The Dark Lantern: A Novel
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Walmart Tell us if something is incorrect. Book Format: Choose an option. Add to Cart. Product Highlights 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 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. 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. The clash between the classes makes for a suspenseful novel of mistaken identities, intriguing women, and dangerous deceptions. About This Item We aim to show you accurate product information. Manufacturers, suppliers and others provide what you see here, and we have not verified it.
See our disclaimer. Robert is quickly developing a reputation in anthropometry, the nascent science of identifying criminals by body measurements. 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. Customer Reviews. See all reviews. Write a review. Most helpful positive review. Average rating: 4 out of 5 stars, based on reviews.
Most helpful negative review. Average rating: 2 out of 5 stars, based on reviews. I read it, I think I enjoyed it, yet now, less than three months later, I have no recollection of it. Average rating: 4 out of 5 stars, based on 0 reviews. Written by a customer while visiting librarything. SilversReviews, March 18, Laurenbdavis, May 29, See all 9 reviews. See any care plans, options and policies that may be associated with this product. Email address.
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The Dark Lantern
While there she gains another suitor, Roland Tofield, heir to a baronetcy. She rejects him out of love for Richard, but the Tofields play an increasingly important role as the novels progress. As she travels home, Hetty buys a dress in Paris, which replicates most fortuitously! But Hetty does not wear this symbolic dress for their secret wedding which is supported by her mother as he had hoped — and after the briefest of honeymoons snatched while her father is away on holiday, she returns to the family home and continues to live the life of an unmarried daughter. Like the rare butterfly that he loses, his bride is lost to Richard from the start.
He never recovers from the humiliations of the subterfuge. Thus the scene is set for a marriage beset with difficulties and emotional baggage. William Leopold Williamson was a bank clerk by profession, who in May married Gertrude Eliza Leaver, encouraged by her mother, in Greenwich Registry Office in a ceremony kept secret from her father, exactly as happens in the novel.
One has to presume as in the novel that Thomas Leaver disapproved of the Williamson family because William Leopold's father was considered to be a bit of a bounder! It is known now that the two families, Williamson and Leaver, lived next door to each other in the borough of Sutton, and so there must have been considerable interaction between them in real life.
HW clearly knew the area very well, and it is entirely possible that William Leopold took his young son over to the area to visit — the census shows that William's sisters Isabelle and Effie Ethel and his brother Henry Joseph were still living in Alfred Road, Sutton, in the house in which they had been born. Richard and Hetty Maddison are based. However, there is no hint that they were real-life neighbours in the novel! The author arranges his fictional tale very cleverly.
She was a great influence on Henry Williamson, and encouraged him in every way. As Theodora Maddison she is a major character throughout the Chronicle. In this opening volume she is seen as a very kind and sensitive clever young lady, sympathetic and intuitive, attractive and gay — yet shy and serious. Richard and Hetty are the main characters of this first volume. The story revolves and evolves around their complicated courtship and marriage. Due to the antipathy of Mr Turney to Richard, the latter is reduced to visiting Hetty clandestinely, through a door in their garden wall, behind which is an orchard and a summerhouse.
It seems likely that HW based this garden door on the actual door pictured below; it is close to the ponds, and old maps of Carshalton show that there was once indeed an orchard behind it. Today the whole area is a small nature reserve. Several other members of both families are also established, who are to weave in and out of the tale as it progresses. Mentioned too are the series of ponds that characterise the village, which form one of the sources of the River Wandle thinly disguised as the River Vandle.
Agriculture is a major theme throughout the series. In real life Adela died aged just 52 in March from complications associated with diabetes, while her husband Henry William Williamson died two years later when he accidentally fell through a trapdoor while surveying a building in Newcastle — someone had opened it when he was in another room and he fell through on returning. Henry William was probably not the bounder that William Leaver considered him to be, as his daughter Maude wrote in one letter about how happy they had all been at home.
John Maddison and his wife Jenny appear as minor characters here. Jenny, a most extraordinarily sweet person, is entirely imaginary. The story is complicated by the fact that it is she with whom Richard is really in love, and in his mind he frequently compares Hetty unfavourably to her.
Soon after, they take a lease on Comfort House, in Comfort Road, where they set up their first home. Mary Leopoldina certainly spent time in Greece at this point in her life, seeing for herself all those ancient places so beloved of the great Romantic poets. So this first volume ends with a lyrical description of an idyllic holiday, the two brothers happily fishing together in the river Lyn.
Entirely serendipitously, this sets the scene for the appalling contrast of the storm and flood at Lynmouth that forms the climax at the end of the very last volume of the Chronicle.
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That is extraordinary, and almost uncanny. A s this first book of A Chronicle of Ancient Sunlight ends, so Jenny shyly tells her husband that she is pregnant. Between and Peter Lewis, a longstanding and dedicated member of The Henry Williamson Society, researched and prepared indices of the individual books in the Chronicle of Ancient Sunlight series, with the first three volumes being indexed together as 'The London Trilogy'.
Originally typed by hand, copies were given only to a select few. His index is reproduced here in a non-searchable PDF format, with his kind permission. It forms a valuable and, indeed, unique resource. The PDF is in two sections:. Critical reception:. At this time books are not given the attention that they had received before the war. The mind of the populace is on more basic things. With regard to HW in particular, he had become rather an unknown quantity: this new volume appears to have puzzled people. He had of course kept his London roots well hidden.
Most reviewers seem to have been a little puzzled; the Carshalton Times passed no opinion, other than noting its local setting:.
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The Spectator Tangye Lean , 16 November Among novelists who might announce their intention of tracing the fortune of a family from the late Victorian period to the Second World War, few would surprise us more than Mr. Henry Williamson. London in the Nineties? Suburban clerks, City merchants, and the complex of relations between families?
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Nothing less than these from the subject matter of The Dark Lantern , in which Mr. Williamson introduces us to his project. Masterly in the establishment of atmosphere he does not shirk the world of London Bridge, where the rulers of an empire feel the first tremors of decline. So many memories wafted from this volume. About the same time as my original encounter with this textbook, I spent a stormy night at Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga. The next morning I was scheduled for an early spinal tap—the most horrific experience of my life up to then and still a milestone of agony that makes me cringe.
I was in a ward with three old men. One of them was at some point shaved with a dry scraping noise, and one of them died during the night. The only TV on the floor was in a waiting room down the hall. During a fierce thunderstorm someone pushed my wheelchair down there, where we watched The Hound of the Baskervilles —Stewart Granger as a pallid old Sherlock Holmes and William Shatner as George Stapleton.
This version first aired on ABC in February , the month I turned fourteen, but it must have been run again later because my memory takes place during a summer thunderstorm. And of course you can always trust memory. During the broadcast, a close flash of lightning was followed by a power outage.
Soon, no doubt, the power returned, but my memory stops with the lightning and the demise of the TV screen. Because I note on its flyleaf the date on which a book enters my life, I see that the year after Erlanger, on the sixteenth of December , I received the two fat volumes of William S. I stayed up almost all night after it arrived in the mail. They helped enchant literature for me, and notes about their origin opened a window into formerly opaque history.
I never became a fanatical Sherlockian.
But Doyle and Holmes introduced me to a number of perennial interests I found so entertaining that ultimately I built a career around them. In the way that literature and life distill experience into essence, this turf has become a site for discovery and adventure, not a place of pain or fear or loss.