Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Wild Wulfs of London Series by Ronda Thompson

Yes, this review is not of a particular book but of an entire series! The Wild Wulfs of London Series was recommended to the Bookbabe by a co-worker; she had read one of the books and thought it might be something I would like. Boy, was she right! I have now read all three of the novels and one of the short stories that make up this series, and since they all follow a similar pattern, I decided to review them en masse.

The Wild Wulfs are actually brothers in the Wulf family, said to have been cursed by a witch long before the brothers are born. Each of the novels has a copy of the curse at the beginning of the book and it shouldn't take the reader long to solve the riddle (which begs the question why the Wulf boys can't seem to solve it, but this was a different time when men were men and didn't talk about their feelings!) Of course, the "coming on" of the curse and the removal of it makes up the bulk of each book.

A Wulf brother is introduced, as is the woman that will be both his downfall and his salvation. They are thrown into some sort of peril, allowing the Wulf brother to protect the woman, fall in love with her, and fall prey to the curse. The woman, in turn, falls in love with the Wulf and comes to realize that he really is a good man, a loving man, despite his furry problem. Together they vanquish the curse and go on to (hopefully) live happily ever after.

OK, you're now wondering why on earth I would recommend this series. After all, if each book is the same and you pretty much know what's going to happen, what's the point, right? AHA! This is what makes Ms. Thompson a fine author of this genre, in my opinion - the books may follow a similar pattern, but they are not the same book. And there's the secret - character development, folks. You can write anything under the sun, but if the reader doesn't feel some sort of connection to the characters involved, at least one of them, the work falls flat and probably won't be recommended by that reader. Ms. Thompson succeeds in spades. The Wulf Brothers are all a bit different; Armond is probably the most stable of the bunch, Jackson is a rogue and a lady-killer (not literally, of course), Gabriel is the serious one, Sterling is "the lost one" having run away from home years ago, and Merrick is "the found one" - a half-brother the other four never knew existed. Likewise, the women are all a bit different as well: Rosalind, who wanted Armond to "ruin" her so as not to enter an arranged marriage, Lucinda, a commoner and a witch, Lady Amelia, married to and widowed of a man she didn't love, all in one day, Elise, Merrick's wife, and Lady Anne, a "good girl" who wanted to be bad and ended up finding Merrick for the Wulf Family.

The men are all gorgeous, rock-hard, and desperate to avoid the curse. The women, though varying in social posts and general personalities, are all fairly strong-minded when it comes right down to it. But the stories work, dammit! I flew through "The Dark One" in one day, then decided I'd give "The Untamed One" a try, totally expecting it to be the same book and therefore boring. How wrong I was! Another gorgeous Wulf, another head-strong lady, and off we went! "The Cursed One" rounds out the trilogy of novels, with short stories in "Love at First Bite" and "Midnight Pleasures", two anthologies of paranormal romances.

And there will be more to come, if the author's bio at the end of "The Cursed One" is correct. How there can be another Wulf brother is beyond me, but I suppose Ms. Thompson will explain all in good time. Perhaps this will be a book about one of the new generation of Wulfs!

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