Lamp Black, Wolf Grey

Written by Paula Brackston
Review by Nicole Evelina

This is a dual time period fantasy that tells two interwoven stories. One is of modern- day woman Laura, who moves to an idyllic Welsh country cottage to escape the stress of her life as an artist in London, which she believes is preventing her and her husband, Dan, from conceiving a baby. The parallel storyline is that of Megan and Merlin (yes, the Merlin), who inhabited the area more than a thousand years before, a story of tragic love. When the two stories come together, it’s under the auspices of redemption and second chances, along with a frightening tale of obsession and greed.

While the premise of the book is intriguing, and the language and description are as evocative and atmospheric as any reader of Brackston’s other books would expect, this story didn’t quite hinge together for me. There’s nothing inherently bad about it, but the plot felt contrived, as though there was a crucial element missing that would have made the stories flow seamlessly. I felt like I was reading two, maybe three, stories that were being forced together in a way that just wasn’t quite comfortable. As a huge Arthurian legend fan, I expected a lot more from the Merlin storyline, which makes me wish she hadn’t used Merlin and just renamed her magic-user something else. The modern storyline was predictable and felt like one I’ve read before, so there wasn’t nearly the fear or suspense such a tale should have invoked.

While it’s a passable book, one that Brackston’s fans likely will be eager to read, it’s not one you need to move to the top of your TBR pile.