend a rainy Friday night!


  1. I know! I wrote the first question and I was like, wow, that's a good question. Then I had to answer it and I was not so happy about it. lol

  2. I really didn't like Sabine either, and just got a menacing feeling about her for the entire book. She seems to know things and be hiding them, which bothered me, and made me uncomfortable when she showed up on page. I really questioned her motives for the entire book!

  3. I'm with both you and Kailana on question one! It almost made me glad I was too busy to post last week :) Thanks to both of you, though!