Continuing her tales about wolves and the women who love them, Susan Krinard once again visits the confused and often tortured world of the werewolf – the loup-garou.
This time, it’s Quentin Foster who’s in trouble. Blackouts and amnesia have plagued him for years, exacerbated by bouts of drinking. He’s in a pretty dismal state when Dr. Johanna Schell stumbles upon him and takes him to “The Haven”, a sanatorium where she and her father have been treating a small assortment of mentally ill patients. Johanna is a woman ahead of her time, and her skills with hypnosis have resulted in some successes – but what might happen when she hypnotizes a werewolf?
This is a dark tale, touching on many areas of mental illness, and yet offering a ray of hope throughout, mostly via Johanna’s character, who refuses to accept the notion that mental illness is any more than just that – an illness, and one which can be cured with the right approach. Quentin’s confusion and growing sensual awareness of Johanna blend beautifully with the other patients at The Haven, and he finds a measure of peace, only to have it disrupted as events bring out the “beast” in his nature.
While on the surface, this is another look at the werewolf myth, there are many more layers to this story than just a snap, a snarl and a set of wolf pawprints. There is the lack of understanding and acceptance of those touched by mental illness, an almost heartbreaking need on Johanna’s part to bring some measure of help to her patients, and a frightening disclosure awaiting Quentin.
Far from the ordinary paranormal tale, this is an engrossing look at how far we have come in our attitudes towards all kinds of “insanity”, and how far we still have to go. Don’t try this book if you’re looking for a light trip into the world of the werewolf, but do read it if you’d like some thought-provoking time spent with a couple of excellently-written characters.