Publisher: Kensington Brava
Pub Date: June 28, 2011 (different version prev. pubbed as Heart of the Winter Wolf)
Length: 376 pages
FTC: Review copy courtesy of the publisher
This one surprised me by how much I liked it. It's sort of like a Rip Van Winkle werewolf story, which is unusual by itself. But it's also set in Canada, which I found a bit refreshing, too.
Dani Harper has a strong voice, something I always appreciate. There's nothing worse than picking up a book that reads just like every other book out there, but thankfully that wasn't the case here.
James has spent the last 30 years in wolf form, eschewing his human half as a way to escape the grief of losing his wife and unborn child in a horrific act of violence. It's not until Jillian, a new vet at his brother's clinic, arrives that he has any interest in slowly returning to life as a human. And once he does, he discovers that time felt differently in wolf form, and the world is far different from the one he left.
Jillian is a victim of a violent assault, but she's used the experience to make herself strong. Her only concession to weakness is dreaming about a white wolf, something that brings her comfort and a feeling of safety. She gets a bit of a shock, though, when she discovers after her move to a new vet clinic that her dream wolf is 100% real. And not a normal wolf at all.
My only problems with the book were in the very end.
I am not a fan of the whole accidental pregnancy trope. And while I get that the dangers faced by Jillian are supposed to echo what happened to James in the past, I still didn't like it. Especially since no one bothered to tell Jillian that birth control doesn't work all that well with Changelings. What is that? An "oops?" Seems like important info to have. (Or at the very least, someone should have told James to use a condom).
My other problem with the book was that James never really found the time to tell Jillian who and what he was. He plans a life with her, but won't tell her the truth? She only finds out when there's no other option but to tell her. And even then, it's not James who reveals what he is, but his family.
I also found the whole terminology thing (Changeling) to be a bit hokey and awkward—capitalized throughout the text, no less. But it wasn't disruptive enough to really annoy me.
Book history: Dani Harper has been totally upfront about this being a reworked version of an older title, Heart of the Winter Wolf. You can read the whys and hows here.
Cover critique: I can't figure out what is up with this cover, but it looks like Photoshop gone terribly wrong. Is that her back?...but then we have the necklace. And her head looks almost Exorcist twisted. It's definitely not a sexy cover.
My Grade: B+
In times of stress Jillian Descharme has always found calm in her dream of a great white wolf with haunting blue eyes. But she is startled when the visions return and this time seem so real. Late at night he comes to her, speaks to her, touches her.
Thirty years ago James Macleod lost his wife and unborn child to a killer bent on destroying the Changelings. Though he longed for death, his animal instinct fought for survival and James has been a wolf ever since. Yet now a woman has reawakened the man in him, taming wild instincts but arousing still wilder needs. With his ancient enemy hunting the legendary white wolf, James must fight for new life, new hope, new love.