Once There Were Wolves by Charlotte McConaghy is a novel of survival – full of love, fear, violence, tenderness and the ugliness/beauty of life. Init Flynn and her team of wildlife biologists are trying to reintroduce wolves to the Scottish highlands. Their hope is that the wolves will help to balance the ecosystem and allow the forests to flourish once again. Not everyone is in favor of the wolves – especially the sheep farmers. Confrontation is expected, but McConaghy adds so much more to the story and really explores the souls of her characters.
Init Flynn is the main character and she lives for the wolves. She also has a condition called Mirror Touch Synesthesia, where she feels things that she sees happening to others. She has a twin sister, Aggie, who has been damaged by something in the past, but the details are revealed slowly. Duncan, the Scottish police chief, is wary of the wolves, but seems willing to listen. Stuart, a farmer, threatens the group and is later found dead. Have the wolves attacked him or has he been murdered?
I really loved Once There Were Wolves! It was a change of pace novel from the historical fiction and mysteries that I have been reading. I loved the way that the wolves’ story twisted around the story of Init and Aggie and their attempt to start a new life in Scotland and I was fascinated by the details about the wolves – their behavior is so similar to humans in many ways. (Be aware that there is domestic violence in the novel and there is violence in the world where the wolves live as well.)
Check out this video – In 1995-1997, 41 wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park. Today, there are close to 120 wolves and the project has been very successful.
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