Black Spring

Black Spring

This was my most anticipated novel of 2013 and Alison Croggon does not disappoint. Black Spring, based closely on Wuthering Heights, takes place in a fantasy world where the North is ruled by fearsome wizards and the vendetta, a blood revenge that means a series of murders spreading through each community. In the village of Elbasa, the witch Lina is outraged when her father adopts Damek, a dark and brooding character, but soon realises that she cannot live without him. But with Lina to be married, will her and Damek ever be together? Will her witch blood prove disastrous for them all?


Croggon is the master of description, and her worlds always come alive in her novels (for anyone who hasn’t come across The Books of Pellinor, I urge you to read them!). The bleak landscape of Brontë’s Wuthering Heights is effortlessly recreated with a fantasy streak that gives the story a fresh take. Croggon doesn’t just write the same story as a fantasy though – she rewrites it and makes it her own.


Having said that, I do think Black Spring could have been developed more. It does follow Wuthering Heights but there are a lot of gaps in the story. Some gaps can be effective but I felt that there was one too many. Wuthering Heights may not explain the character of Heathcliff, but Croggon has created a virtually new story in Black Spring which gave her the opportunity to explore Damek more. He fades too much into the background, and given that Black Spring is barely 300 pages long, there was far more scope available to explain Damek more.


Although not as gripping as The Books of Pellinor, Black Spring is a good, easy read. The story is driven forward by the complex character of Lina and by the haunting presence of the wizards who, although they don’t appear much in the novel, always seem to be hanging over the story and they make a gothic story even more chilling. A satisfying read and an original take on an old classic.

By Julia Molloy

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