Wolf in the Shadows

Maria Vale. Sourcebooks Casablanca, $8.99 mass market (360p) ISBN 978-1-72821-473-3

Vale closes out her Legend of All Wolves series (after Season of the Wolf) with a beautiful and melancholy love story that provides the dual satisfaction of a caring and transformative romance and a heartfelt celebration of all things wild. Julia Martel, who comes from a powerful line of Lukani—shape-shifters who resist their bestial natures—grew up spoiled and was raised to be “exquisitely inconsequential” in the shadow of powerful men. After her fiancé’s misstep leaves her stranded with the Great North Pack of wolf shifters, she lands in the care of beautiful Arthur, the bottom-ranked Omega of the Pack, who’s healing from the brutal ritual Clawing he received as punishment for killing a traitor before he could be put to trial. Arthur is kind and gentle, but constantly working to control the maelstrom of violent impulses that threaten to overwhelm him. As Julia grows into her power and discovers the wild side that she’s long been denied, she and Arthur build trust and love that enables her to help him maintain his calm. Charmingly tender scenes of Julia helping the Pack’s young pups learn to function in the human world, paralleled with scenes of Julia learning how to hunt with the Pack, are a particular delight. Vale also ties up the series-long political arc, satisfyingly disarming the remaining threats and shepherding all to a happy ending. This is a worthy finish. Agent: Heather Jackson, Heather Jackson Literary. (July)
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