Review: How to Marry a Werewolf (Claw and Courtship Novellas #1) by Gail Carriger

Hello! If all goes according to plan, this review will be coming out sometime around the release of Reticence, Gail Carriger’s final Custard Protocol book. It should also be coming out after my review of Romancing the Werewolf, which I will link here if/when I remember. If I did remember and you’re a little confused as to why this review is being published second, fear not! The order is correct! Despite this being the first in its series, and Romancing the Werewolf  the second, this novella actually follows on from Romancing the Werewolf, and not the other way around. Marketing series seems weird.

Regardless, either novella could be your entrée into Gail Carriger’s writing if you haven’t experienced it yet, but if you want to read both novellas, read this one second. I should also mention that this book contains reasonably explicit content, so if you prefer to avoid that, perhaps consider Gail Carriger’s Finishing School series, which has romance but no sexual acts.


htmaw.jpgThe cover is a bit staid, not gonna lie. I feel like it downplays the charm and likeability of the book and it’s characters

Guilty of an indiscretion? Time to marry a werewolf.

WEREWOLVES

The monsters left Faith ruined in the eyes of society, so now they’re her only option. Rejected by her family, Faith crosses the Atlantic, looking for a marriage of convenience and revenge.

But things are done differently in London. Werewolves are civilized. At least they pretend to be.

AMERICANS

Backward heathens with no culture, Major Channing has never had time for any of them. But there’s something special about Faith. Channing finds himself fighting to prove himself and defend his species. But this werewolf has good reason not to trust human women.

Even if they learn to love, can either of them forgive?

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Parasol Protectorate series comes a stand alone romance set in the same universe. Look out for appearances from favorite characters and the serious consequences of unwarranted geology.

A Note On Chronology

The Claw & Courtship novellas can be read in any order. This book can be enjoyed without having read any of Gail’s other works. Set in the spring of 1895 this story occurs after events chronicled in Romancing the Werewolf.

More?
This story is contemporaneous with events at the beginning of Reticence (final Custard Protocol book). Channing is first introduced to readers in the second Parasol Protectorate book, Changeless. He also appears briefly in Romancing the Inventor.


It’s no wonder that I enjoyed this novella, Channing is a great character—not overly personable, but very likeable in spite of it. I’ve been waiting for him to get a HEA since he appeared in the Parasol Protectorate, and his love story with Faith was well worth the wait. Faith and Channing are very well suited,  their memorable first meeting, sparkling interactions and slowly building romance are a joy to read.

Channing was an intriguing character before this novella, but learning more about his past, and seeing his interactions with Faith, London society and (most importantly) his pack brings out several sides to him that prove once again how well Gail Carriger creates worlds and characters.

Faith is also an incredible character, despite her introduction occurring only in this novella. She is strong, believable, and with enough flaws and quirks to be realistic, while remaining sympathetic. Her family is entertaining, and her British cousins will hopefully make reappearances in future books or novellas, because they were charming too. The plot in this novella is rather light, as it is more than anything a love story, however there is a plot that relates to overall complications and antagonists, and several characters from previous books make cameos or get mentioned (notably Lord Ambrose).

Faith and Channing both have tragic pasts, displayed well in this book in a way that drives tension, while never seeming expected, cliché or shoehorned in to explain crappy behaviour1. Their romance, even when fraught with the misunderstanding and pining that allow fated romances to occur over the course of a novella rather than a few pages, is never less than respectful, and is possibly one of the main reasons that all of Gail Carriger’s works are something of a comfort read for me.

The conclusion to this novella is well foreshadowed and satisfying, but really the whole thing is just fun. The novella includes plenty of Gail Carriger’s trademark  sharp wit, impeccable world-building and dastardly family members. The found family trope is a long-term favourite of mine, and watching Faith and Channing settle into a life and group that truly accepts them for who they are is gratifying.

I feel a little ridiculous writing long reviews on short pieces of media, so I’ll wrap this up here. I’d recommend this novella (and indeed, all of Gail Carriger’s work) to anyone who enjoyed Frank Tuttle’s Paths of Shadow books, Lindsay Buroker’s Emperor’s Edge series, Ilona Andrews’ The Edge series or Jeaniene Frost’s Night Prince series. How to Marry a Werewolf is a brief, tightly paced, roaringly funny and sweet novella, so if you enjoy Gail Carriger’s work, have a fondness for witty characters, found family or flawed people making each other better, consider reading it.

 

1A tragic backstory does not excuse abusive behaviour, but far too much disturbingly modern media seems to think it does. Never fear! I have never encountered this in Gail Carriger’s work

 

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