The Dark Lantern

The Dark Lantern London Elderly Mrs Bentley is on her deathbed and her son Robert has returned from France But in the Bentleys well appointed home everyone has their secrets including Robert s beautiful and e

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  • Title: The Dark Lantern
  • Author: Gerri Brightwell
  • ISBN: 9780307395351
  • Page: 168
  • Format: Paperback
  • London, 1893 Elderly Mrs Bentley is on her deathbed, and her son Robert has returned from France But in the Bentleys well appointed home, everyone has their secrets, including Robert s beautiful and elusive wife, the orphan maid she hires from the country, and the mysterious young woman who arrives, claiming to be the bride of Robert s drowned brother.Robert is quicklyLondon, 1893 Elderly Mrs Bentley is on her deathbed, and her son Robert has returned from France But in the Bentleys well appointed home, everyone has their secrets, including Robert s beautiful and elusive wife, the orphan maid she hires from the country, and the mysterious young woman who arrives, claiming to be the bride of Robert s drowned brother.Robert is quickly developing a reputation in anthropometry, the nascent science of identifying criminals by body measurements Yet soon he is caught up in the deceptions swirling around him, for no one under his roof is quite what they seem When an intruder enters the house and ransacks the study, a chain of events is set in motion that threatens not only the genteel, comfortable life the Bentleys have managed to secure but also their very survival.A fascinating portrayal of a vanished England as well as an unconventional mystery, The Dark Lantern exposes the grand upstairs of a Victorian home and the darker underbelly of its servants quarters The clash between the classes makes for a suspenseful novel of mistaken identities, intriguing women, and dangerous deceptions.

    One thought on “The Dark Lantern”

    1. This little treat of Victorian Noir follows an orphan who takes a position in London as housemaid in the Bentley home, where the “below stairs” folk seem to be as treacherous and secretive as those above stairs. The mistress of the house is dying and her son and daughter-in-law have come to visit, but the daughter-in-law refuses to leave the house because of some unnamed danger lurking in the foggy streets, and the servants are slyly running amok. Meanwhile the son is busy dabbling in anthro [...]

    2. Things I liked about this book:1. Learning about anthropometry as an alternative to fingerprinting in the 18th Century.2. The characters were well drawn enough to hold my attention, though I liked some characters better than others.3. I enjoyed the mystery angle, though not necessarily all of the mystery "solutions".Things I disliked about this book:1. Really not interested in the state of various characters' bladders throughout the story.2. Could have done without the sex scenes. The fact that [...]

    3. This is one of the books where I'm in the middle between loving it and hating it. I'm luke-warm, not hot not cold. I really liked the characters to a degree. Not that they are particularly likeable. Mina being a shady bitch who is so paranoid that others are just as shady as she is, and she is not necessarily wrong about that either.Jane being a weepy whipping girl but at the same time has her own agenda. Okay after awhile she stopped weeping so much, but it's already been cemented in my head of [...]

    4. Goodness - the deceptions in the Bentley household come thick and fast in this book. Each member, family and servant, have their secrets. It reminded me a little of Downton Abbey, although it’s mostly set in the last decade of the 1800s and has more intrigue even than Downton.I have to confess to being fickle enough that I was a bit disappointed when I found that the cover of my book looked like this rather than like this. And that it was even enough to make me less inclined to read the book, [...]

    5. A very good intriguing book. Loved the Victorian setting of London, I felt like I was there amongst the sights and sounds.

    6. THE DARK LANTERN (Hist. Thriller-Jane Wilbred-England-1893) - OkayBrightwell, Gerri – 1st bookCrown Publishers, 2008, US Hardcover – ISBN: 9780307395344First Sentence: She sits stiffly on the seat of the cart, her whole self held in against the tumult of the city. Jane Wilbred, the daughter of a murderess, was raised in an orphanage and began her life in service to a tyrannical vicar’s wife. She has altered a reference letter and secured a new post in London to the Bentley family. Mrs. Ben [...]

    7. I'm nearing the end of this novel, and wishing it would be finished already. The coincidence of three women from three walks of life all coming from the same background, all struggling to maintain a facade of respectability seems a bit contrived. Sadly, in order to survive an oppressive society with no support for these women, they have to scheme, lie and get up to all sorts of bad stuff. Meanwhile, the setting is dingy and dirty too. The falling snow turns grey, the ashes from the fire settling [...]

    8. The last 50 pages finally got interesting but the blurb for this book definitely oversold the book!Set in Victorian England, Dark Lantern tells the story of Jane the housemaid, and the family she works for. Everyone has secrets which promise to be interesting and simply aren't. Everyone appears to be using someone else for some reason. The only thing that held real promise was an alternative method of criminal identification to fingerprinting and that was not the main focus of the story. All in [...]

    9. This story takes place in the late nineteenth century and centers around a young servant girl from the English countryside. She has just taken the position of a housemaid in a London household and becomes immersed in a web of secrets, deceptions, and hidden pasts, not the least of which is her own. Brightwell cleverly uses a vivid depiction of 1890s London and the difficulties of a life in service to strengthen the atmosphere without overwhelming the plot.

    10. This was a great, pulpy period piece: an upstairs/downstairs mystery set in a pre-war London upper-class household. Interesting cast of characters, one of whom has a pretty dark secret. It's on the heavier side of light reading, if that makes sense, and is short & tight. I read it in about 24 hours, and enjoyed it.

    11. I had been wanting to read this book for quite some time, but it turned out to be another bust. I'm so tired of being disappointed by books. I decided to throw this one across the room after less than a chapter. I knew it wasn't going to be any good.

