Joyce's Reviews > The Dark Lantern

The Dark Lantern by Gerri Brightwell
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Mar 04, 09

bookshelves: mainstream-fiction, historical-fiction
Read in March, 2009

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 more 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 more detailed review of The Dark Lantern on my JDP NEWS blog at

4 likes · likeflag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Dark Lantern.
sign in »

Reading Progress

02/24/2009 page 16
show 3 hidden updates…

No comments have been added yet.