I looked between the monster and the man, and I knew at once who was the beast.
Isabelle Berger grew up hearing stories of a legendary beast who killed over a hundred people. When a new wolf is spotted near the forest, the men of her village are convinced that another monster is on the rise. Isabelle is less certain, until her father is killed in the hunt.
Alone and hungry for revenge, Isabelle strikes out on her own to face the dreaded beast. But in this darker twist of a timeless fairytale, things might not be what they seem.
If you like inspirational heroines, unique love stories, and some darker thrills and chills this paranormal/shifter romance is for you!
CRY WOLF is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, inspired by the Beast of Gévaudan and the French Revolution. An early version of this novel was published in the Kingdom of Mirrors and Roses Anthology (2019).
I love fairytales. This one was darker and more sensual than I prefer. It is a clean romance despite several indelicate observations.
Cry Wolf is quite similar to Disney’s animated version of Beauty and the Beast with much of the main characters and some of the plot. Isabelle lives with her old father and loves books. Jean is a scarier version of Gaston. He’s not only narcissistic, he feels ‘off’ like there is something not honest about the front he puts up. He changed a lot after returning from serving as a soldier though this trait may have just been hidden well before. I like that Isabelle had the sense to fear him.
Since her father is the best wolf hunter, he goes on a hunt with Jean and the men of the village for a wolf-like beast that is now ravaging the countryside. Isabelle is told after the hunt that her father was killed by a wolf.
The book follows an interesting format with Isabelle’s story interspersed with short internal dialogue from ‘The Beast’. Is the Beast the fanged man who rescues Isabelle from another wolf attack after her father’s death or is it an unassociated individual?
Isabelle’s leg was injured when she was attacked. Howl, her rescuer, takes her to his home in a former mansion to help her heal. Surprisingly, he lives with a pack of wolves.
“Can I meet your wolves? Are they friendly?”
“They are friendly to who I tell them to be.”
“Can you tell them to be friendly to me?”
He laughed. “I already did. If I didn’t, you would have never made it through the front door. I just didn’t want them to come in and scare you.”
“I appreciate that, but I think I would be all right with meeting some of them now.”…
He bent down and scooped me into his arms as quickly and effortlessly as he had the chamber pot.
“Howl!” I jerked, and pain ran up my leg. The willow bark wasn’t working nearly fast enough.
Howl is the biggest difference from the Disney film. He is very energetic and cheerful like a fun puppy instead of a ferocious beast. His eagerness to please and lack of sophistication reminded me of a charming five year old.
It felt like Isabelle and Howl were best friends which is important for a lasting marriage. I didn’t see the usual signs of falling in love though. Howl was obviously attracted to Isabelle’s womanly charms but I’m not sure what he liked about her as a person since the story of their relationship was told from Isabelle’s perspective. Their romance might have felt more relatable to me if the characters showed more emotions. I loved that Howl respected Isabelle and honored her wishes.
I admired the way the author did not overuse narration to fill in information. One thing to be aware of, the ending of this novel does lead into a sequel.
This could be a great read for someone who enjoys fairytales with a darker edge. Beauty and the Clockwork Beast by Nancy Campbell Allen is a darker steampunk retelling of the same fairytale; the mood of that book reminded me of the feeling I got while reading Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, Brahm Stoker’s Dracula, and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Readers who loved that tale may enjoy Cry Wolf too!
I received a free copy of this book. All opinions are completely my own.
About the Author
Jacque Stevens wrote her first novel as a stress relief activity during nursing school. Now as a fulltime nurse working in mental and developmental health, she continues to write stories filled with elves, fairies, and all things awesome. She lives in Utah so yes, she does have a huge extended family and occasionally eats green jello, but she does not yet own a minivan.
New friends, enemies, and other visitors from cyberspace can reach Jacque at firstname.lastname@example.org and sjacquebooks.com.
More about HighTower Fairytales Series
HighTower Fairytales lean more toward the original sources (NOT Disney) with rich semi-historical settings. They have magic. They have scary monsters. And, most importantly, they have unique and complex characters who are trying hard to improve themselves.
They also include plenty of humor and all the heroes marry their prince/princess charming and live happily ever after at the end!
Basically, these stories meant to inspire, but have a very difficult and occasionally dark tower to climb. They are conservatively marked at 14+ and are appropriate for teens and young adults.
Currently these stories include:
Winter Falls: A Tale of the Snow Queen (2017)
Cry Wolf: A Tale of Beauty and the Beast (2020)
Depths: A Tale of the Little Mermaid (2020)
Robin’s Hood: A Tale of Sherwood Forest(2021)
And more on the way!!!