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*ARC generously provided by the publisher via NetGalley
For more information please visit Susan Krinard's website.
Branded an outcast by the noble branch of his werewolf clan, Cort Renier had come to San Francisco seeking fortune—and revenge. What he found was a mysterious beauty who could not—or would not—reveal who she truly was. At first glance she seemed vulnerable and afraid, like so many girls caught up in the debauchery of the city's whiskey-soaked gambling dens. But one look into her stunning turquoise eyes and he knew he'd found the winning hand.
Aria di Reinardus had reasons of her own for concealing her identity, but Cort's kisses were more than enough to convince her to go along with his plan to transform her into a missing heiress and return her to her "family." But they were not the only ones with secrets to keep and vengeance in mind, and they were about to discover that some destinies couldn't be outrun…
Luck of the Wolf by Susan Krinard is filled with calculated manipulation, betrayal and deceit while keeping the whimsical story of a budding romance alive and well. Melded wonderfully with a story that seems like it should be straight out of a fairy tale, I was enthralled with the world that was brought to life in these pages.
As this was my first time reading Krinard’s work I started out a little skeptical that the romance would keep me interested. However, I was soon put at ease because the plot is very intricate with layers of secrets and deceits that are continually being stripped away, thus slowly revealing the true nature of the characters. This added a nice suspense to the novel because you are never really sure at any given time what any of their true motives are throughout the story. I really enjoyed this aspect; it added a depth with the ever increasing plot-within a-plot scenarios that played out well against the more enchanting backdrop about a far away European kingdom, its murdered king and queen, and their missing daughter. It was also interesting to see how that would play out against a more menial mystery about a missing girl from a prominent New Orleans werewolf clan. Not to mention how any of this tied back to the main characters that seem so separated from these events. All in all I was really captured by the complexities and how all the threads tied into a nice bow at the end that left only a few unanswered questions.
I also loved the complexities of the characters themselves. From the main characters to the secondary characters they all have a unique history and voice as well as hidden agendas and secrets. First impressions are often misleading in this respect and the true provence of the characters is slowly revealed to the readers over a long span which leads to some shocking discoveries in the long run.
Like I said, first impression are often misleading in this book and mine of the main character Aria is no exception. There is a weakness and naiveté about her at first glance and I began the story thinking she could only play the victim, hiding behind strong male leads, and while to some extent that was true, she comes to demonstrate an iron will and a stubborn disposition that was remarkable. She is a free spirit who unabashedly says whatever is on her mind, but is continually made to believe that she should be demure if she is to fit into ‘polite society’. Through her we see the hypocrisy of the time and come to love her inner defiance. She is quite a rational and intelligent female character who follows her head and her heart instead of bending to the whims and manipulations of others. This in itself conflicts greatly with her often childlike representation and we are forced to accept the woman behind the mask of innocence.
Cort is likewise an interesting and complicated character. He grew up in a rather deprived part of the Louisiana swamps outside of New Orleans and after being ‘put in his place’ by the wealthy New Orleans clan he struck out on his own determined to return one day a true gentleman, both polished and civilized. He is ashamed of his dual natures choosing to ignore the werewolf inside of him, feeling it to be something barbaric and unclean. However, he comes to doubt this new sense of self when he meets Aria. She embraces that part of herself as well as luxuriating in her own less than extravagant up bringing. He is constantly conflicted between these two worlds as his head and his heart vary greatly in their desires. However, despite this inner tumult he is a devoted and loyal friend to those around him and has a humble charm that is appealing even when his stubbornness gets the better of him.
Between these two, the chemistry is also wonderfully written. There is a rhythm to it with constant ebbs and flows that keep the reader on edge hoping to see the them finally come to their senses and embrace the love that we see so clearly. Constantly I was ensnared by the change of moods in the characters in this respect, eagerly waiting for the moments when they let their shields down and gave in to their inner desires.
The writing style was also quite enjoyable. I loved the voices of the characters as well as the fluidity with which Krinard was able to switch point of views. It was nice being able to see inside the heads of the various characters and get a sense of them and the motives that drove them. She did a marvelous job making it an effortless change on the part of the reader and I was left not having to think about the change of tone or pace because I was instantly aware of the part I was reading. Therefore it was merely enlightening and interesting instead of tedious and annoying as most books can be when they institute this particular device.
Overall, I really enjoyed this novel. While Historical Romance is not my typical genre I was really drawn into the story and intrigued by the characters. The slight addition of a paranormal twist making the characters werewolves was a definite plus for me, however I was left feeling it could have been explored a little more thoroughly. That said I definitely recommend this novel for any fan of the genre!
My Rating: 4 out of 5 Scars
Adviosry: Contains some sexual content