Romancing the Werewolf
by Gail Carriger
Biffy, newly minted Alpha of the London Pack, is not having a good Christmas. His Beta abandoned him, his werewolves object to his curtain choices, and someone keeps leaving babies on his doorstep.
Professor Randolph Lyall returns home to London after twenty years abroad, afraid of what he might find. With his pack in chaos and his Alpha in crisis, it will take all his Beta efficiency to set everything to rights. Perhaps, in the process, he may even determine how to mend his own heart.
Since finishing Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series and missing those characters terribly, Romancing the Werewolf was a lovely Christmas treat featuring some of the characters from that same series.
If you haven’t read that series I wouldn’t recommend you jumping into this novella, and it’s probably wise that you don’t read this review if you’d like to read that series with zero spoilers too!
After Lyall and Biffy’s bittersweet parting in Timeless, I was so ready for a reunion between the two of them set at Christmas and Romancing the Werewolf certainly scratched that itch. What I love about Lyall and Biffy’s relationship is that you could never predict it in the earlier Parasol Protectorate books; it grows so organically – to the point where I wonder if Carriger herself always planned it or if it surprised her too – and that’s really refreshing. I don’t have a problem with being able to guess who the love interest is going to be, but I equally love being surprised the way these two surprised me.
Finally able to return to the London pack after serving time as the Beta to the Kingair pack, Romancing the Werewolf follows Professor Lyall’s reunion with the new London alpha, Biffy, who, while much more confident as a werewolf, is somewhat less confident as an alpha. When human babies begin to be left on their doorstep, the London pack find themselves cooing over several infants on the run-up to Christmas while Lyall and Biffy dance around the feelings they still have for one another.
I much prefer werewolves to vampires in this world, so even though I really enjoyed Romancing the Inventor earlier this year it was lovely to be back in the company of werewolves – though I did miss Conall and Alexia a little. It was such a joy to see characters like Lyall again, who is without a doubt one of the loveliest characters Carriger has created, and much to my delight there were a few appearances from Major Channing Channing of the Chesterfield Channings whose name continues to make me grin. Biffy, too, is a wonderful character and I love how well Carriger combines the masculine and the feminine in him; he’s no less a man, or an alpha, because he has a fondness for traditionally feminine things, and while he has doubts as to whether or not his pack will follow him his pack don’t doubt his status as alpha simply because he loves ribbon.
Just as it was in Timeless, Lyall and Biffy’s relationship is tender and warm, as much an incredibly close friendship as a romance which makes all the difference, and the two of them talk about their worries before they enter into any kind of physical intimacy. As alpha, Biffy could order Lyall to do basically anything, but their relationship is built on genuine respect, affection and hearty consent and they give me the warm fuzzies. I would have loved a few more scenes with the babies, and perhaps another scene or two about werewolves decorating a house for Christmas, but on the whole this novella was like settling down in a cosy, familiar chair with a spiced hot chocolate.
If you’re already fan of Carriger’s work, then this novella is the perfect Christmas present to yourself!