Book Rating: ★★☆☆☆ (2.5 / 5 stars)
Catherine Mercy is just trying to survive; not from werewolves, of course, but from financial destitution and keeping herself afloat. She still has not recovered from her husband, Frank’s, supposed death, leaving her in financial ruin. All she has is her bakery and two good friends, Anne and Steve. But her memories haunt her: of Frank, of Jimmy – her long lost highschool sweetheart – and of the town’s lore. When a movie begins production about her town’s local legend, suddenly Catherine’s life is thrown into a row of movie stardom and romance. But is she ready cast aside her past and make the plunge into change…especially when real werewolves might just be afoot?
In a story constructed with hefty unique lore that transports the reader into Wereville’s stories of real werewolves, we embark on Catherine’s journey to come to terms with her past. Little does Catherine know, the truth is more complicated than it seems. Hamill does a fantastic job weaving these components into the story, and as I read, I slowly began to work through the mysteries of Catherine’s past. Wereville is enchanting, the type of campy place I would like to visit. In fact, the story has every element of a campy werewolf movie. So it’s fun, at least at its core.
Overall though, the story faltered. The first 60% of the book basically summarizes the first half of the back cover summary. We meander through the first few days, experiencing Wereville, learning about Catherine’s past through long memory-based chapters, and are told what Catherine and the other characters feel without quite experiencing it. The romance that Catherine begins (and subsequently ends) with Charles, feels inorganic. Later, when the same emotions come tumbling around Greg, it once again felt forced.
The last 30% of the novel was the most interest part, coming face-to-face with real werewolves. But the pacing was too fast, especially compared to the beginning. While the first 60-70% covers a series of maybe a week, the last 30% spans months. This works in some occasions, but personally, I would have much preferred the beginning be cut short to spend more time in this part of the novel. We could have explored the legend, as well as Catherine’s confused and budding feelings for her costars. In fact, I hate to say it, but the back cover summary basically surmises 80-90% of the book.
I was hoping for more, overall. I was hoping for an exploration of werewolf myth while delving into the romance between Catherine and her costar. Instead, the story meandered. I learned all about Wereville, and was told everything about Catherine and Greg…but I didn’t get as much real werewolf (or werewolf hunters) as I was expecting.
Everything came together in a nice package though. Like any campy werewolf movie, Catherine gets her ending. All the details come together in a nice box, making sense in the end, even if the execution could have been better.
I can see why people would enjoy this story though. It has steamy romance, compelling lore, and werewolves. Even if I didn’t enjoy the execution, others will, so I don’t want to tell people not to read it.
If it sounds interesting, I encourage you check out Werewolf Nights. It certainly adds a whole new element to werewolf lore.
What’s it about?
Threatened by financial ruin, widowed bakery owner Catherine Mercy leads a solitary life with more interest in reading about werewolf lore than in finding a man. Her one true love disappeared after high school and her now deceased husband kept her trapped in the house claiming that a werewolf might hunt her down one day, just as her grandmother repeatedly warned her. When Hollywood interrupts the town’s monotony by shooting a werewolf movie on location, Catherine’s best friend Anne pushes her to audition. Already in her thirties, Catherine feels ridiculous trying to become an actress, but lands the leading role.
Catherine’s daily routine turns into a hair-raising adventure as fame begins to surveil her wanderings and she falls for her sexy costar Greg Byron despite this actor’s neon warning sign that flashes conceited womanizer. He’s also smitten by her, but just when they are about to find happiness, a wolf bites him.
While Greg’s features turn lupine, Catherine discovers a resemblance between the movie script and her family’s history. Frightened, Catherine recruits werewolf expert Steve to figure out if the movie’s werewolf legend is real and if Wolfern, the werewolf her grandmother dreaded, has finally come for her. If so, Greg will turn into a werewolf. Only undoing Greg’s curse and destroying Wolfern before the next full moon can save their love and their lives.
Mari Hamill blends fantasy, intrigue, and passion to create a chilling, unique story