The Dark Lantern

The Dark Lantern - Gerri Brightwell 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, secrets connect them, which places them all on a similar level of sorts. This idea had me thinking long after the story was finished and for that gem, I think it is intelligent and worth the reading time invested. I am a bit surprised this novel does not have higher ratings on other sites.The story begins with Jane and although she remains a primary focus, Mina emerges to equal attention. This is an interesting topic for discussion, but had me asking for a moment, ‘Is this Jane or Mina’s story?’ There was a slight shift in importance when I believe the character’s story (Mina) could have been told without lessening the emphasis on the heroine Jane. Also as a reader, I found myself a tad cheated when it came to Sarah. I was taken in by the description of her and I kept waiting for this wilily maid to play a bigger role, but she never did. I was baited on the build up and was kicked out in the cold when her fate was so quickly swept a side.