Moonflower by E.D.C. Johnson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Loved it, though it made me sad in places. Definitely rocks a love triangle.
Moonflower is not a typical YA shifter/werewolf love story, despite the love triangle and the fact that it features werewolf shifters. One of the things I love most about this story is the originality. Josephine is just a regular girl, but when she and her mom get in an accident, she blacks out only to awaken on another world. It just so happens that the royal family has the ability to change into wolves. The way Josephine and Lucius meet plays on her naivete and on Lucius being surprised that she doesn't realize he's really a human.
From there the story delves into the family and household dynamics. The older brother vs. the younger. The similarities between Josephine's father's illness and the Marquess (the brothers' father). I also enjoyed the way the servants and employees of the house interact. Josephine's lady's maid is so, well, normal. It's her first time in such a role and she wants to get it right, yet still she can't help but be herself. I loved how the two become friends.
The love triangle and the dynamics between the two brothers is pretty well done. Of course, I tended to like Lucius a little better, but I think the author did a great job making it a really hard decision for Josephine. And, as in real life, Josephine realizes that it isn't just a choice between the two young men, but more of a life choice. Does she really want to stay in this new world and abandon her mom? Does she want to be subject to the archaic role given to women in the feudal society she finds herself in? Is she even ready for commitment?
I suppose the only thing that left me a little down was how the story ends, and it does end in a rather final way. While the author might potentially decide to write more in this world, it seemed like this story is meant to stand alone. It's not a fairy tale, but rather a story of first love, of growth, and of making the best choices for yourself, even when they aren't the easy ones. It left me thinking and wondering. So, despite how I felt at the end, and maybe just a little bit because of that, I must say that I enjoyed it.
I would highly recommend this book to folks who enjoy books featuring a little romance, a little fantasy, and the feel of a historical fiction that just happens to feature men that can turn into wolves. I thought the book was well-written and well-edited and smoothly pulled me from chapter to chapter.
I was lucky to have found this book while it was on a free-promo day on Amazon, but I feel it's definitely worth buying even if you don't happen to come across it while it's free. I am pretty sure I'll be reading this again.
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