Tuesday, May 25, 2010
'Tall, Dark and Wolfish' by Lydia DARE
FROM THE BLURB:
The reckless, rakish younger brother of a powerful duke, Lord Benjamin Westfield transforms into a wolf under the light of the full moon - until one fateful evening when he doesn't change and his life is shattered. Fearing he may never be able to change again, Benjamin sets out for Scotland in search of a witch who can heal his inner beast. The noble werewolf is drawn to the beautiful young woman, but what does he have to offer in this broken state?
I was a little hesitant going into this one. I really loved ‘A Certain Wolfish Charm’. In that first novel, Lydia Dare set up the plot for at least two future books focused on lycanthrope brothers Ben and Will Westfield.
Ben was mentioned in passing, and because Will was the brother whom Dare set-up a clear love interest, I assumed his book would be next. I was a little disheartened to learn that ‘Tall, Dark & Wolfish’ would be Ben’s book. I was even more disheartened to learn that his love interest would be a Scottish witch.
Like Ben, I made the connection to the three witches of Shakespeare’s infamous ‘Macbeth’ play and was generally uninterested in a werewolf/witch romance. Boy, was I wrong.
Elspeth is a healer. She takes other people’s illnesses and injuries into herself and alleviates their pain. Elspeth’s witchy magic is less about ‘double trouble, toil and bubble’ and more about spirituality, herbal remedies and even zen-healing.
Elspeth is a wonderful heroine. She was born out of wedlock to her witchy mother, Rose, and has beared the brunt of Edinburgh’s small-minded and sometimes cruel societal cast. What high-society doesn’t know is that Elspeth is half lycan, and her werewolf father abandoned her and her mother while Elspeth was still in the womb.
Enter Ben Westfield, who is in dire need of healing. Ben is a lycan, but after a troublesome encounter with a prostitute he has lost his ability to transform into his wolf. Elspeth and her coven of witches are recommended to Ben in order to correct his ailment... so off he goes to Edinburgh, to be bewitched by Elspeth.
I loved Ben and Elspeth. There’s instantaneous attraction, but Dare balances out the immediate lust by having Ben be reluctant to endanger Elspeth’s life when his wolf comes to the fore (especially with the memory of an injured prostitute fresh in his mind).
Elspeth lives up to her hair and is one fiery little heroine. I loved the fact that she doesn’t stand down to Ben’s bull-headedness, and equally that Ben revels in her tough attitude.
Plus these two are utterly scorching in the bedroom;
Elspeth turned to take a towel from the rack behind her and found Ben blocking her path. How had he moved so fast?
“Speed,” he whispered before his lips pressed to her temple. “It’s one of our traits.”
“Do ye do everythin’ so fast?” she asked.
One eyebrow lifted. He smiled as he brushed a lock of hair from her face. “No. There are some things that should be done slowly.”
In this second novel, Lydia Dare effectively introduces a new cachet of characters to carry the rest of the series. Elspeth’s coven is made up of three other young witches who have various abilities; psychic, ability to control the weather and an ability to control plants. These women are wonderfully introduced, and though their scenes are small, Dare certainly gives each of them vibrant personalities that I look forward to reading in future novels.
Dare also does a wonderful job of setting up the romance for book #3 ‘The Wolf Next Door’. This will be Will Westfield’s book, though his story and romance with Prisca Hawthorne started in book #1. I started out wishing that this second book would be Will’s, but Lydia Dare does such a great job of adding more layers and complications to Will’s love life that I completely understand why she needed one more book in which to set the scene. There will certainly be angst, but I am most certainly looking forward to reading about Will’s complicated love life!
If I have any complaints, it’s that I would have liked for Simon and Lily (of ‘A Certain Wolfish Charm’) to make a reappearance; but Ben & Elspeth steal the show so effectively that I only lamented their missing for a moment.
This werewolf series is fresh for the fact that it’s set in 1800’s England and the lycanthrope heroes are trying to mingle in polite Ton society. Dare knows her way around a sex scene, and her heroes and heroines are feisty, loyal and sweet. Thanks again to Patti of ‘book addict’ fame for introducing me to this hot little series!