By Kelly Wacker
The blurb from the publisher…
When art historian Melissa Warren inherits three of her grandmother’s paintings that have captivated her since childhood, she sets out to discover more about the little known artist and the locations of the mysterious landscapes. Her search takes her to the Colorado Bear Conservancy and the artist’s great-granddaughter, Sula Johansen.
Sula is reluctant to help Melissa, but their instant chemistry is impossible to ignore. Sula is torn between falling in love and hiding the truth about who and what she really is. Of course, if Melissa paid closer attention to minor details—like the fact that Sula enjoys nibbling berries off the vine, is unusually strong, and consumes way too much honey—Melissa might not be in for the shock of her life.
I was very surprised to learn that this was Wacker’s first full length novel. This book doesn’t read like it was written by someone with a short list of published fiction. It reads like it it was penned by an author with a well cultivated resume. The storytelling is imaginative and engaging. The descriptions are splendid. The language is fluid and magnificent. Wacker is impressive; she knows how to bring the words to life in 3D technicolor.
The story involves something I typically don’t gravitate toward or read—shapeshifting. The concept seems, for lack of a better word, strange. It’s a subject and sub-genre that’s never really caught my attention or held my interest. This book, however, despite talk of hamask and she-bears, engaged me from the start. I wasn’t familiar with any of it and it didn’t matter. Wacker pulled me in and held me there with her lovely storytelling; I was captivated. She writes with such grace and intelligence. Her word building is finessed marvelously, giving the story depth and dimension. It truly highlights her talent as an imaginative and descriptive writer.
Both of the leading ladies are compelling, interesting and completely likable. They stand on their own, yet compliment each other quite nicely. The romance between them is tender, sweet, and yes, believable. My favorite scene underscores Wacker’s ability to sell this love story and make it not only believable, but charming. It’s when Sula realizes she can trust Melissa and their love for one another. She shapeshifts into her bear form and Melissa embraces who she is without judgement. She sees her and accepts her with complete love and tenderness. She is in awe of her beauty and magnificence as a she-bear. It is really a very lovely and touching scene.
This book was a wonderful surprise for me. I would absolutely encourage readers to pick this book up and indulge in its well written and imaginative prose. Wacker is a talented writer and I look forward to reading more from her.
- Well written
- Beautiful use of language
A little sample from Aspen in Moonlight…
Sula pointed to the letters on the table. “Somehow this all seems significant where we’re concerned.”
“What do you mean?”
Sula stared at the ceiling as if she might find the words she was looking for floating around in the rafters. “This might sound crazy, but it’s like we have a predisposition for one another.”
“That sounds so clinical. I’d like to think you were attracted to my intelligence and good looks.”
“Oh, I was! I mean, I am. Don’t get me wrong,” Sula said, the sudden intensity of her gaze unexpected. Her eyes flashed like glowing embers in a fire, reminding Melissa of the first time she saw her. Sula continued. “Your intelligence and good looks are only part of what I find so very attractive about you. You teach me things, and you make me think. You make me laugh, too. A lot. And I love that we have shared interests. You’re fascinated by so many of the things that are important to me. Nothing’s been the same since we met, Melissa. And I just keep thinking about how Ursula’s paintings brought you here and that our great-grandmothers knew each other—”
“Were lovers,” Melissa said gently.
“Yes, lovers…” Sula shifted her gaze to the letters. “It feels like we were supposed to meet.” Sula turned her head, and when their eyes locked, Melissa’s insides quivered, an achingly sweet sensation.
“It sounds like you’re talking about fate.”
“I suppose I might be.”
“Do you believe in it?” Melissa asked, narrowing her eyes at Sula, surprised at the unexpected shift to metaphysics in their conversation.
“I didn’t use to. But I might be reconsidering. How about you?”
“I do.” Melissa answered without giving it a second thought…
This book can be purchased from…