Book Review: Once There Were Wolves by Charlotte McConaghy

Once There Were Wolves  by Charlotte McConaghy Genre:  Literary thriller Synopsis:   Inti Flynn arrives in Scotland with her twin sist...

Once There Were Wolves by Charlotte McConaghy

Genre: Literary thriller

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?

Content/Trigger Warnings: Abuse, animal violence/death, anger issues, agoraphobia, anxiety, blood/gore, death, rape, trauma

Overall rating:  ★★★★★

I loved this book immensely. Once There Were Wolves is a thriller, but also conservationism fiction, and it reads like literary fiction. It was such a unique and beautiful blend of so many genres, and was written so well.

I loved the small-town Scottish setting, and I quickly cared about so many of the characters, including the wolves and the wilderness, which were each characters all their own. I was entranced by the parallels in the storytelling between past and present, but also between human and wilderness.

"If you truly think wolves are the blood spillers, then you're blind...We do that. We are the people killers, the children killers. We're the monsters."

This book was both unique and familiar. I could see remnants of the real world, and was also often reminded of The Line That Held Us by David Joy. But more often, I was impressed by how I much I felt like I’ve never read anything like this book before. How can a thriller be so beautiful and thought-provoking?

I was surprised by the conclusion of the story, but it made sense and was ultimately satisfying.

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