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Download The Dark Lantern Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Dark Lantern, by Gerri Brightwell Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (386 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Gerri Brightwell Narrator: Anne Flosnik Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2010 ISBN: 9781455190508
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The Bentley’s London household is in a state of flux. The elderly matron is on her deathbed; so her son, recently returned from France, is acting as the new master of the house. While he is busy developing a reputation in anthropometry, the science of identifying criminals by body measurements, he is unaware of the secrets of the women in the household—the mysterious woman who claims to be the bride of his dead brother, the new maid from the country, and even his own wife—keep from him.

A fascinating portrayal of nineteenth-century England and a page-turning mystery, The Dark Lantern exposes the genteel “upstairs” of a Victorian home, as well as the darker underside of its servants’ quarters. The clash of these two classes makes for a suspenseful novel of mistaken identities, intriguing women, and dangerous deception.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Brightwell’s debut, an uncanny thriller, brings late Victorian London to vivid life…The action will keep the reader as intrigued as a parlor maid eavesdropping outside her mistress’ boudoir.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “This novel transports readers to dark, damp, gritty Victorian London as surely (but less bloodily) as Johnny Depp’s movie Sweeney Todd. Secret pasts, hidden identities, class divisions, romance, criminal behavior, police procedures—Lantern has it all. The suspenseful tale features well-drawn characters whose secrets are slowly revealed, leaving readers unsure of who can be believed or trusted…The author’s use of dialogue and action to advance the story is highly effective…the story remains suspenseful through the final pages. The ending is satisfying but open to discussion. Lantern will appeal to readers of historical fiction, suspense, and coming-of-age stories.”

    School Library Journal

  • “Clever and gripping, peopled with fascinating and morally ambiguous characters, The Dark Lantern is suspenseful and vividly imagined; a tale of the tangled web of secrets and loyalties that bind master and servant, liars and their targets. Add to that a dollop of 19th century science and social history, and Ms. Brightwell has fashioned a surprising and nuanced story sure to keep fans of well-wrought fiction turning the pages.”

    Megan Chance, author of An Inconvenient Wife

  • “A hypnotic spell of a novel—The Dark Lantern resurrects a Victorian London with dirt under its nails. Dawning criminology is a hazardous business, but nothing compared to the tangle of secrets in a gentleman’s home, where domestic espionage teems beneath a mask of propriety. Brightwell captures the fraught interdependence of mistress and maid, blackmailer and victim, and winds the tension to devastating effect. An arresting debut.”

    Laura Dietz, author of In the Tenth House

  • “Secrets and lies flourish in an unusual tale of upstairs/downstairs suspense, set in Victorian London. Part mystery, part social drama, Brightwell’s debut is an engrossing period piece, thickly atmospheric in its evocation of England during its colonial heyday…Brightwell deftly juxtaposes the parallel worlds of servants and masters and points out their curious interdependence…a fresh and capable first venture.”

    Kirkus Reviews

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Donna | 2/17/2014

    " If you like books that are set in Victorian England and that involve both the servants and the upper-class residents of a home (like in "Upstairs/Downstairs" or "Downton Abbey"), then this is a book you'd be interested in. I didn't always like the abrupt narrative changes but it was overall a good, mysterious story and I enjoyed it. I also found the competition between fingerprinting and anthopometry as a means of criminal investigation and apprehension to be really interesting, especially since that's what really happened back then. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Katy | 2/3/2014

    " Not bad, but not great. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Margo Brooks | 1/30/2014

    " Audiobook. A novel of the upstairs/downstairs politics of a London house at the end of the 19th century. Although the husband is dedicated to discovering criminals using anthropometry (the study of body measurements) he is unaware that all of the women in his household are lying to him and scheming against each other. A very unpleasant look at life at this time, but a good read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Laura | 1/22/2014

    " A historical fiction mystery with lots of twists and turns. A young wife returned from Paris has been keeping secrets from her husband, a shipwreck that leaves a woman claiming to be a widow, a new servant that is learning the ropes and has lied to get the job. In addition there is discussions about anthropometry vs. fingerprinting. An book that kept me guessing and kept my interest. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Andrea | 1/19/2014

    " Mystery set in London in 1893. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Joyce | 1/16/2014

    " Interesting enough, but doesn't grab you. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michelle | 1/16/2014

    " ARC of a book that will be published March 2008. Solid historical mystery with a depth to the characters. In fact, that's where the focus is...the scenes are sometimes a bit long describing in first person the feelings, fears, and disposition of each character. Action is second to characterization. Nonetheless, it is an absorbing story of the secrets hidden in the hearts of ordinary people in late Victorian London. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Willi | 1/12/2014

    " Many secrets to this drama.Like peeling layers of an onion.Which character is good and which is hiding something.Old fashioned detective book.Enjoyed it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Luci | 12/25/2013

    " I really liked this book more than I anticipated. It is a real gothic work, but it also handles a lot of the upstairs/downstairs relationships as show in Downton Abbey or Gosford Park. I liked all of th characters and I thought the ending was well done. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 April | 12/11/2013

    " First thing that bothered me was that she wrote in third person, present tense - for some reason it just completely slowed down my reading and irritated me. Second, there wasn't much of a story development happening. I did the 100 page test and had to put it down. a bit boring. Maybe I'll try later. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nikki | 9/6/2012

    " Set in Victorian England, I quite liked this book. For purists, it probably is not quite period enough in language. But I liked it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Erin | 5/22/2012

    " A very detailed account of the deceptions that swirl around one Victorian household. The book does a good job of showing the contrast between the servant class and employers, but the mystery takes a long while to unwind. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Julie | 4/21/2012

    " A little boring. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rebecca Blood | 2/13/2012

    " This is a fun read! A real page-turner. Nothing deep, but it kept me engaged and guessing all the way to the end. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sara | 1/29/2012

    " Probably a 3.5 book. There's a lot that's good here: Victorian detail, particularly the pretty much hopeless task of being a maid in a large house. But a lot of threads are tangled up and sort of knotted quickly at the end, and I'm not that clear on the author's intent. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Carolyn | 9/13/2011

    " There were many twists and turns in this dark mystery set in Victorian England. Perhaps a bit too many for my taste and the change of narrator for me made the story a bit disjointed. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Janelle | 5/28/2011

    " Learning about anthropometry was interesting but couldn't make up for the fact that I disliked every character in this book. In the end I couldn't bring myself to care what happened to them, which made the mysteries decidedly less gripping than they should have been. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Linda | 5/22/2011

    " Tried to listen to this audio book and just couldn't get into it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Debra Morris | 8/24/2010

    " I loved this book. It really captures the whole servant/master dynamic. Brightwell develops interesting women characters and the atmosphere of the time well. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sjfstudio | 8/9/2010

    " A Victorian mystery - everyone has a secret. Upstairs/Downstairs look at life in London at the end of the 19th century. An interesting read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Debra | 7/14/2010

    " I loved this book. It really captures the whole servant/master dynamic. Brightwell develops interesting women characters and the atmosphere of the time well. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Joyce | 2/11/2010

    " Interesting enough, but doesn't grab you. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dorsi | 9/3/2009

    " I enjoyed this book immensely. Wonderfully developed characters, good story. I did not, however, like the ending. The ending was just a bit depressing. I will definitely read more books by this author. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Andrea | 3/24/2009

    " Mystery set in London in 1893. "

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