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Monday, March 26, 2012

The Wolf Who Loved Me by Lydia Dare

The Wolf Who Loved Me by Lydia Dare
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Historical, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (387 pgs)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Lady Madeline Hayburn Has Money Problems...

Specifically, she has so much of it that she's dogged by fortune hunters, including her bewilderingly attractive, penniless neighbor, with his wild nature and uncouth manners...

Weston Hadley Has An Identity Crisis...

Specifically, he's just turned into a wolf while Madeline was watching. Now it's up to the regal lady to tame the wild beast...if she can...

There’s that certain saucy something about those rapscallion Hadley men that makes a woman sit up and take notice while trying to act as if she’s not. Back in the day, women did not boldly ogle men no matter how devilishly handsome they might be. Instead they admired behind fans, in whispers and with covert glances. That’s the usual course but Lady Madeline Hayburn is far from typical, and that made her the perfect foil for Weston Hadley’s downfall. It’s that whole man, wolf, woman, mate thing that makes The Wolf Who Loved Me completely entertaining and fun.

Once again Ms. Dare has delivered a tasty treat by bringing together two fascinating and mismatched people, and the author has them fall in love despite numerous episodes of mix-ups, twisted intentions, humorous hijinks and serious drama. I was delighted to see some of my favorite people from previous books lend a helping hand to the two hapless lovers-to-be. There's an incredible amount of sensual build-up and teasing that just about drives the hero over the edge. And when he awakens Maddie to the pleasures her own body is capable of, she’s not too far behind him in the wanting. That sense of frustration is actually quite funny at times due to the various reasons they keep getting delayed. It's a very interesting courtship.

Part of the interruption comes from the secondary characters. Ms. Dare has not only brought in some people I’ve “met” before, but also some new and interesting people who are quite imperfect, totally improper and utterly effective in spicing up the plot conflict. The author does apply the frequently used “miscommunication/It’s not what it looks like” ploy to derail the forward motion of the romance. I suspect it was to allow the main characters to clear up their misconceptions about their relationship and focus on what is truly important – each other. Nothing spurs them quite so well as the threat of a strange man sniffing around what belongs to another. In that regard, my opinions of the scoundrel in question ping ponged all over the place. The one fact that stood out about that guy and which piqued my interest were the mixed signals he gave off leading me to believe he has secrets. Ones that I might be very tempted to want to read about in a future story. Only the author knows if that will be an eventual possibility. Certainly in this book, he was entertaining and integral to the movement of the story.

As for the heroine, Maddie, I liked her a lot. In fact, she has one of the funniest knee-slapping scenes in the whole book. I felt so bad for her because she was so clueless and thought she was being oh, so clever. I simply could not stop laughing. As for Wes, he tried, he surely did, but even he couldn’t withhold from telling her what she actually did. The end result was pure giggles. Poor Maddie. She was so proud of herself too. That’s one bit of education I don’t think she’ll ever forget. **VBG**

It’s not all roses and playful barks. There is huge emotional turmoil that dogs Wes’s romance with Maddie that almost broke my heart. Two lovers from different levels of the nobility compound their internal angst with wanting the best for the other and willing to sacrifice everything to ensure they get it. Talk about tortured martyrs! Good thing one of them broke down and did the most public and profound action that ensured complete understanding. But I’m not going to tell readers what that person did because it’s so wonderfully unusual, knowing anything more would ruin the big moment.

The Wolf Who Loved Me is another wonderful story that will hold an honored spot on my keeper shelf. Ms. Dare has written hit after hit and this book is no different. The dialogue is witty and rapid-fire and it keeps the flow brisk and fascinating; the relationships are at times amazingly convoluted yet emotional and all the characters take turns acting silly, ornery, and honorable to a fault, fractious and altruistic. As for the protagonists, Maddie and Wes are terrific together. I enjoyed how they went from being strangers to lovers, from feeling unhappy to over the moon and from being lonely to bringing out the best in each other. Love inspires greatness in others and this story explores that saying in wonderful detail. The best thing about this particular tale is how clear every personality becomes as each person talks, complains, schemes, insults or makes jokes. They seem vividly alive and full of the kinds of faults and foibles that makes us human and yet, love finds them and redeems them. It doesn’t get any better than that. I adore Ms. Dare’s Regency werewolves; they’re so fun!