Author: Shawntelle Madison
Publisher: Ballantine Books, Random House
Genre: ADULT: urban fantasy romance
In a genre that is overflowing with shape-shifters Madison has managed a story that, although it had the necessary similarities imposed by the nature of the characters, was unique and interesting enough to hold my attention throughout. It’s quirky and action packed on many levels; personal, romantic and life-threatening.
Werewolf, Natalya Stravinsky, isn’t like any other of the species I’ve read about because she has a compulsive disorder. She hoards holiday trinkets and is a clean freak—a fact that is at odds with her wolfy nature. She has returned from New York city to her hometown to recover from her split with gorgeous ex-boyfriend, Thorn, but when Thorn returns home, the two discover that the spark between them remains intense. She has been kicked out of the pack for refusing an arranged marriage to another wolf, and he is the pack leader’s son now promised to a suitably high status mate. The tension between their desire and their need to stay away from each other provides the grit for the romance, and the neighbouring pack’s desire to occupy the pack’s land provides the action component for the story.
An unusual sub-theme in the book is mental health, and the author provides the reader with some insight into obsessive compulsive disorders. Natalya goes to a therapy group for the anxious and enchanted where she meets a handsome wizard who vies for her affection.
Not only does Thorn and the Wizard covet her, the leader of the rival pack wants her dead and no one is quite sure why he’s interested in a low status wolf like her. We don’t find out at the end of the book, but we get an inkling, enough to promise interesting developments in the next book. Being the target of blood thirsty werewolves doesn’t help Natalya’s anxiety and neither does her fickle relationship with her family and her pack. She has to find her strength and help save her pack and, ultimately, herself.
I enjoyed reading this book and couldn’t fault its execution. Highly recommended for urban fantasy fans .