After seeing stellar reviews for 𝘔𝘪𝘨𝘳𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘴, McConaghy’s last book, I bought it… and it had been sitting in my shelf ever since. So I was excited to receive an advance copy of 𝘖𝘯𝘤𝘦 𝘛𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘞𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘞𝘰𝘭𝘷𝘦𝘴 from Flatiron Books.
Inti Flynn arrives in Scotland with her twin sister, Aggie, to lead a team of biologists tasked with reintroducing fourteen gray wolves into the remote Highlands. She hopes to heal not only the dying landscape, but Aggie, too, unmade by the terrible secrets that drove the sisters out of Alaska. Inti is not the woman she once was, either, changed by the harm she’s witnessed―inflicted by humans on both the wild and each other.
From the author of the beloved national bestseller Migrations, a pulse-pounding new novel set in the wild Scottish Highlands.
Inti Flynn arrives in Scotland with her twin sister, Aggie, to lead a team of biologists tasked with reintroducing fourteen gray wolves into the remote Highlands. She hopes to heal not only the dying landscape, but Aggie, too, unmade by the terrible secrets that drove the sisters out of Alaska.
Inti is not the woman she once was, either, changed by the harm she’s witnessed―inflicted by humans on both the wild and each other. Yet as the wolves surprise everyone by thriving, Inti begins to let her guard down, even opening herself up to the possibility of love. But when a farmer is found dead, Inti knows where the town will lay blame. Unable to accept her wolves could be responsible, Inti makes a reckless decision to protect them. But if the wolves didn’t make the kill, then who did? And what will Inti do when the man she is falling for seems to be the prime suspect?
Propulsive and spell-binding, Charlotte McConaghy’s Once There Were Wolves is the unforgettable story of a woman desperate to save the creatures she loves―if she isn’t consumed by a wild that was once her refuge.
Once There Were Wolves is novel about one woman’s quest to rewild the Scottish Highlands by reintroducing wolves. At the same time, it is a love letter to the natural world and a call to conservation. Charlotte McConaghy manages to blend an imperative message and commentary on the human condition with a compelling story effortlessly without being preachy.
Inti, the protagonist, is a complex and well-developed character who is haunted by her past and focused on preserving the future. Her connection to the wolves and nature is powerful. As she faces her demons and locals opposed to rewilding, Inti shows us what it is to be human. While I felt right along with Inti, I savored the lessons and learned a great deal.
Charlotte McConaghy had me from the first line, “When we were eight, my dad cut me open from throat to stomach.” Even if she hadn’t, her beautiful and atmospheric writing was hard to put down. The descriptions of the lush forest and wolves were enchanting. McConaghy’s storytelling was gripping and woven with mystery. Although I would have stayed simply for the mystery, I was completely invested in the characters and their stories.
Overall, Once There Were Wolves is a fantastic and unforgettable book that I cannot wait for everyone to read. I will be recommending it far and wide. I will also be reading Migrations the first chance I get.
Note: Among other triggers, there is violence against animals in this book.
Once There Were Wolves
August 3, 2021
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Note: I received a gifted advance readers’ copy of this book from the publisher, Flatiron Books. Regardless, I always provide a fair and honest review.