Once There Were Wolves Written by Charlotte McConaghy

A thought provoking murder mystery and romance novel featuring wolves, gore and conservationism.

📕 What It's About

There’s a team of biologists, led by twin sisters Inti and Aggie, who go to the Scottish Highlands to introduce wolves to the ecosystem. The hope is to re-balance the wildlife to allow crops to grow freely, restoring the land.

As you might expect, the people of the Scottish Highlands aren’t too accepting of releasing wolves into their home. Most of them have farms and raise animals, which would be targeted by the newly introduced wolves.

As the story is told, you learn a lot about Inti and Aggie’s past and you learn that they are also running from a VERY dramatic experience back home. The move to Scotland is as much for them as it is the Highlands.

One late night, a towns member is brutally murdered. It appears as though the town member was attacked by an animal. Everyone except for the biology team suspects the wolves did the crime.

The biology team isn’t so sure.

Inti is adamant that wolves only attack if provoked and it’s their nature to be timid of humans. Humans are the ones that hunt wolves. Humans are the ones that destroy the wolves’ habitat.

She’s going to do whatever it takes to protect the wolves from the blame and the hunt that would surely follow.

But, if the wolves didn’t kill the member of the town, who did?

🧠 Thoughts

For the most part, this was an enjoyable book. The beginning really captured me and had me turning pages like a mad man. But towards the end, it slowed down quite a bit and the reveal wasn’t super surprising. To be fair, it did surprise me, but I was hoping for more.

I love the author Charlotte McConaghy’s writing style. It’s elegant, beautiful, and explains nature in a way that puts extra emphasis on its magic.

What I Liked About It

My favorite aspect of Once There Were Wolves is the descriptions of nature. It’s clear that Charlotte has a love for nature and it’s reflected in her writing of this book. Here are a few of my favorite passages from the book:

I am such a simple meal; I have no speed with which to run, no strength to fight her off. My skin is disastrously thin. Does she know this about me? Can she sense it, as the others of her kind don’t seem to? They are fooled by the power in our voices and our weapons, by our ability to cage them.

My father used to say the world turned wrong when we started separating ourselves from the wild, when we stopped being one with the rest of nature, and sat apart. He said we might survive this mistake if we found a way to rewild ourselves. But I don’t know how to do that when our existence frightens the creatures we must reconnect with.

That’s beautiful.

Something else that I loved about this book is that the wolves are very intertwined with the story. Almost so that each pack feels like they are individual characters themselves. Seeing that this is a mystery book about a murder, the wolves are never glossed over as an afterthought.

What I Didn't Like About It

My only issue was with the ending of the book. One of the main characters has something terrible happen to them by another main character, and they kind of just get over it. That was strange.

🦉Who Would Like It?

This book is for readers who enjoy mystery mixed with a little bit of romance. Once There Were Wolves is very environmentally conscious and does a great job of giving the reader something to think about the book is finished.

Notes from other books

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