The Lantern, by Deborah Lawrenson
This is another book my boss asked me to screen for her, but luckily I had a completely difference response: it's absolutely fantastic. "The Lantern" is Lawrenson's first novel, and it doesn't even show. Simultaneously a love paean to Provence and a story of ghosts and murders, the writing is incredibly lush and vibrant. Scent plays a very strong role in the novel, and Lawrenson writes of it with ease and sensuality. Though the beginning is a bit awkward, the reader quickly gets her bearings and is welcomed into the all-encompassing solitude of two people drawn inexorably to each other. The relationship grows and changes, as do those living in it, while in the background we try to figure out the much darker tides that pull beneath the surface. I read this book, nearly 400 pages, in a day and a half. Any reader who luxuriates in skillful writing will love this book, no matter what their tastes in subject or genre. I cannot wait until this comes out in a couple of months to suggest it to everyone I know.