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Laura's Wolf, by Lia Silver

Laura’s Wolf makes me think I should take up reading more romances—but maybe I should just take up reading more Lia Silver. I hear she’s at work on a sequel to Laura’s Wolf, which is excellent news, because these characters are **wonderful**, and I could read about them all day.

I never thought of myself as a potential romance fan, much less a paranormal romance fan, but I loved this story about a werewolf marine. If I say “werewolf marine,” you’re probably either already sold on the notion or else rolling your eyes. If you’re already sold, boy do you have a treat in store, because this takes that concept and fleshes it out, makes it so real that you can not only see and hear it, but taste, touch and smell—especially smell—it. You can live it. And if you’re rolling your eyes, well, consider giving it a try anyway. The two main characters, Roy (the werewolf marine) and Laura (a con artist gone straight), are wonderful, loveable, complicated people. They’re both hurting, but they’re capable of goofing around, too. Here’s a scene from when they first meet:

“The power’s on. I was wounded in Afghanistan. Electric lights hurt my eyes now.”
All three statements were true, at least. He hoped she wouldn’t ask for more details.
To his relief, she only asked, “Which branch of service?”
“Semper fi?”
“Oorah,” Roy said automatically.
“What was that?”
“It means ‘yes, sir,’ or ‘good job,’ or ‘go for it.’ Or ‘someone just said our motto.’”

And a little later on, there’s this:

A dark flush stained Laura’s cheeks. “Now you’re Captain America. Aren’t you going to judge me?”
“Nah. I grew up in a rough neighborhood. Lots of my friends did worse.”
Laura sat there biting her lip, looking exactly as miserable as she had when she started. She’d worried that he’d judge her, he hadn’t judged her, and yet…
“What are you not telling me?” Roy inquired.
“You’re going to hate me,” she said again. “I— I kind of want to extend the moment while you don’t hate me yet, even though now that you know it’s coming, you already probably… pre-hate me.”
“Laura, this is nuts. Just tell me. It can’t possibly be as bad you think.”

Light, believable humor shared by real people. I mentioned they’re both hurting: Roy has been serving in Afghanistan, and Laura found herself in the midst of a terrifying event at her last job. Silver deftly balances scenes as different as battles, lovemaking, and friendly banter. She brings you to the brink of tears--and then Roy or Laura will say something funny and tender, and you’re laughing again.

And it’s not just Roy and Laura: it’s the other characters as well. Even characters who appear for no more than a paragraph linger in the mind, because they’re so vividly presented.

I was surprised by just how much I liked the werewolf/supernatural aspect, too. The special powers that go along with being a werewolf were smoothly introduced and fun to discover, and the descriptions of the joys of being a wolf were pure bliss. A nice artifact of wolf-dom when werewolves return to human form is scent names--thinking of people in terms of their unique scent.

There’s an exciting central conflict involving a wicked antagonist, but what interested me just as much was Silver’s exploration of a second, interior antagonist: PTSD. Not, I hasten to add, in a long-faced, public-service-announcement fashion (though she does include information on PTSD and useful resources at the end of the book), but as an integral and devastating part of the characters’ lives. In terms of the story’s structure, you could say all this happened in a long dénouement, but it felt nothing like that: it felt like a third act, a perfect internal battle, complementing the external battle that’s already been won.

I loved the story and highly recommend it.

Available at Amazon.


( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 5th, 2014 06:22 am (UTC)
That was really charming dialogue!
Jun. 5th, 2014 10:34 am (UTC)
It's full of that--very *real*, very friendly--just a real pleasure.
Jun. 5th, 2014 11:59 am (UTC)
Sounds cool.

I've kept forgetting to tell you how much I enjoyed The Moorchild. I wonder whether it could be published today, though, with the slow start in terms of action, in which we get acclimatized to two sequential unfamiliar worlds. And it seems so odd to wonder that-- 1996 wasn't actually very long ago, by me.
Jun. 5th, 2014 12:27 pm (UTC)
I would never normally read a book with a cover like that one, but it was really an excellent story. (It does have sexytimes, so people hoping the promise of the book will be fulfilled aren't disappointed, but it's not ONLY sexytimes, or even mainly sexytimes.)

