My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Book 3 in the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy
I think that these books get better throughout the series, and this is the best one yet. The writing is beautiful and almost peotic. The best thing about this book is the enduring love between Sam and Grace which is so powerful and solid, and which I struggled to get to grips with in Shiver, but that I actually understand now, looking back on the progression of their relationship. But this book is also full of heartache, suspense, and that glimmer of hope when everything is in danger of everything falling apart.
I love the way that each chapter is told from a different character's perspective. In this book the chapters are narrated by Sam, Grace, Isabel and Cole, and this means we get to see what each character is thinking and feeling, and see the same situations from different perspectives. Sam and Grace's relationship is so sweet, and they are so completely devoted to each other. Who wouldn't like Sam- quiet, thoughtful and introspective- plus he works in a bookshop! The other two main characters in this are Isabel and Cole and they are so entertaining to read about. They are either constantly bitching or else dancing on the edge of letting something happen between them. But both of them are involved in the world of the wolves, and loyal to helping Sam and Grace, and trying to find a way to help the wolves. I think Cole has such a unique voice and outlook on everything, and it is interesting how he comes through in the end with all his scientific research on the wolves. All the characters are strong in their own very different ways and add something different to the story, fighting their own inner battles as well as the danger from the woods. The four of them together have a real bond of friendship and trust like a family, even though they drive each other crazy sometimes.
Because I could connect with the characters so well, I really felt that thread of desperation the whole way through the book. There is something going on all the time, and with the wolves under threat from extermination by Tom Culpeper out for revenge for the death of his son, there is the constant sense of danger. You want to root for poor Sam and Grace all the way through, just hoping that they have the happy ending that they deserve. There are so many twists and turns and unexpected plot twists, and because tragedy has struck in the past you can never feel safe in assuming that everything will work out well in the end. It took me so long to finish this book just because I didn't want this series to end!
But now what I longed for wasn't an imagined future. It was a concrete memory of me slouched in the leather chair in the Brisbane's study, a novel in my hand while Grace sat at the desk, biting the end of a pencil while doing homework. Saying nothing because we didn't have to, just pleasantly intoxicated with the leather-scent of the chair around me and the vague smell of a roasted chicken hanging in the air and the sound of Grace sighing and turning her chair back and forth...
After a while she lost interest in her homework and crawled into the chair with me... One of her hands tunneled between the chair and my back to touch my shoulder blades. I pretended to read on and she pretended to rest against me, but she kept pinching my shoulder blade and I kept tickling her with my free hand, until she was laughing even as we kissed and kissed again. After a while, Grace fell asleep for real on my chest, and I tried, unsuccessfully, to follow her. Then I picked my book back up again and stroked her hair and read to the soundtrack of her breaths. The weight of her pinned my fleeting thoughts to the ground, and in that moment, I was more in the world than I'd ever been.
So now, I knew exactly what I wanted, because I'd had it.p98-99