Cleaving to the sensibility of the original, this love letter to Wuthering Heights is for fans of genuine Victorian Gothic.
On the Yorkshire moors–like Northern Plateau, city-born Hammel visits his landlord, perpetually angry and sadistic Damek. A dog bite forces Hammel to stay overnight. In his room, the ghost of long-dead Lina appears in a mirror. Racing back to his rented house, Hammel stays abed recovering while housekeeper Anna narrates what happened to Lina, Lina’s adopted brother, Damek, and herself “so long ago” in their childhood and teen years. This is the Land of Death, where vendetta is the law of the land: Any man killed must be avenged within a precise time period by a specific male relative, and then that killing must be avenged in kind, and so on. Generations-long strings of dictated murders devastate families and villages, yet vendetta is “the ground beneath us,” unquestionable, unchangeable and supposedly honorable. Damek and Lina’s family (unlike Anna’s) is exempt from vendetta due to royal blood, but Damek covets wealth, Lina might be a witch (punishable by death), and both crave vengeance when done wrong. Lina’s beauty is that of “superb pallor” and “dangerously bright” eyes; only stolid Anna keeps anything steady. Readers seeking the warm, solid core of Croggon’s Pellinor series won’t find it—Damek and Lina’s quasi-incestuous love is unbalanced and punishing—but Brontë devotees will swoon.
For those who take their romance tumultuous and doomed. (Gothic horror/fantasy. 14 & up)