“A good story. I enjoyed reading a story that takes place in the south west. It was different than the typical settings. This book was a little long....by the time I finished, I was ready to be done.”see full review » see other reviews »
Didn’t Like It
“For a romance novel, it wasn't really anything memorable. I liked the gratuitous Spanish thrown in but the plot itself wasn't really anything great, even for a romance novel.”see full review » see other reviews »
“A good story. I enjoyed reading a story that takes place in the south west. It was different than the typical settings. This book was a little long....by the time I finished, I was ready to be done.”Corryn V wrote this review Thursday, December 30, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“ This was a worthwhile read, but I was torn on the rating. Is it more of a 3-3.5 star book, or a 4 star book? It really is too good to be a 3 star book, although I found the narrative a bit withdrawn at times.
I think there could definitely be a little more dialogue, as this story is heavy on description. Yet at the same time, the story is beautifully-told, showing the wonder of the Southwest, barren at first look, but teaming with life and joy underneath. I was immersed in the simple world of the people of New Mexico, literally tasting their spicy delicious food, hearing the engaging music, and enjoying hearing them speak Spanish in my mind as I read.
The characters in this story are very complex. Each one fights an internal struggle against what she/he truly is, against the monster seemingly lurking inside.
Rowena is an English lady (transplated to New York Knickerbocker society when this story begins) who has determined that she will deny her inner wolf, at great cost to herself. She despises her wolf-nature, and has wrapped herself in an almost impenetrable layer of ice and formidable self-control. She has accepted the arranged marriage that she originally rebelled and fought against, to Cole MacLean, a Texan of great influence, with a sinister reputation that she has tried to ignore. He is the only man who she feels that she can marry. He knows of her wolf, because he has one, and he won the battle over the wolf. She feels she can be his wife, have his children, and never lose control.
However, Rowena is forced in the middle of an ages-long feud between the MacLean and Randall families (going all the way back to Scotland). Tomas Randall is the only survivor of the Randall family and he has become a bandit and outlaw who goes by the name of El Lobo. He tricks Rowena into coming West and essentially kidnaps her, to taunt his blood enemy, Cole MacLean into coming after her so he can get justice for the murder of his mother and father. Part of his vengeance is seducing the icy lady into his bed. Tomas is an appealing hero of depth, with a passionate, fun-loving nature, but also an intensity that makes him an intriguing hero. I never felt like he was the bad guy, although he has no problem seeing himself that way or allowing Rowena to believe he is a bad man.
Rowena finds that Tomas does bring to life the Lady of Fire (as Tomas calls her). She finds it harder and harder to suppress the inner wolf, as Tomas temps and seduces her, but also inspires her loyalty to his cause, and respect for how he takes care of the simple people who have been cheated and uprooted by her conscienceless fiance.
Other complex characters in this story are Weylin, Cole's brother who believes in justice as much as Cole believes that might makes right, Sim Kavanugh, who is Tomas right-hand man, and hates woman, particularly resenting Rowena for making Tomas soft, and the young, gifted Esperanza, who can see into the heart of a person and tell them what their inner desires are.
This book did weave a spell around me. I wanted to finish it, and I enjoyed reading it. However, it was a little wordy at times in its descriptions. However, I loved how she described the characters Changing. I am a big werewolf fiction fan, so I was transfixed by the elemental beauty of the Change as described in this book. I felt sympathy for the characters who denied this very essential part of their nature, but could easily see why Tomas loved and embraced his inner wolf.
Once a Wolf has some beautiful moments to offer me as a reader. It was also a very fine western. I felt a little disappointed at a very important flaw in Tomas' nature that comes to light towards the end, but as in life, no one is perfect and we don't always handle tragedy and adversity as well as we should. As for Rowena, I liked her from the beginning, and my admiration only grew over the course of ths story. It was a wonderful evolution in her character as she learned to embrace the wolf that was part of her essential strength.
Although Once a Wolf is the second in a series, you do not have to read it's predecessor, Touch of the Wolf, first as it really doesn't add anything essential to enjoying this story on its own. This book is a recommended read for those who enjoy werewolf romance and westerns, and a strong, but not annoying or overcompensating heroine. I will definitely read more of Ms. Krinard's books.
“For a romance novel, it wasn't really anything memorable. I liked the gratuitous Spanish thrown in but the plot itself wasn't really anything great, even for a romance novel.”Becky L wrote this review Thursday, June 26, 2008. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I plan to read this book soon”Raouf wrote this review Thursday, January 10, 2008. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“His love was wild... his soul untamed... his touch forbidden....
