Black Spring by Alison Croggan 3/5
Blurb: Black Spring takes the passionate story of Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights and re-imagines it in a fantasy nineteenth-century society set in savage lands sustained by wizardry, where its people live by the vengeance code of vendetta. Like Wuthering Heights, it’s a story within a story, featuring the brooding young Damek, who is swept along by his emotions. The object of his affections is Lina, daughter of the village lord, whose magical powers make her a witch and witches are not tolerated in this brutally patriarchal society. When Lina is sent away and forced to become a servant, Damek promises revenge and, like Heathcliff, spends a lifetime securing and refining it.
The author doesn’t shy away from the fact that Black Spring is a retelling of Wuthering Heights. I went in with my eyes open, and optimistic as I enjoyed Wuthering Heights and don’t dislike a retelling if done well. That being said, I was a little shocked at how similar to Wuthering Heights it actually is. I felt a little short changed. If I wanted to read Wuthering Heights I would have taken my old copy off the shelf. Black Spring is Wuthering Heights with a hint of witchcraft and wizardry.
I liked that the narrative is told from more than one point of view; Anna’s, Hammel’s, and Lina’s, and the characters remained true to form throughout. Anna (Nelly character) was always level headed, mild mannered, and mature. Lina (Cathy character) was always spoilt, self-absorbed, and childish, and Damek (Heathcliff character) was always brooding, dark, and hidden. Hammel, however, was an unnecessary character in my opinion.
Croggan’s writing style perfectly captures the Gothic element to the book and her prose is easy to read. Her world building, layering lore and blood vendettas into a bleak, cold society is spot on, and I can’t fault her portrayal of the dark, haunted romance between Lina and Damek. I would have just preferred elements of Wuthering Heights with a changed story frame, but that is personal preference to each reader.
My 3/5 is a reflection on the strict similarities between Black Spring and Wuthering Heights, not on Croggan’s impressive writing style. Like I said, this author openly states that it is a retelling of Wuthering Heights, it just depends on how similar you like your retelling to be.
The opinions expressed here are those of K.J.Chapman and no other parties.
All books reviewed on this blog have been read by K.J.Chapman
K.J.Chapman has not been paid for this review.