Sadly on the 31st October I had to say goodbye to the R.I.P event, but that didn’t mean I had to stop my dark and atmospheric reading. I decided to continue it with the supernatural Lamp Black, Wolf Grey by Paula Brackston.
Laura and Dan Matthews have a strained relationship as the lack of children begins to wear them down. Hoping to renew their love and give them a better chance at conceiving Laura makes the drastic choice to up sticks, from the hustle and bustle of London, and make a new home in the beautiful Welsh mountains. For Laura this seemingly idyllic place is to hold history, magic, danger, terrible regrets and the legendary figure of Merlin. For once Merlin walked these very same mountains and visited Laura’s new home to see his true love, Megan. Laura is to find that her life is inescapably intertwined with those of the past.
I love dual time period novels and this is an interesting one. We have Laura, a young artist, narrate the present time and Megan, the nurse-maid to the Lord’s sons, in the past; both are brave, strong and relatable women. While we have the chance to get to know Merlin and his powers in the past and present. I found both threads of the story and both narrators interesting to read about. Although I think I liked Megan more because Laura makes some terrible decisions, which I know she needed to make for the story to continue but they still upset me. However it is these terrible decisions that also make the present story the most gripping of the two.
The wild, isolated and beautiful setting of the Welsh mountains was almost itself a character. I have never read anything by Paula Brackston before and what drew me to this book was the Welsh setting and the legendary Merlin. I love magic and I love Wales; it being a place I grew up visiting every summer holidays. Brackston really took me back there with her words. The lush green valleys, lonely farmsteads, castles and shady woods which can be illuminated by glorious sunshine or where the fog and storm clouds can so quickly cover.
The only downside for me was the stronger focus on romance and sex this had then I was expecting. I found Merlin and Megan’s relationship really lovely. As I thought their interactions came across natural and innocent. Sadly however I didn’t enjoy Laura’s relationships. This was because of the erotic detail which made some of those terrible decisions, I spoke of earlier, even less relatable for me. This is just my personal taste though and I can see how Brackston did this for effect.
Lamp Black, Wolf Grey was a gripping book which swept me off to a world of magic, history and legend. Good read.
Thank you to the publishers for providing a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.
Have you read this? Or anything else by Paula Brackston?