From the BLURB:
The rules of Regency Society can be beastly - especially when you're a werewolf. Simon Westfield, the Duke of Blackmoor has spent his entire life creating scandal and mayhem. It doesn't help his wolfish temper that since he's rich, powerful, and sinfully handsome, the town is willing to overlook his outrageous behavior. Lily Rutledge has a wild streak of her own. When she turns to Simon for help, he falls for her immediately. For Simon is drawn to the fearless Lily more powerfully than the moon...
‘A Certain Wolfish Charm’ is a werewolf paranormal romance set in 1800’s England. I loved this novel.
Simon always believed that because of his lycan heritage he would never knowingly subject a wife to his beastly behavior or chance hurting her when the wolf came to the fore. Simon’s rejection of holy matrimony was influenced by his brother Daniel’s disastrous marriage to human woman, Emma. Though lycans marry human women (since there are no female werewolves), their wolf is able to ‘mate’ to their human wives. If the werewolf male ‘takes’ his wife while the wolf is prominent in him, and he marks her with his teeth during the throes of passion, then they are mated. Daniel attempted this, but Emma was forever terrified of him afterwards.
Simon never wants to risk exposing his deepest, darkest secret to the woman he loves, only to have her reject him. He can think of no greater horror. And so when he meets Lily, Simon has been living the lothario lifestyle. His female exploits have made for titillating reading in various society rags, and he is firmly set in his bachelor ways.
I really appreciated the fact that Lydia Dare didn’t conveniently forget Simon’s caddish behavior once he falls for Lily. His past becomes a point of contention between the two of them after their marriage – even more so when one of Simon’s ex’s makes an appearance, and stakes a claim. It would have been easy enough when the storyline concerns Lycanthropy, for Dare to conveniently dismiss such nitty-gritty complications to the Simon/Lily love story. But I really appreciated the fact that she addresses Simon’s past, and Lily’s sometimes discomfort with the knowledge of it. Dare even integrates Simon’s past into the werewolf storyline – by having Lily think he has reverted to his old whorish ways when he starts mysteriously disappearing once a month.
I loved Simon and Lily. Especially because readers are privy to Simon’s big, bad wolf secret, but Lily is none the wiser. Lydia Dare sticks close to Lycanthropy lore and seems conscious of the fact that her readers are cluey enough on the finer werewolf points to not need pages and pages of explanation.
It was interesting/frustrating to read Simon keep dodging Lily’s enquiries and inklings and the various manifestations of his werewolf traits;
Lily sniffed and pulled her hand from his. He immediately reached to capture it again. And didn’t let go.
“One thing we need to be very clear about is that you are never to pull away from me. I might annoy you to the end of time, but you mustn’t take yourself away from me. Not any part of you. From your hands to your feet. In fact, I believe we should solidify this rule right now.”
Lily’s heart jumped in her chest. “Rule?” she was able to choke out.
“Yes. You may beat my furniture. You may even strike me when you’re so frustrated with me you just can’t tolerate any more, but you will never take away what’s most important to me. And that’s you.”
My one complaint about the book was the rather rushed romance between Simon and Lily. To some extent, I did buy the oft-used reasoning that Simon’s wolf-nature recognized his mate in Lily upon meeting her. But that didn’t change the fact that Simon had a fairly quick turn-around from ‘cad about town’ to ‘contented werewolf hubby’. That being said, a rushed-romance is usually my number 1. complaint in a paranormal werewolf romance. Most authors do rely on the ‘mating instinct’ to explain away the fast-paced romance, so maybe it’s just a personal pet peeve of mine.
This was a very sweet paranormal romance read. I really liked the fact that it was a werewolf story set in the 1800’s and that Lydia Dare addressed supernatural as well as humdrum relationship obstacles for her characters.
Thanks to book addict, Patti, for recommending this series.