Book Review – Sleeping with the Wolf by Maddy Barone
We have werewolf stories (still?) We have post-apocalyptic stories (yawn…) We have time-travel stories (is this the 80’s?)
In the year 2014 our heroine boards a plane with the intent of going to the concert that will propel her to the big leagues of country music stardom, only to have the plane crash en route. Many die, many others are hurt, and the ones who are still standing divide themselves so some stay to care for the wounded while others walk to find help – because strangely, no authorities have come to rescue the passengers…
Carla, she of the singing career, realizes her life has worse problems than a mere plane crash. She is kidnapped and brought to a town. There, she hears the ugly truth. The year is 2064, society suffered through an Armageddon wiping out huge amounts of people, and maybe worst of all, men outnumber women about 100 to 1 and women are treated like property.
Carla is put up as a prize in a Bride Fight, and there she learns one last piece of crazy on top of the crazy she’s been dealing with – that werewolves are real, and their leader Taye wants her for his mate.
I’m not normally a post-apocalyptic person, but I liked the twist on this one. My hubby still messes with me because we went to a weekend wedding that was held at a boy scout camp – which featured cabins complete with plumbing and running water – and when it was over I told him I had no desire to rough it like that again. So the idea of a modern woman being thrust into a world without plumbing, electricty, cars, electronics, or any other of the myriad things we take for granted intrigued me. I wanted to see how she’d deal with that.
I’ll tell you what, Carla handled it a heck of a lot better than I would. There were some grumblings and “It’s not fair!”, but basically in a week-ish she had gotten with the program. While I acknowledge that she wouldn’t be throwing hissy-fit after hissy-fit with what we knew of her character (a pragmatic woman who has no problems rolling up her sleeves and getting to work) I still thought her acceptance was too easy.
Actually, that kinda sums up my thoughts on the book as a whole. Even though the set-up is a natural for high emotion, the way the characters handled the various challenges and events was distinctly low-key and smooth. Even the “fated mate” trope was laid-back. Sure, Taye knows Carla is meant to be his from the first, but beyond a couple of growls we don’t really feel the edge that usually accompanies that particular trope. It took him awhile to realize he might like her and want her around other than for sex.
And Taye? Probably the most beta Alpha Wolf you’ll ever meet.
For all the insane set-up, this is a gentle, almost soothing romance and by no means what I was expecting. It took me a little time to readjust my thoughts and realize what I assumed would be happening and what was on the page were two different things. Once I got on board, the story went smoother for me.
Taye is more of a gentleman than most guys I meet in daily life (sorry guys, but it’s true). He is bewildered on what women want – understandable, because he really hasn’t known many in his life. And a source of humor in the book is how the wolf pack deal with Carla coming to live with them since most of them have never been around a woman before.
The sexuality and sensuality are not high in this book. Yes, there is sex, but to my mind it was mild (granted, I write hot/spicy to erotic romance, so adjust your expectations accordingly). This book is not about sensuality or lust, it’s about a gradual falling in love with someone and being ‘grown-up’ enough to accept that your life is not going to be what you wanted it to be and moving on.
Bottom line – Once I adjusted my expectations and got into the rhythm of the book, I enjoyed it. While I feel the story was light on conflict and Carla accepted her new life a little easier than was realistic, it is a nice contrast to the high-octane werewolf stories that dominate the genre.
My final grade? B-