So, so glad you liked The Moorchild. I loved so many different aspects of that story--I loved the presentation of family, how Saaski's parents (I'm thinking especially of her dad) really love her even though they don't understand her), and how Saaski/Moql loves them even as she's desperate to understand and be herself. I loved the way the fairy realm was portrayed, very concrete and real, and yet not merely another type of human state, with a few details tweaked (which is what I dislike about a lot of portrayals of the fairy realm). It also had a simplicity and closeness to nature, and yet a wildness, that seemed right.

And yeah, I don't know… I think **some** slow-beginning books are still published, but I do think it must be very hard to find an agent and an editor.
Jun. 5th, 2014 12:40 pm (UTC)
Yes, there was McGraw with a wide and varied body of work, some pretty thoroughly commercial and some much-awarded, and that must have helped.

It sounds as if you don't often read romance? I don't much, myself, and paranormal isn't my subgenre. But the genre always contained excellent stuff as well as not-so-much, and these days it seems as if a lot of the more widely known writers, at any rate, have a special tendency to wit.
Jun. 5th, 2014 01:11 pm (UTC)
I pretty much *never* read romance--it's just not something I seek out. But I'm really glad I read this one! And I do believe there's excellent stuff in the genre, for sure.
Jun. 5th, 2014 02:01 pm (UTC)
I still remember reading a romantic suspense published in the 1970s, in which the heroine's woman friend suggests that the heroine make a social excuse on grounds of having contracted botflies and needing to wait till the vermifuge has worked.
Jun. 9th, 2014 03:09 am (UTC)
Slowly finding all the messages I've not yet responded to--and this is a riot! I'd love a friend with this sort of imagination.
Jun. 5th, 2014 04:23 pm (UTC)
This sounds potentially interesting. But as someone who laments the lack of good furry fiction, maybe that's not surprising.
Jun. 6th, 2014 01:25 pm (UTC)
LOL! Well, not *too* much time is spent in wolf form--I don't want to get your hopes up falsely--but the sense of the pleasure of being a wolf is definitely there.
Jun. 5th, 2014 08:55 pm (UTC)
Oh good--I am in need of book recommendations. Some of these paranormal things are getting kind of tiresome, but as far as I'm concerned, if there are good characters, I'll read it. (And I liked Moorchild a lot).
Jun. 6th, 2014 01:28 pm (UTC)
I really loved both the main characters so much--and really, just all of it was really *good*: there was a war scene that could have been from a war novel, and--well, I don't want to give too much away, but the incident that traumatized Laura was really well done, too--but so are the scenes where they're just hanging around making omelets--it all just feels so natural.
Jun. 6th, 2014 11:19 pm (UTC)
That sounds great to me.....
Jun. 5th, 2014 10:37 pm (UTC)
Sounds awesome. I really shouldn't go reading books right now though because I don't have the time to spare but boy is it tempting.

Apparently I missed your Moorchild review, but I remember reading it in elementary or middle school and loving it. It reminds me of The Folk Keeper, generally, which is an all-time favorite book of mine that has lasted as a favorite all the way since middle school.
Jun. 6th, 2014 01:33 pm (UTC)
I never did review the Moorchild, but I've talked about it on other people's pages a lot, I think, whenever books come up, because I really loved it. And if it's like The Folk Keeper, then that's one I'll have to check out. Wait! I'm having *a memory*. (A big deal for me as my memory is so poor.) Is the folk keeper about a young person who lives in a castle and has to attend to the whims of the fairy folk to keep them pacified? I haven't read it, but I think I've intended to for some time, if so--thank you for the reminder!
Jun. 6th, 2014 02:04 pm (UTC)
Aha, that would be why I don't remember a review. The folk keeper is kind of like that, but there's a twist. And the format is a diary style, which works really well for the story.
Jun. 6th, 2014 02:54 pm (UTC)
Diary format! Even better :-)
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )

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