The Dark Lantern by Gerri Brightwell
Hardcover, 336 pages
March 4, 2008
Genre: Victorian Historical Fiction
Source: Passed on to me by Arleigh for review
The Dark Lantern is a Victorian mystery, of sorts. Jane becomes a maid in the household of the Bentleys. Mrs. Bentley is a very sick old woman. Mr. and Mrs. Robert Bentley have recently moved into the house to help take care of his ailing mother. Hints are given that Mrs. Robert Bentley is not quite who she seems to be. There is also the mystery of Mr. Henry Bentley heading home from India and a mysterious new wife of his. Jane becomes the go-to girl for Mrs. Robert Bentley as a spy within the household. As all of the backgrounds of the Bentley’s begin to come to light and Jane is caught in the middle with nowhere to turn.
If the above summary sounds a little confusing – that was how I felt reading it. The story failed to grab my attention from the word go. All of the family members have something to hide, and there really wasn’t a lot of solid character development. I found that at about ¾ of the way through the book, I still didn’t remember the names of the characters. The last 50 pages or so picked up the pace drastically. Everything started coming together but it felt rushed. The outcome was interesting but not having made any solid connections with any of the characters, I found I didn’t care much what happened to them. I think that this could have been a much more enjoyable read overall if some additional character development occurred throughout the book. I also would hope for a few more events to occur.
3.5 out of 5 stars (the ending saved it from a solid 3 stars)
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