The Dark Lantern

By Gerri Brightwell
Read by Anne Flosnik

11.08 Hours 03/01/2008 unabridged
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The Bentley’s London household is in a state of flux. The elderly matron is on her deathbed; so her son, recently returned from France, is acting as the new master of the house. While he is busy developing a reputation in anthropometry, the science of identifying criminals by body measurements, he is unaware of the secrets of the women in the household—the mysterious woman who claims to be the bride of his dead brother, the new maid from the country, and even his own wife—keep from him. A fascinating portrayal of nineteenth-century England and a page-turning mystery, The Dark Lantern exposes the genteel “upstairs” of a Victorian home, as well as the darker underside of its servants’ quarters. The clash of these two classes makes for a suspenseful novel of mistaken identities, intriguing women, and dangerous deception.

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Summary

Summary

The Bentley’s London household is in a state of flux. The elderly matron is on her deathbed; so her son, recently returned from France, is acting as the new master of the house. While he is busy developing a reputation in anthropometry, the science of identifying criminals by body measurements, he is unaware of the secrets of the women in the household—the mysterious woman who claims to be the bride of his dead brother, the new maid from the country, and even his own wife—keep from him.

A fascinating portrayal of nineteenth-century England and a page-turning mystery, The Dark Lantern exposes the genteel “upstairs” of a Victorian home, as well as the darker underside of its servants’ quarters. The clash of these two classes makes for a suspenseful novel of mistaken identities, intriguing women, and dangerous deception.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“Brightwell’s debut, an uncanny thriller, brings late Victorian London to vivid life…The action will keep the reader as intrigued as a parlor maid eavesdropping outside her mistress’ boudoir.” Publishers Weekly
“This novel transports readers to dark, damp, gritty Victorian London as surely (but less bloodily) as Johnny Depp’s movie Sweeney Todd. Secret pasts, hidden identities, class divisions, romance, criminal behavior, police procedures—Lantern has it all. The suspenseful tale features well-drawn characters whose secrets are slowly revealed, leaving readers unsure of who can be believed or trusted…The author’s use of dialogue and action to advance the story is highly effective…the story remains suspenseful through the final pages. The ending is satisfying but open to discussion. Lantern will appeal to readers of historical fiction, suspense, and coming-of-age stories.” School Library Journal
“Clever and gripping, peopled with fascinating and morally ambiguous characters, The Dark Lantern is suspenseful and vividly imagined; a tale of the tangled web of secrets and loyalties that bind master and servant, liars and their targets. Add to that a dollop of 19th century science and social history, and Ms. Brightwell has fashioned a surprising and nuanced story sure to keep fans of well-wrought fiction turning the pages.” Megan Chance, author of An Inconvenient Wife
“A hypnotic spell of a novel—The Dark Lantern resurrects a Victorian London with dirt under its nails. Dawning criminology is a hazardous business, but nothing compared to the tangle of secrets in a gentleman’s home, where domestic espionage teems beneath a mask of propriety. Brightwell captures the fraught interdependence of mistress and maid, blackmailer and victim, and winds the tension to devastating effect. An arresting debut.” Laura Dietz, author of In the Tenth House
“Secrets and lies flourish in an unusual tale of upstairs/downstairs suspense, set in Victorian London. Part mystery, part social drama, Brightwell’s debut is an engrossing period piece, thickly atmospheric in its evocation of England during its colonial heyday…Brightwell deftly juxtaposes the parallel worlds of servants and masters and points out their curious interdependence…a fresh and capable first venture.” Kirkus Reviews

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Gerri Brightwell

Gerri Brightwell has lived in Spain, Thailand, Canada, and the United States. She has worked as a cleaner, ice cream seller, sandwich-maker, pottery sponger, nanny, and, most recently, a teacher of English and writing. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, Digital Rental, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Fiction/Mystery & Detective
Runtime: 11.08
Audience: Adult
Language: English