"Beware the Werewolves of London!"
Braden Forster, and his younger siblings, twins Rowena
and Quentin, were raised by a tyrannical grandfather who
was a fanatic about maintaining racial purity of the loups
garou. He had not been a kind man. His idea of making the
children strong had been to undermine their self esteem in
hopes that they would be motivated to come up to snuff.
He'd made them all miserable. Braden as the oldest and
heir, is driven to prove that he is not weak as his
grandfather had taunted. Consequently he'd found himself
espousing his grandfather's "Cause" when leadership passed
to him. His responsibility included arranging suitable
marriages among the loups garou, even though many would
have preferred to choose their own mates, and in spite of
the fact that his own marriage had ended so badly. In fact
that disaster had left him blind, a weakness he would not
reveal to others if he wanted to remain the alpha wolf.
The Cause has become his life and aside from his inability
to read, he is otherwise as able and powerful as ever. Even
Rowena and Quentin are not exempt from his mechanizations
making them more miserable than ever.
Cassidy Holt had been raised in the American West by her
father's human relatives who did not understand her
heritage. Cassidy had never felt she belonged. She wants
nothing more than to find the part of her family who would
understand her nature. She wishes to learn about her
werewolf abilities, particularly how to Change. She seeks
out her late mother's closest friend, and together they
travel to London to find her family, the Forsters.
Braden had long been aware of the American branch of the
family, in fact he had searched for them with little luck.
He is pleased that Cassidy had found her way back to them.
While he himself doesn't intend to remarry, he feels that
she would make an excellent mate for his brother Quentin.
But her inability to perform "The Change" indicates that
she is as "defective" as he, and his growing feelings for
her are troubling. Then there's the fact that neither
Quentin nor Cassidy wish to cooperate with his plans.
As his feelings for Cassidy strengthen, he is faced with a
challenge to his leadership by his former wife's kin.
Which conflict will challenge him most, the fight for the
right to lead, or the battle to deny own heart?
I was somewhat disappointed with this story. This could in
large part be due to my own expectations. Because of the
change of time and setting (contemporary Western wilderness
to Victorian England), I expected more human interaction,
and yet the loups gurou seemed as isolated as ever. I found
this odd considering Braden's concerns about intermarriage
and the extinction of his race. I half expected Victorian
momma's to bang down his doors looking for a husband for
their daughters -- he is a wealthy earl after all. This
would have driven him crazy, but all the major players knew
who, or should I say what everyone was, from the get-go. It
read like a family historical rather than a paranormal,
though it might be a nice transitional novel for historical
lovers interested in getting their feet wet in the
paranormal subgenre. The paranormal was almost
I liked the part of the story detailing Cassidy's life
before she finds her mother's family, but then it becomes
all too predictable IMHO. I knew what was going to happen
from the very beginning, and there was no mystique
surrounding the werewolves whatsoever. The hero and
heroine pretty much fell in love at first contact, and only
a misplaced sense of duty on Braden's part stood in their
way. I love a wounded hero, but Braden's took a bit too
long to recoup.
I'm not sure why everyone is so intimidated by Braden, he
had too much angst to be a convincing Alpha "leader of the
pack" type. He was assuredly an angry man and had a rigid
sense of duty, but was not really intimidating or powerful
as I feel a werewolf hero should be. I'm also not sure why
the twins, who are in their late twenties, didn't break
away sooner if they were so unhappy. They did get away in
the end, but can we believe they never had a chance to do
I thought Quentin was spineless for leaving
Rowena in the lurch. If it hadn't been for Cassidy she
probably would have died. Perhaps his actions will be
explained in a later novel.
Cassidy showed guts aiding Rowena, but then she caved right
away when Braden returned. The end was rather nice, with
the family convocation, the reader was left with the
feeling that they were at a turning point.
My biggest complaint was that all
of the Forsters lacked warmth. Even the romance didn't heat
things up in this novel. I do understand that this is in
large part due to their upbringing, which went a long way
toward dampening their spirits, and pitted them against one
another: and I because I have loved Ms. Krinard's previous
werewolf novels, I have high hopes that love will
ultimately redeem this trio of siblings.
Ms. Krinard has stated that she wants to do a whole
genealogy of the werewolf families. This book had the
earmarkings of a prologue or a history of where it all
began. TOUCH OF THE WOLF is the first of a
historical trilogy. I expect that the sequels will deal
with the twins, Rowena and Quentin. I plan to keep an open
mind regarding them. Cassidy's brother is still missing so
perhaps a future tale will find him. I do recommend
reading PRINCE OF WOLVES and PRINCE OF
SHADOWS if you like
a really good werewolf story.
Copyright © 1999
Reviewed by Leslie Tramposch
Posted December 12, 2001