Book Review: Edge of the Woods by Jules Kelley
This is the author’s full-length debut, and it’s a genuinely excellent read. I’m marking it as LGBT despite being M/F because Haley, the heroine, is explicitly bisexual. It’s thoroughly diverse in lots of ways, with the two side characters with the most page time being LGBT as well; Diego is a young gay Hispanic man and Michelle a trans woman.
The lore of werewolves is really interestingly explored here, with discrimination against those who are ‘made’ versus those who are ‘born’, a nearby clan of vampires a looming threat, and werewolf pack dynamics having evolved to the point where alphas are elected rather than winning their position through dominance (although I’m not quite sure where betas come in… especially with one ‘packless’ beta being sent to help Haley out - who elected her, or why is she a beta otherwise?)
The romance here is delightful, with new sheriff Leland rolling into town utterly clueless about even the existence of alphas and being massively attracted to Haley from the first moment. Neither Leland nor Haley are perfect physical specimens; Haley is described as rounded, with thick thighs, and Leland has a barrel chest and love handles, something rarely seen on romance heroes in particular, but I really liked it. Another thing handled beautifully here is consent, with both Haley and Leland regularly checking in with each other and seeking explicit consent for things which are often initiated without it, including touching and kissing.
This is a really good read, with the story arc nicely concluded, something of a role reversal in that it’s Haley who gets to do most of the heavy lifting in saving the day, and quite a few intriguing questions left open and lots of side characters who could all have a nice romance of their own going forward. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I’ll be looking for more in this series. Five stars.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title from the author.