Title: Black Spring by Alison Croggon
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Page count: 281 pages
Format: Ebook ARC
Rating – 4/5
In a savage land sustained by wizardry and ruled by vendetta, Lina is the enchanting but willful daughter of a village lord. She and her childhood companion, Damek, have grown up privileged and spoiled, and they’re devoted to each other to the point of obsession. But Lina’s violet eyes betray her for a witch, and witches are not tolerated in a brutally patriarchal society. Her rank protects her from persecution, but it cannot protect her from tragedy and heartbreak. An innocent visitor stands witness to the devastation that ensues as destructive longing unleashes Lina’s wrath, and with it her forbidden power. Whether drawn by the romantic, the magical, or the gothic, readers will be irresistibly compelled by the passion of this tragic tale.
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I am a big fan of Wuthering Heights and never tire of reading it so when I read that this book was inspired by it I had to request it.
Black Spring is about a small country village named Elbasa where life runs a little differently…the landscape is dark and craggy and the villagers still adhere to centuries old traditions. Lina, Damek and Anna grow up together and are swept up up in the tragic twists of fate where innocence is lost and love is as passionate as it is ruinous.
I ended up giving this book four stars because I really really liked it. I loved the darkness of it’s setting and it definitely was evocative of the feeling I had when reading Wuthering Heights. There is a strong romance here, as crazy as it ends up at the end. It is the kind of romance though that is dark and twisting, tragic in it’s end. I have seen some blurbs that liken the writing to that of Tolkien and heartily agree that the writing style is similar – elegant, gorgeous and dense. The story is split up into sections according to the perspective through which we are receiving it. We are given the story through two perspectives: Hammel who is somewhat vacationing in Elbasa and through Anna whom is a resident of the village and most importantly the one who recounts the vast majority of this book. I really think that this story could have been told solely through Anna’s perspective rather than also having Hammel’s perspective which didn’t really make much sense to me. I didn’t really care for his narrative but really liked the rest of the story as given through Anna.
The only character that I felt I really connected to (and this is quite possibly due to the bulk of the book being told through her perspective) was Anna. I didn’t like Lina’s character and I found myself intrigued by Damek in the first half of the book but once he leaves the village and comes back I just didn’t care for him anymore.
This book falls under the fantasy genre but it is pretty light on the fantasy. It does involve a witch, a little magic and a tiny amount of the paranormal. The feel is very gothic and classic. I recommend to fans of this style as well as fans of Wuthering Heights. It can be read without having read Wuthering Heights but I think having read it enabled me to get the full effect of the book and I definitely enjoyed it.