    12. (2.5 stars) The book is set in the late 1800s in London and focuses on the Bentley household. The owner of the home, Mrs. Bentley, is extremely ill and her son, Robert and his wife, Mina, have recently come to stay after being abroad. Robert is a proponent of anthropometry and hopes to get this recognized as the method to identify criminals. Mina has recently hired a maid from the country, Jane, who has hidden the fact that she is the daughter of a murderess. But Mina has her own secrets, and th [...]

    13. Another smart Victorian novel that does not disappoint. Brightwell craftily depicts Victorian London from behind the draped curtains of middle-class society. This is a book that holds actual thematic weight and not just a promising plot. Through the weaving and interaction of characters the class line is drawn, but also crossed, which gives the story a classical feel and is probably due to the author’s schooled background in literature studies. Even though class separates the characters, secre [...]

    14. This book portrayed Victorian England well. The relationships between the servants themselves and their interactions with their employers conveyed what daily household life may have been like in Victorian England. Jane, the main narrator/point of view of the story is newly arrived to London from the country. She is the second house maid and therefore responsible for most of the scutwork "upstairs", such as cleaning and lighting the fireplaces, and the majority of the cleaning. Unfortunately, she [...]

    15. Where to begin (possibly mild spoilers ahead!)This book was just luke warm for me. I'll start with the characters. While they all were interesting and devious, those below stairs as well as above, I just didn't find myself super attached to any of them.Especially Mina, let's talk about her for a moment. I did not feel anything for her. At all. Through most of the book she's a bit crazy and does some horrible things. Near the end they reveal her tragic past. And I still don't care. I wouldn't hav [...]

    16. This is a extremely well-done, but very depressing, thriller set in Victorian London. It sure brought home, once again, how few options women had during that time if they didn’t come from money and a loving family. It’s a sad story and it wasn’t that fun for me because there was no one to root for, but at the same time, that’s what made it intriguing: you didn’t know what the true story was on any of the main characters. The author weaves interlocking stories and clues in a very convin [...]

    17. I tend to be depressingly consistent on what’s going to make me love a book – a Victorian era historical set in London, a female protagonist, a multi-layered mystery, and a bit of social commentary. The last book I read that had all of these components (Grace Hammer) was incredibly disappointing. The Dark Lantern, however, delivered a captivating plot that perfectly achieved everything I want in a good read. In addition, the narrative is perfectly paced, which is a rarity in these types of b [...]

    18. I read this book based on a recommendation I came across. It sounded promising, but was disappointing. It is more about the secrets in people's lives than a real mystery. I suppose the best I can say about it is that it seems to provide a good picture way people lived during the period - the precariousness of many people's lives and their dependence on the good nature of others.

    19. I'm rating this as a very mediocre mystery which only gets the least bit interesting in the last few chapters. The writing is average, the characters black and white, and the plot is so slow in developing it pretty much sends you to sleep. Add to that a main character that is so mousy and weepy that you want to slap her, and you've got a book that I cannot recommend to anyone.

    20. I liked that this book was able to put me into the Victorian Era for awhile, at least as long as I read it. The grime and sights and smells of London in the 19th century were just there, waiting for me.Also awaiting me was the fact that literally every single character in this story seemed to have a secret--or ten. People are saying it's implausible that everyone would have a secret in a house, but come on. Who DOESN'T have secrets? You don't think your housemates, or your spouse/significant oth [...]

    21. I have had this book on my to read list for years, and I always thought it was a Gothic novel. But The Dark Lantern is actually a twisty historical novel set in 1893 England, a novel that spins a web of lies and deception. When old Mrs. Bentley lies dying in her upper class home in London, her younger son and his wife return home from Paris where Robert has championed the new forensic science of anthropometry, vying with fingerprints as the best method of identifying criminals. Mina, Robert's wi [...]

    22. A very suspenseful and intense story weaving the lives of four different woman who are all in one household in Victorian London. Mina is the wife of Robert, they have come from Paris because his mother is dying; Price is the mother’s ladies maid; Jane is the newly hired young orphaned maid and lastly - the young widow. Robert’s brother has died when his ship from India sank off France. Four very different women with many layers of secrets.

    23. I found most of this book to be a slog. All the characters were pretty unlikeable and miserable which mean you couldn't even enjoy watching events unfold despite the lack of connection. I suppose I appreciate the author's more realistic approach to life for any given person living at this time, but there was no spark of joy or light anywhere.

    24. Interesting just in terms of the point of view of "below-the-stairs" of the British upper class. I really didn't like any of the characters, which was perhaps the point. The foray into forensic science made an interesting diversion.

    25. Victorian era with upstairs and downstairs stories. So many secrets, so much deception and so much paranoia. It was a good read and I love that she wrapped up every mystery at the end. I did learn some things about the life of service and it was quite a life of despair.

    26. Overall impressions: Strong elements, lovely descriptions, devious women!The summary sets it up as if the maid (our main character, Jane) and the young woman (Victoria/the widow) have the most secrets, but the events of the plot focus on Robert Bentley’s wife, Mina. But we don’t learn this until much later.The story opens with Jane accepting a new housekeeping job at a nice estate in London. She’s a shy and nervous girl after coming from a devoutly Christian mistress who shoved the sins of [...]

    27. This is one of those times when the ratings scale bothers me. While I understand why this book may not be popular with many readers, it has quite a few merits and deserves a higher rating. 3.11 out of 5 seems unfair, yet when you actually follow the criteria for ratings, a 3 isn't at all a bad rating. Anyhoo, I digress.The story is a more sinister Upstairs/Downstairs somewhat centered around a teenage housemaid named Jane. The poor girl lives in terror that someone will discover she is the ill [...]

    28. 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 h [...]

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