Rating: 4 stars
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Caleb Todd never met the uncle who left him the entirety of his estate. All he knows is his overly protective aunt doesn’t want him anywhere near Dark Hollow, the tiny town that has always treated the Todd family rather cruelty. In fact the town’s claim to fame is the brutal hanging of a Todd ancestor as a witch. Caleb isn’t one to be chased away by spooky stories and, while he doesn’t plan to stay in Dark Hollow, the trip is a break from the ordinary and a chance to get away for a while. He doesn’t expect to end up hitting the back of the Sheriff’s car his first night in town.
Henry Allan came to Dark Hallow on a temporary assignment, but ended up becoming attached to the place. But things get decidedly more interesting with the arrival of Caleb Todd. Henry is a werewolf and his wolf most definitely wants Caleb. And while Caleb is plenty interested, strange happenings around the town threaten to derail their relationship. Murder, poisonings, and ghostly attacks are wrecking havoc on Dark Hollow. Henry and Caleb must discover the truth about the town’s dark history in order to save their present.
The Witch and the Wolf was, on the whole, an enjoyable book. The romance is sweet and Henry and Caleb are the kind of couple who just fit from page one. There are some issues, however, including a rushed ending and a moment of self-awareness that gets short shrift.
Caleb isn’t exactly naive, but we get the sense he’s been protected somewhat from the world around him. He works with his Aunt and even that seems to be a “for now” proposition – he’s definitely a man whose waiting for something more. Henry is a tad wolfy, but honestly, this part of his character doesn’t get a lot of exploration. Instead, he just seems like the guy who falls hard and fast in love and, as a result, he devotes himself completely to Caleb. Prior to a date with Henry, Caleb doesn’t realize he’s attracted to men. But within a day he’s ready to have sex with Henry. There’s no processing or sense of realism about Caleb’s self-discovery and I felt the whole moment was handled flippantly.
The mystery at the heart of The Witch and the Wolf isn’t anything mind blowing, but it does run in tandem with the romance and is plotted well, at least until the end. The killer’s reveal and the climax seem to come almost out of nowhere. It’s rushed through and at odds with the pacing elsewhere in the book. It feels out of place, but it doesn’t distract from the overall story. We’ve all been to small towns that have built their image on one thing — witch trials, a winning basketball team, a famous historical event and so on. The heart and soul of these towns becomes so entwined with these moments that it almost ceases to have any independent personality. The Witch and The Wolf does a good job showing a community should be more than the sum of its parts, not a single moment in time, and while focusing on the macabre or the heroic is fascinating, it often comes at a cost.
The Witch and the Wolf was a fun, quick read. The couple is cute and well suited to one another and, while the book has some problems, it’s going to be one that most paranormal fans will enjoy.