The Dark Lantern

The Dark Lantern Set In Nineteenth Century London, This Page Turning Mystery Reveals Devastating Secrets While Shedding Light On The Complex Relationships Between The Genteel Upstairs And The Servants Quarters In A Victorian HomeThe Bentley Household Is In Flux The Elderly Matron Is On Her Deathbed, So Her Son, Recently Returned From France, Is Acting As The New Master Of The House He Is Distracted, Busy Developing A Reputation In Anthropometry, The Victorian Science Of Identifying Criminals By Body Measurements Yet Under His Own Roof, No One Is Quite Who They Seem Not The Mysterious Woman Who Claims To Be The Bride Of His Dead Brother, Not The New Maid Just Hired From The Country, Not Den His Own Beautiful But Elusive Wife It Is The Latter Who Seems To Recognise Jane, The New Servant Girl, For The Impostor That She Is However, She Remains Inexplicably Silent, Perhaps Because She Has Her Own Secrets To Protect The Dark Lantern Is A Suspenseful Novel Of Mistaken Identities And Dangerous Deceptions As Well As A Fascinating Portrayal Of Nineteenth Century England

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  • Paperback
  • 321 pages
  • The Dark Lantern
  • Gerri Brightwell
  • English
  • 24 October 2017

10 thoughts on “The Dark Lantern

  1. says:

    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 anthropometry the science of identifying criminals by body measurements , which puts him in contact with all sorts of shady characters, but at least he seems to be a decent enough person I was interested to learn a bit about anthropometry, which at that time rivaled finger printing as the dominant system of identification who knew However, the subplot of Victorian criminology is no match for the domestic espionage that goes on, especially once a woman turns up claiming to be the widow of the elder brother, and our young housemaid is enlisted to spy on her Meanwhile, someone is spying on the Bentley house, but why Although it s suffused with atmosphere, the book is only mildly thrilling I wasn t sure who to trust even right up to the end, but I ve read gripping novels Where it shines is in its very clear and very grim picture of life in the servant class, where a tyrannical housekeeper or mistress could make a servant s existence even unbearable than it already was.

  2. says:

    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 they were mostly easily skipped over tells me they really weren t essential to the plot.3 There was a disturbing near rape scene near the end of the book, and an overly graphic description of a human corpse.Things I was ambivalent about 1 The present tense narration.2 The leisurely pace of the book.3 One important mystery was left unsolved at the end of the book.Is this a book I would want to read again Sadly, no The negatives for me outweighed the positives by far And the biggest negative of all was a reflection of my own reading taste than it was of the author s talent Plain and simple I like a happy ending with my books While some of the characters achieved that, others did not Regrettably for me, the characters who did have happy endings were the characters I least personally cared about, while those that I had found myself rooting for were the ones who were left miserable in the end However, since each reader will likely find herself himself attracted to different characters, you may find yourself quite satisfied where I was disappointed.Would I recommend The Dark Lantern Well, I wouldn t not recommend it If you like literary novels, you will probably like this book If you bond with different characters than I did, you may like this book If you can overlook the bladder scenes and sex scenes and the unusual narration tense and just kind of float above it all as an interesting story, you may very well like this book I enjoyed learning about anthropometry, and expect most readers would find the subject interesting, too You can read a detailed review of The Dark Lantern on my JDP NEWS blog at

  3. says:

    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 her crying All The Damn Time At the drop of a hat.And the widow who might not be a widow Sarah is just getting the dirt on everyone Oooh So much suspense I have no idea if I m being sarcastic or serious when I m reviewing this book, both It was one step away from being trashy, but pretentious lit writing kept it a bit classy It is a gothic but without the trashy cheesiness that we all know and love.I m keeping this one so far, becauseI don t know why.Loves the cover tho.

  4. says:

    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 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, but after I got past the cover and the first chapter or two, it was an easy read and kept my interest 3.5

  5. says:

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

  6. says:

    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.

  7. says:

    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 Bentley lies dying in her room attended for the past 12 years by the very protective Miss Price Her son Robert Bentley is trying to make his mark by advocating anthropometry identifying criminals by recording multiple physical measurements as opposed to dactylography fingerprints His wife, Mina, is a woman with a secret past, desperate to keep it that way.While some might consider this book atmospheric, for me it was plodding It did depict the hard life of those in service below stairs However, other than Robert Bentley, there wasn t a single character about who I really cared I could sympathize with Jane, considering her beginnings, but didn t particularly like her These were unpleasant people behaving unpleasantly and almost no one is as they seem and everyone is spying on everyone else The story was interesting enough that I did read it straight through, but was very happy when it ended The one thing I did very much appreciate was that the author tied up the details as to what happened to most of the characters at the end It was an interesting read but certainly not one of my favorites.

  8. says:

    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 on the carpet, the carrying of the chamber pot to the toilet, multiple mentions of charwomen The servants are always cold, so cold they can t sleep The skin on their hands is reddened, calloused and constantly splitting from hard work fingers like carrots attached to small women s hands This book is black and grey and dismal There s no joy or humor in it It s just relentless I ll check back in with once I m done reading the book.I m finished reading the book Things did come together at the book s end, but despite the protagonists escapes from the drudgery of servitude or living double lives, it s still not altogether a happy ending I don t need happy endings, I just need ones that sort of fit I think this book ended a little tidily than I would have liked it to, but that s just my own personal opinion It was good enough to hold my attention until the end, so it is a well written book.

  9. says:

    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 all, just a disappointment Don t waste your time.

  10. says:

    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.

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