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Monday, August 2, 2010

To Tame a Wolf by Wendy Stone

To Tame a Wolf by Wendy Stone
Publisher: Phaze Books
Genre: Historical
Length: Short Story (113 pgs)
Other: M/F, Forced Seduction
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Rose hadn't had the easiest of beginnings in this world. Her father had been killed, her mother taken by their conqueror. But when the Black Hawke decided he wanted to marry her mother and raise her as his daughter, Rose's mother hadn't been able to refuse.

But now Rose had reached her eighteenth season and a marriage contract had been made, a man chosen. Rose's excitement waned though, when her bridegroom seemed almost disinterested, caring little of her welfare or her comfort.

A stranger watched her, a handsome knightly man with fair hair and eyes that seemed to know what she looked like without her chemise. Would Rose be able to resist this man, to stay faithful to her bridegroom who showed such little concern for her? Would she be able to go back to Geoffrey and do what her father asked or would taming a Wolf be more to her liking? Would she be torn apart by this battle between her Wulf and the bridegroom chosen by her father or will she find the happily ever after she so desperately wants?

In a time when knights fought and women were used to seal alliances between holdings and kingdoms, a rare woman of spirit narrowly escapes a horrid marriage only to be a pawn in another game.

Rose is a woman whose very life is a miracle. She grew up with a loving family, respected and educated. She is brought up to be a lady who accepts that her father will do his best for her in his choice of husband. A reader sees a clear picture of her vitality, her enthusiasm for life and her joy in being with people. The author did a wonderful job in creating a character that made me want to smile. Which is the perfect set up for the horror I felt when I realized what kind of man her future husband might be.

Rose was not born to the man who is her father. In fact, I will caution readers about the first chapter. Bear in mind that this time period was harsh, full of warring factions and death was common. So was conquest and to the conqueror go the spoils – spoils that include people, to be used and treated as the conqueror chooses. Keep that thought for reference and a reader should be fine, because what comes after that harrowing chapter is a very well told tale of desperate justice and power plays, of redemption and hope and a purity of love that saves the day.

Wulf is a man that should have had the world as his oyster. Instead, he’s a man on the run with little more than hopes and dreams of rescuing himself and his people. He’s a man of action however and has an inner core of strength he draws upon when his plans get complicated. Nothing complicates a straightforward power play more than falling in love with the pawn. He then becomes a guy who thinks he can have his cake and eat it too, but finds out that this particular woman has a backbone, a sharp tongue and a passion that unmans him. I like it when a guy gets befuddled just by a woman’s smile. True, his being a warrior makes him a bit dense in the female mind department, but he gets the job done in his own bold and rather romantic style. Certainly he knows how to seduce a woman and those scenes are written quite well.

I have to say that I felt like I was mislead about the paranormal element in this book. I never saw one. I think there were some hints but they never materialized or were not followed through on enough to qualify as that genre. I am perfectly happy to call this a historical romance and leave it at that. There are some great characters who need no paranormal abilities to get the job done. They are courageous, brutal men of their times whose ability with sword and cunning mind are all the talents needed to reach their goals and that’s all I saw used. The scene with the hut in the woods was jarring and meaningless to me. I enjoyed the story well enough without it.

The villain of the story was truly vile and the author did an excellent job of convincing me of it. I enjoyed the dialogue, pace of the story and most of the characters that peopled it. I even ended up liking Rose’s father when I never thought I would.

To Tame a Wolf does not leave a reader unaffected. It has some powerful writing which bring certain scenes to vivid life and made me uncomfortable. I read the story in one sitting because the action, the people and the plot were riveting. Rose has a brain and uses it despite the fact women at that time weren’t expected to. Wulf is the definition of a man’s man, fighting against desperate odds to reclaim his home and his future with hopes a spunky and courageous woman will be by his side. I really liked this book and recommend it to readers who are looking for more than fluff.

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