“Secret of the Wolf” by Susan Krinard

[amtap book:isbn=0425181995]

Amid the lush vine­yards and majes­tic hills of Napa Val­ley, hyp­no­tist [Doc­tor] Johan­na Schell has found­ed Der Haven — a sanc­tu­ary for those who know the pain of being “dif­fer­ent”. For des­per­ate, fright­ened peo­ple whose souls are lost to grief. For lone­ly tor­tured men like Quentin Foster …

Fright­en­ing spells of amne­sia have plagued Quentin for years, and Johan­na wants noth­ing more than to ease his unspeak­able pain–and find out if his claim to were­wolf blood is just a delu­sion. But she is hor­ri­fied to dis­cov­er that, under hyp­no­sis, this ten­der, thought­ful man becomes vio­lent, venge­ful …evil. And now–caught in the bal­ance between real­i­ty and illu­sion, truth and decep­tion, sim­ple desire and absolute destruction–she must find the courage to trust him. To love him. To save him…

Can a tor­tured man like Quentin Fos­ter find peace? Can a ded­i­cat­ed heal­er like Johan­na Schell find love? Can they togeth­er defeat the ene­mies with and with­out and find their desires together?

Well, this is a romance nov­el, so, yes, they will do all every­thing list­ed above. But it won’t be easy, even less easy than the aver­age romance nov­el. That’s what hap­pens when the para­nor­mal is added to the mix.

Because “Secret of the Wolf” isn’t an aver­age Har­le­quin romance ‘quick­ie’ nov­el, but a large nov­el that just does­n’t con­cen­trate on the tri­als of the two main pro­tag­o­nists but that of the sec­ondary char­ac­ters, as well. As such, it lends more strength to the main char­ac­ters reflect­ed in the actions of the ones around them. And when the trou­bles that sur­round Quentin and Johan­na seem too much for them to han­dle, their patients dis­cov­er not only the strength to aid them but the abil­i­ty to aid them­selves. That’s what makes this much more than the aver­age romance nov­el, as well as a high­ly-regard­ed romance nov­el in its own right.

Descrip­tion: In a haven that includes a delu­sion­al for­mer actress still reliv­ing her slight tri­umphs on the stage, a for­mer sol­der with the Sight shat­tered on the bat­tle­field of the Civ­il War, a for­mer pas­tor now sub­merged in his own penance, a young girl tor­ment­ed by the abuse of her father, a young man whose only flaw is that he is “slow” and the doc­tor’s own father, suf­fer­ing the effects of what appears to be a stroke, Quentin stands alone and apart, Found near the Haven by the for­mi­da­ble Doc­tor Schell, who believes his afflic­tion is sim­ply alco­hol, she is shocked when, under trance, dis­clos­es his biggest secret: he is a were­wolf. At first, she thinks is mere­ly a metaphor for his con­di­tion but even­tu­al­ly learns it is sim­ply the truth.

But even still, he is incom­plete. As we learn lat­er, he has a sub­merged per­son­al­i­ty, a dark side that appears when he is threat­ened or drunk, one that appeared to counter the cru­el­ties of his grand­fa­ther, one that calls itself “Fen­ris”. And both Quentin and Johan­na must rely on Fen­ris to bat­tle the were­wolf who has come to steal Quentin and com­plete the process begun by Quentin’s grand­fa­ther, trans­form­ing him into a ruth­less, mer­ci­less killer.

Com­men­tary: While the prac­tice of hyp­nother­a­py as pic­tured in the book is accu­rate, its also sev­er­al decades ahead of its time. Not just the regres­sion tech­nique, which is sketchi­ly han­dled but still clear enough to be under­stood, but even the induc­tion tech­nique, which at the time were more com­plex and time-consuming.

His­to­ry: “Secret of the Wolf” is the third book of a fam­i­ly cycle, begin­ning with “Touch of a Wolf” and then “Once a Wolf”. Quentin is the ‘black sheep’ of the fam­i­ly, so to speak, because of the cru­el­ties that his elders per­formed on him to ‘make a wolf of him’.

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