Lamp Black, Wolf Grey by Paula Brackston
Paula Brackston creates another beautiful novel that links the past and the present in mysterious ways. The vivid, descriptive language in this book is enchanting!
Publisher’s Description: In the latest from Paula Brackston, a young artist goes to the Welsh mountains in search of love, but is faced with ancient legends and a mysterious man from the past – Merlin himself.
Artist Laura Matthews finds her new home in the Welsh mountains to be a place so charged with tales and legends that she is able to reach through the gossamer-fine veil that separates her own world from that of myth and fable.
She and her husband Dan have given up their city life and moved to Blaencwm, an ancient longhouse high in the hills. Here she hopes that the wild beauty will inspire her to produce her best art and will give her the baby they have longed for. But this high valley is also home to others, such as Rhys, the charismatic loner who pursues Laura with fervor. And Anwen, the wise old woman from the neighboring farm who seems to know so much but talks in riddles. And then there is Merlin.
Lamp Black, Wolf Grey tells both Laura’s story and Merlin’s. For once he too walked these hills, with his faithful grey wolf at his heel. It was here he fell in love with Megan, nurse-maid to the children of the hated local noble, Lord Geraint. Merlin was young, at the start of his renowned career as a magician, but when he refuses to help Lord Geraint it is Megan who may pay the price.
From New York Times bestselling author Paula Brackston, Lamp Black, Wolf Grey is an enchanting tale of love and magic featuring her signature blend of gorgeous writing, an intriguing historical backdrop, and a relatable heroine that readers are sure to fall in love with.
Possible spoilers beyond this point.
This is my second Paula Brackston novel, and I feel very lucky to have received a review copy from NetGalley.
It should come as no surprise that the main character in Lamp Black, Wolf Grey is a painter; Brackston herself is an amazing painter, though she uses words instead of pigments. Her descriptions of the Welsh countryside are even more enchanting through the eyes of Laura Matthews, who sees an amazing array of color denied to most—and even has names for them. I don’t believe I have the sensitivity to identify Naples yellow, alizarin crimson, French Ultramarine, or Rose Madder from other similar colors; but using the language of paint makes me imagine a world of rich, vibrant color that I will probably never experience otherwise.
As in The Silver Witch, there are two parallel story lines in Lamp Black, Wolf Grey: that of Laura and Dave Matthews in the modern time and of Megan and Merlin in history. Both Laura and Megan are trapped by their decisions and desires, which put not only themselves in danger, but those they love as well.
I always struggle with picking a genre for Bracktson’s books. The two I have read are part historical fiction, part fantasy, part modern woman’s fiction, part ghost story, part romance; but yet not completely any one of these. Whatever you want to call them, they are magical and beautiful and I can’t get enough of them.
If you like this book…
You might try any of Paula Brackston’s other novels. If you like the Welsh version Merlin, check out the four-book Arthurian Saga by Mary Stewart: The Crystal Cave, The Hollow Hills, The Last Enchantment, and The Wicked Day. You can get them all in a boxed set, too.