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Monday, March 29, 2010

A Certain Wolfish Charm by Lydia Dare



A Certain Wolfish Charm by Lydia Dare
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Historical, Paranormal
Length: Full (376 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 5 Books
Review by: Xeranthemum


In Lydia Dare’s debut trilogy, Regency England has gone to the wolves!

He gets crankier and crankier as the moon gets full…

The rules of Society can be beastly—especially when you’re a werewolf and it’s that irritating time of the month. Simon Westfield, the Duke of Blackmoor, is rich, powerful, and sinfully handsome, and has spent his entire life creating scandal and mayhem. It doesn’t help his wolfish temper at all that Miss Lily Rutledge seems not the least bit afraid of him, and in fact, may be as untamable as he is…

A woman whose charm is stronger than the moon…

When Lily’s beloved nephew’s behavior becomes inexplicably wild, she turns to Simon, the boy’s cousin and guardian, for help. But Simon’s idea of assistance is far different than hers, and Lily finds herself ensconced in his house and engaged to the rogue.

They both may have bitten off more than they can chew when each begins to discover the other’s darkest secrets…

Get ready for a fun and entertaining historical paranormal romance sure to lure even readers who, as a rule, do not read historical romances. This book is so much fun and the hero so surly that I couldn’t wait to find out how he’s brought to heel.

Simon, the Duke of Blackmoor has a complicated personality. He is the oldest so he has the pressure to be firm, strong and lead. He has this irritating emotional itch to scratch but he interprets it in the wrong way and ends up creating quite a rakish name for himself amongst the ton. He’s loved by his brothers and just as fiercely he loves them back. It’s that passion that is his undoing because he applies it to just about every decision he makes that truly matters to him. His stance on official Lycan marriages is that it’s great and works for others but he just knows it’s not for him – he’s too afraid. Something happened in the past which colored his view of mating. Something that should have been so beautiful and a reason to rejoice has turned into something to fear, to steer clear of. Since guys are notorious at avoidance, this just adds spice to the internal conflict poor Simon must wade through. My favorite part of his dialogue and what I found sort of sexy and endearing was his assertion that the heroine never pull away from him. As you read you get the feeling that his instinct to love and connect with her is there but Simon is wearing blinders and wants to keep wearing them, again because he’s afraid. But some things like love and a healthy dose of lust will undermine the best laid intentions, leading to him doing wonderfully sensual and wild things with the heroine. I really liked Simon, found him adorable, kissable and I wanted to go on a carriage ride with him too.

The lucky lady who did get to go in his carriage is Lily. Lily is well-situated on the proverbial shelf and is perfectly happy being there. You see, she has her nephew and he’s her world. But something is going on with him; he’s making that change from boy to man – and it’s a trifle puzzling. Actually, a lot more is going on than Lily can possibly imagine and I truly felt for her. You see, she knows without a doubt that she’s missing a piece of the puzzle and it is driving her nuts. By that point, a reader already knows what is what and cheers the heroine on in her search for the truth. There are times where I really wish she did find out sooner but the angst that guilt produces in Simon is worth her not knowing for awhile. What I mean is, Lily gets a chance to really know the man – his humor, his gruffness, his bumbling attempts at communication and his sense of silly humor. I like how she reacts to him and stands up to him and basically is alpha female to his alpha male. She’s a good fit for him.

Secondary characters are there for a purpose. There are no throwaway personalities. Prisca is conniving and I think what she’s angling for is what will eventually be her own story. William is the fun brother of Simon and he’s great at needling the dickens out of his brother. The pastor’s wife and her family play a role in forwarding the scheme and Simon’s mother is a surprise. I really thought I’d have to read about another mean mother-in-law but Alice has some great lines of dialogue that were simply so like a mom. She’s easy to like. Even the tart produces scenes which test the mettle of the heroine and hero.

The dialogue was specific to the characters, meaning Simon sounded like a guy, Lily sounded like a woman of her time albeit independent and everything made sense. There were silly moments, passionate moments, and the internal dialogues were insightful. I felt the pace of the story was a steady flow, easy to read and the descriptives Ms. Dare used brought her characters alive.

A Certain Wolfish Charm completely and totally charmed my socks off and I could not put this book down until I’d read it from front to back. I connected with Lily, swooned over Simon and enjoyed the rocky path they journeyed on as they found their happily ever after. Ms. Dare has created a fun world where werewolves inhabit the Ton’s high society and the word ‘rake’ takes on a whole new connotation. This is a place where a man being called a ‘beast’ isn’t a slur but high praise indeed and a woman really does get to enjoy a wild man. What could be better? Personally, I’d say another story about a Westfield man, please. This book was incredibly fun to read and I can’t wait to tell my friends all about it.

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