From acclaimed author Susan Krinard comes the second novel in a magnificent trilogy of a powerful clan whose sensual legacy is cloaked in secrecy-and a beautiful woman kidnapped by an outlaw whose forbidden embrace could reveal her true identity.... Once a Wolf
In the unspoiled expanses of the American West, Tomás Alejandro Randall was called El Lobo, the desperado and sworn enemy of powerful financier Cole MacLean. Few humans knew his true identity: heir to a wolf bloodline that made him as much an exotic beast as a devastatingly attractive man. It was Tomás's plan to lure Cole MacLean's elegant fiancée, Lady Rowena Forster, from her New York mansion to the wild frontier. There he planned to seduce the golden-haired beauty as revenge for the destruction of his family at MacLean's hands. But once she was in his possession, El Lobo found himself unable to resist the call of his own untamed”
“ONCE A WOLF is the second novel in Susan Krinard's historical werewolf (Forster) trilogy, which began with TOUCH OF THE WOLF.
The Forster siblings; Braden, and twins Rowena and Quentin were raised by a tyrannical grandfather who was a fanatic about maintaining racial purity of the loups garou. He'd made them all miserable beating at their self-esteem to mold them to his liking. Braden was driven to prove that he is not weak, in spite of his grandfather's repeated taunting. When the grandfather passed on he assumed leadership of the loup garou and espoused "the Cause" as well, arranging suitable marriages for his people. He had planned such a marriage for Rowena. She'd rebelled. Locked in her room she'd refused to eat, choosing to die rather than enter a loveless marriage.
Rowena despises the animal part of herself, wishing to be wholly human. She cannot bear to "Change" though she's has done so in desperate situations in the past. With Cassidy Holt's (Braden's future wife) blessing she does so once more and escapes, vowing this will be the last time. She flees to the one place she knows her brother will not think to look for her -- America, the home of her proposed spouse.
A marriage for love ,to Cassidy, has mellowed Braden. He still believes in his Cause but no longer forces others to comply with his wishes. Though Rowena knows she can now go home, she has made a niche for herself in New York society, and chooses to stay. She is the toast of the town and has everything she's ever wanted - to be respected, admired, human. Ironically she is also engaged to the man she has gone to so much trouble to avoid marrying.
Cole MacLean is a wealthy financier; he has a "way" of getting others to do his bidding. A loups garou as well he has eschewed his animal nature as uncivilized, and has assured Rowena that he is the best man to keep her secret. She will have nothing to hide from him and he will never reveal her nature. She'd given up on love long ago; she will settle for being safe. Though Cole is wealthy, he needs Rowena's status to really gain entr�e into high society. He has his own agenda and that includes an obedient wife. He has effectively crushed the fighting spirit with which Rowena so effectively defied her brother. Well almost.
While Cole is away a very credible English gentleman approaches Rowena seeking help for her brother, Quentin, who had also fled to America to deal with his own demons. He is in need of her help she's told, and even though it is sure to anger Cole, she decides to travel with this man to aid her twin.
What she doesn't know is that this man is a master of disguise (she's met him before) and that he is no gentleman. He's Tomas Alejandro Randall, a desperado also known as El Lobo. He is the Robin Hood of the west, stealing from the rich to help the poor and he has a score to settle with Cole. His plan is to take Cole's bride, seduce her and release her after letting her know just what kind of man she'd been engaged to. Tomas will avenge the death of his parents at the hands of the MacLeans.
Tomas brings Rowena's feisty side back, and the more she fights him the more he's attracted to her. He has a loyal following and she hears nothing good about her fianc� from them. Who to believe? Cole is totally at home with his heritage and wants her to be as well. He lives simply in this rugged environment, taking only what his people need to survive. Her loyalty should be to Cole but oh my, Tomas seems to be honorable, warm, kind, and very, very, sexy. Can she resist his allure? Can she turn him over to the man she's betrothed to, a man she doesn't love? Can she live this uncivilized life, accept what she is, and be a whole woman at last. Can she even be whole without Tomas? When it comes to the inevitable confrontation, will he let her go?
If you found the Forsters's a bit cool in the last story, never fear, Ms. Krinard has really turned up the heat with this novel. She's turned a deeply bitter and restrictive woman into a warm and loveable heroine. Tomas is tremendous as the noble hero. Cole is as despicable as villains come. Ms. Krinard also introduced some truly wonderful and tortured side characters, each with their own demons to conquer: Weylin MacLean, Cole's brother, the honorable lawman charged by his brother to bring El Lobo to justice for the killing of their father, who must ultimately make a terrible choice; Sim Cavenaugh, a hired gun who is loyal to El Lobo, and is unwavering though Tomas finds his methods questionable. He has his own score to settle with Cole MacLean.; The young girl the pair name Esperanza (hope), an empath whom they rescue from the wrath of the villagers who had proclaimed her a witch and who had harmed her. Her skills will be vital to the conclusion of this story. Each of these characters is deserving of a story of their own. I hope we will see that, as Ms. Krinard has proposed a loups garou genealogy connecting the historical families to their contemporary counterparts. However the next book will undoubtedly by Quentin Forster's. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, recommend also reading TOUCH OF THE WOLF to get a handle on Rowena's character. I will be looking for the third story with great anticipation.
Reviewed for PNR Reviews”