We all know there’s something magical about
, something that touches people deeply…something that inspires artists and authors and chefs and all sorts of other creative types….that draws people back again and again from all over the world. And Deborah Lawrenson is clearly one of them. Provence
A British novelist and journalist, Deborah has loved
since she first visited “more years ago than I care to remember.” Finally, she and her husband bought their crumbling house in the hills above Apt just under five years ago and set out, like so many others before them, to transform it into the vacation home of their dreams. And it’s this home that inspired—and provides the setting for—Deborah’s newest novel, The Lantern. The book was published in the Provence by Orion in June and in the UK , by HarperCollins last month. This is Deborah’s sixth book. U.S.
Deborah calls the Lantern a modern gothic novel. She initially intended it as an homage to Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, with its young heroine who finds her man more and more mysterious the longer she’s with him.
But along the way, Deborah says, “it became a novel about perfume and blindness and the past life of houses, and also about books, reading and the imagination. The beauty of the Luberon region that provides the backdrop was just there to be captured in words.”
So here’s the plot. When Eve falls for the charming, secretive man named Dom, their whirlwind romance leads them to Les Genevriers, an abandoned and run-down house in the South of France. But as summer fades to autumn, Eve finds it impossible to ignore the mysteries the house seems to be hiding—not the least of which is the strange disappearance of Dom’s beautiful first wife. And what is the connection to a young girl who lived in the house decades before? As Les Genevrier’s tangled history begins to unravel, and Dom grows increasingly distant, Eve must discover the secrets of the past before history has a chance to repeat itself.
Reviews for the book have been strong. The Washington Post said it offers “a vivid escape to an intriguing place, with location playing as much a role as those who dwell there.”
The Chicago Tribune says “Lawrenson effortlessly evokes the sights, sounds, and scents of
while at the same time delivering a spellbinding tale of danger, deception, and desire.” Provence
USA Today gave it three stars out of four, saying “The scent of lavender seems to waft from the pages of The Lantern, a hypnotic tale of suspicion set in the south of France…Comparing any novel to du Maurier's dark, obsessive stories is never done flippantly. The Lantern lives up to the hype.”
Today, Deborah splits her time between rural
and the house in Kent . “"What I love most about France is the sense of history,” she tells me. “The sense that its streets and stones have been inhabited for thousands of years. The atmosphere of light and sensuous richness is captivating, but is as mysterious as it is romantic. As we've come to know our French friends and neighbours, it has become clearer that they sense it too. When, rather tentatively, I told one good friend that the Provence I had written about in The Lantern was not all the surface brightness that the tourists see, that I had written the darker stories of the landscape into my book, he was actually delighted. ‘Now I know that you really understand us,’ he said. Provence
“Perhaps it has something to do with the way the seasons are clearly defined, with cold, harsh winters and exuberant springs,” she continues. “In the summer we are all at play, and in the depths of winter, even the most down-to-earth farmer becomes a philosopher."
Want to know more about the book and the author? Then check out Deborah’s blog, where you'll find an archive of relevant background and photographs to illustrate the story. You might also enjoy her website, where you’ll find video clips (the book was featured on Channel 4’s TV Book Club in the
), her biography and more. If you’d like to read a sample chapter from The Lantern, click here. U.K.
Ok, on to the giveaway! HarperCollins is offering three copies of The Lantern to
readers of Provence Post. And Deborah is offering three signed copies, for Provence Post readers living in the U.S. or the rest of U.K. Europe.
To enter, simply leave a comment under “comments” below. Please don’t forget to leave us your email and to tell us in which country you live. If you don't tell us your email, we can't reach you and you can't win! Signing in with your web or Google address is not enough, unfortunately. And if you want to buy the book on Amazon, you can do that here (from the
) or here (from the U.S. ). Here's the Kindle version U.S. and the Kindle version U.K. U.K.