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Friday, October 22, 2010

The Taming of the Wolf by Lydia Dare

The Taming of the Wolf by Lydia Dare
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Historical, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (373 pgs)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: 5 Books
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Lord Dashiel Thorpe has fought his true nature his entire life, but whenever the moonlight proves too powerful, Dashiel is unable to control the werewolf within him. It is on one such moonlit night that Dashiel accidentally bites the beautiful Scottish witch, Caitrin McLeod. Though now bound to him irrevocably, Cait decides that she wants nothing to do with him. When she flees to her native Scotland, Dashiel has no choice but to follow her and convince her that it was nothing short of destiny that has bound them together body and soul.

I knew the sparks were going to fly fast and furious when I found out who Dash actually bit and married. I expected a tumultuous courtship and it was even more fun that I’d hoped.

Dashiel Thorpe is more than a man but views himself as a monster. If a reader met him in the previous book, The Wolf Next Door, then he’ll be expected to be a bad guy; a rounder and a villain of the first water. If a reader has not met him before, then this book will depict him as he really is – a misunderstood, unloved and tormented man who only wants to belong but is angry and afraid of the world all at the same time. He’s angry because he’s different and he’s afraid because he doesn’t really want to hurt anyone but is sure it can’t be helped. Despite all he’s done and all that he’s been through, Dash really is like a Baby Ruth candy bar: Outside he’s all rough and bumpy but inside there’s a whole lot of sweetness that makes a reader just sigh in satisfaction. He is worth having a happy ever after, but he’s going to have to work at it. He’s a bit rusty and makes a lot of mistakes but that is what made me like him so much. He has this vulnerability about him that he tries to mask with the noble bearing that is inherently his, despite the nasty way his father treated him. There is a lot of pain in Dash’s life and as the story progresses a reader understands the scope of what he’s burdened with and it makes his loving Caitrin all the more special and powerful.

Caitrin is an absolute doll. I always liked her character in the previous books because she is opinionated, feisty and doesn’t take guff from anyone. On the other hand, if she’s wrong, she’ll admit it. She’s a strong personality with a stern inner core yet despite that resolve, she is also very tenderhearted, loyal and brave. She’s brave because going into crowded places hurts her, yet she does what she has to. She’s loyal to her sisters and friends and has their back. And her tenderheartedness comes into play not only with Dash but with someone else making the happily ever after sort of bittersweet. She’s a special lady whose fortitude is tested time and time again. The only person who can sway her and make her act a little silly and wanton is Dash and that made for some very fun and interesting interludes. I was so glad to see Cait getting her own man because she was a very influential character in the other books and I felt I’d gotten to know her enough that it was inevitable she’d have a chance at her own happiness.

What I didn’t expect was to see Alec again. Oh, that broke my heart. I liked him previously in the series and I liked him more now. I’m thrilled that he is a character I’ll see again. This book pretty much guaranteed that, and I couldn’t be happier. But it’s also foreshadowed that it won’t be easy. Something else is going to happen, a new element is introduced with a very light and teasing touch – but I caught it and am very intrigued. I wonder if other readers are getting the same idea I am.

As I said, secondary characters play important roles in this book plus I got to see Elspeth again, who is a very dear friend of Caitrin’s. I really enjoy when authors do that in a series, it’s like visiting family again and catching up on the news. It’s one of the reasons why this series stays on my keeper shelf; this book is no different.

I’d have to say the conflict is mostly internal between Dash coming to grips with what he really is and his place in life and Cait’s realization that for all her teasing of Elspeth’s choice of mate, she herself has gone to the dogs – and couldn’t be happier.

The Taming of the Wolf continues the tradition of what has become my favorite series to read because of its entertaining and vibrant characters, exceptional writing and dialogue and romances that really touch my heart and make me smile. The ending of this story was not what I expected because instead of wrapping up the Westfield storyline, it’s brought forth a new and exciting direction for readers to look forward to and I can’t wait. Caitrin’s meddling ended up opening a brand new chapter and I’m thrilled! Ms. Dare has done it again; provided a wonderful and fun reading experience that I can’t wait to share with my friends and tell them to read this series too. I can’t think of a higher recommendation than that.