Monday, June 3, 2019

Lamp Black, Wolf Grey by Paula Brackston

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, nursemaid 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 refused to help Lord Geraint, it was Megan who may pay the price. From New York Times best-selling 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 listeners are sure to fall in love with.

Publisher: Macmillan Audio | Narrator: Marisa Calin | Length: 10 hrs and 30 mins Genre: Fantasy/Fiction/Paranormal | Source: Purchased | Rating: 2 Cups
Challenges Read For: 2019 Try Something New- New-to-me Author
You know when you read a book and it leaves you scratching your head, wondering what you just read? Well, my friends, that’s what this book had me doing. Honestly, three weeks later and I’m still wondering what I read.
I had high hopes for this book. So many people have compared it to the works of Susanna Kearsley—my favorite author—that I knew I had to give it a go. Big mistake. This book was all over the place.
We have the story of Laura and Dan—they’re married and moved to the Welsh countryside for a quieter life with hopes of conceiving a child. There’s something about Blaencwm (the house they moved into) that seems to have Laura’s lady bits wanting all the men. First, she enters into an affair with Rhys, this nutty little hermit living down the road who believes himself to be Merlin. It was obvious from the start the man had problems yet here Laura was shagging him like they were rabbits every time her husband went back to London on work. Then there was this weird thing going between Laura and the actual Merlin—I’m still a little puzzled by that whole ordeal. Laura wasn’t even a likable character from the start. She was selfish and demanding and always had something to whinge about.
Woven through Laura’s romps was the story of Megan, a nursemaid, and how she fell in love with Merlin yet their relationship was thwarted by Lord Geraint who was intent on claiming Megan as his mistresses and the magician Merlin for his weapon of war. This was the story that kept me reading. Megan’s story was great and pulled different aspects from various Arthurian legends but, sadly it wasn’t enough to save the book.
I spent the majority of the book thinking/hoping the stories would eventually met somewhere along the line. I kept trying to convince myself that it would eventually turn out that Laura was getting a chance to right the wrongs done to Megan. Honestly, I thought it was going to come down to Laura being a reincarnation of Megan and, unfortunately, that never happened. This was actually two different stories horribly mashed up into one book.
There was no justifiable means (i.e. the Laura/Rhys being reincarnated) for Laura to suddenly have these overwhelming desires for Rhys and Merlin and this instant, on the spot connection to them. Laura’s story was basically a bunch of nonsense that would have my grandmother clutching her pearls and saying, “tis a pit she’s a whore”.
Let’s not forget the fact there was so much potential by putting Merlin into the story. Although for some reason, it just became weird. Rather than making Merlin an actual person, there was this odd explanation in Laura’s story that he was just a character from a book that was wished to life by those who read about him. Like I said, it left me scratching my head.
Oddly enough, I found that I enjoyed the narrator. Marisa Calin added a nice Welsh inflection into the story and was rather easy to listen to.
Overall, I wasted an Audible credit and ten and a half hours of my life with this book. The only reason I gave it a 2 cup rating—which was rather generous—is because I did like Megan’s story, sadly the rest of the book was rubbish.