9 January 2013


Author: Alison Croggon
Series: No, standalone
UK Publisher: Walker
UK Release date: 3rd January 2013
Genre: Fantasy
Kindly given by the publisher for an honest review

Inspired by Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, BLACK SPRING reimagines the passionate story in a fantasy 19th century society sustained by wizardry and the vengeance code of vendetta.
Anna spent her childhood with Damek and her volatile foster sister Lina, daughter of the Lord of the village. Lina has magical powers, and in this brutal patriarchal society women with magical powers are put to death as babies. Lina’s father, however, refuses to kill her but when vendetta explodes in their village and Lina’s father dies, their lives are changed forever. Their new guardian Masko sends Anna away and reduces Lina to the status of a servant. Damek—mad with love for Lina—attempts to murder Masko, then vanishes for several years. Anna comes home five years later to find Lina about to marry a pleasant young farmer, and witnesses Damek’s vengeful return and its catastrophic consequences. (Goodreads)

Black Spring is a re-imagining of the classic Wuthering Heights, embellished with fantasy elements. The story includes witches, wizards, and a strange vendetta that must down through families to enrich the King's coffers.With these fantasy elements, Black Spring will appeal to a new, younger audience that may not have already read Emily Bronte's classic, as well as fans of the tale.

I was surprised that in this retelling, the key plot points stayed the same but the character names had changed. Because of this, the start felt very different to the original and I had a little trouble trying to equate the characters in this book with the original (although I do realise that each book should be read on its own merits, and not compared, it is difficult for me to do with such a well known book). Having said this, I think the new names better suited the new setting and fantasy elements, rather than the historical, British feel.

The addition of the family vendettas, wizards and curses gave a more ominous backdrop to the doomed love between Lina and Damek, as well as adding interest and action to the plot. For me, it also gave credence to Lina’s (aka Cathy’s) behaviour and went a little way to explaining her drastic change in demeanour. Yes, I understand that Damek’s leaving would have caused Lina to be deeply upset, but I also think such a strong willed young woman would have more strength of character. And of course the wild character of Lina was perfectly suited to being a potential witch.

Just as with the original, Alison Croggon has created an atmosphere of gloom and despair in the isolated village, and this gloom haunts the characters throughout. If you enjoyed the original and like fantasy, or if you want to read a dark tale of despair, then Black Spring will be perfect.

Rating: 4*

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