This was absolutely incredible, I’m still dazed from all the emotions.
Guilty of an indiscretion? Time to marry a werewolf.
The monsters left Faith ruined in the eyes of society, so now they’re her only option. Rejected by her family, Faith crosses the Atlantic, looking for a marriage of convenience and revenge.
But things are done differently in London. Werewolves are civilized. At least they pretend to be.
Backward heathens with no culture, Major Channing has never had time for any of them. But there’s something special about Faith. Channing finds himself fighting to prove himself and defend his species. But this werewolf has good reason not to trust human women.
Even if they learn to love, can either of them forgive?
“From the New York Times bestselling author of the Parasol Protectorate series comes a stand alone romance set in the same universe. Look out for appearances from favorite characters and the serious consequences of unwarranted geology.
A Note On Chronology: The Claw & Courtship novellas can be read in any order. This book can be enjoyed without having read any of Gail’s other works. Set in the spring of 1895 this story occurs after events chronicled in Romancing the Werewolf.
This story is contemporaneous with events at the beginning of Reticence (final Custard Protocol book). Channing is first introduced to readers in the second Parasol Protectorate book, Changeless. He also appears briefly in Romancing the Inventor.”
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.
Content warnings include: parental abuse, emotional manipulation.
The rest of the content warnings are plot relevant spoilers. Highlight to read them: miscarriage with lasting effects; Mentions of: loss of spouse and child, imprisonment, abduction, sexual assault.
So. This is Channing’s book. Channing Channing of the Chesterfield Channings (no, really, that’s his name) has been a polarizing character from the very beginning when he first appeared in the Parasol Verse (and he’s been there almost from the very beginning.) He made me snicker but he also made me sneer, with his grumpiness, arrogance, eating dogs and comments about women. He’s made quite the journey since then – there are stark differences in his portrayal in the Parasol Protectorate series versus in Supernatural Society. The latter very much serve as a setup for this book, in my opinion, not only making him more likeable to the reader but also hinting at what’s beneath the facade.
I was very curious about what would be revealed once those first cracks showed, and boy, How to Marry a Werewolf did NOT disappoint.
Despite all the talk of how this ties in with Gail Carriger’s other books, How to Marry a Werewolf can very much be read as a standalone, and is probably one of the easier books of hers to read on its own than many others. References will be missed and hints not understood, but even without those the book is beautiful and heartbreaking.
And complex. There are so many layers to unravel I hardly know where to start.
Let’s begin with the plot. It’s fairly straightforward: Faith, young, American and of high-ish standing, has fallen from grace and is sent to London to marry a werewolf (surprise) for Reasons. Channing, werewolf, gamma of the London pack, has his own worries related to his job, which is basically head detective for supernatural stuff. They meet, and they can’t forget each other, and with the help of basically the entire London high society who is totally rooting for them they keep crossing paths and fall in love.
But of course there are Circumstances.
I admit I was a bit wary of how they would fit. Faith keeps being referred to as “girl”, and in general the way she’s talked about makes her seem much younger than her actual 24. Which is still very young given that Channing is around 100. Combined with how the talked about women before in other books and his hinted sexual preferences I was very sceptical how this could possibly end well.
Luckily, the way they meet and their relationship overall was not creepy, uncomfortable or imbalanced at all.
Faith is wonderful, unafraid and her honesty and openness makes her incredibly strong and admireable. She’s vulnerable and guarded but earnest and resilient, making the London society and Channing fall for her just as hard as I did.
Channing was mostly in her shadow, but I enjoyed reading about him too, especially in relation to his pack. My favourite parts about Channing’s POV were his interactions with Lyall, the London pack beta. There is so much history there, not many words but so many years side-by-side, and reading about glimpses of their history and relationship (both new parts and parts known from other Parasol Verse books) were bittersweet.
The sass and snark that’s typical for Carriger’s books is there and I laughed out loud several times, but I also got very close to crying. Both Faith and Channing have Pasts with a capital P, combined with hints at very tragic events from previous books, which absolutely broke my heart.
The book still has a wonderful and warm and calm ending, which these characters absolutely deserved.
How to Marry a Werewolf is an emotional journey that I found incredibly rewarding and is probably one of my favourite books by this author.
Since this is first in a new series, I’m definitely looking forward to more pack members – who get more and more notice in the last few books – getting their own happy endings, be in in a more or less heartwrenching matter. Im particularly interested in Hemming, Ulric (or is it Ulrich? It’s written both ways at different times in the book) and Riehart.
You can buy the book here.