*Spoiler Alert* Original heir to the Werewolf Empire, Michael the First, "...had the keys to the kingdom in [his] hand...and  didn't want them. [He] wasn't interested in the old ways,  didn't want the power. [Michael] wanted to live a human life." One of the biggest problems with THE SECRET OF THE WOLF is that other than this, the reader never gets a very clear picture of Michael St. Clare. Rebecca Flanders fails to develop the hero so that neither by aesthetic description nor style or behavior is the character of Michael made understandable, knowable.
The second book in this series, WOLF IN WAITING, the story of the Werewolf chosen to take Michael's place, Noel Duprey, paints such a vivid picture of Flanders' take on Werewolves and their supernatural culture, that it is easier to understand why Michael might feel as he does, but then it would take hindsight to understand Michael's predicament. Accordingly, THE SECRET OF THE WOLF cannot stand alone. Standing alone, THE SECRET OF THE WOLF paints a one-dimensional picture of Werewolves, making the fictional race seem very cold and monstrous. The reader is left feeling that the side of Michael that is a Werewolf is indeed shameful and his old life and culture something that any one of us would shed without a second thought.
Columnist, Aggie McDonald, who accidentally hits Michael with her car one dark night--this, along with emotional trauma he has already endured, helps along the reluctant heir's amnesia--seems to credit the man that she takes in like a stray cat for not being quite as dangerous and seemingly mentally disturbed as the average indigent John Doe might be. And she decides that because he never actually hurt her--though he puts his hand through a plate glass door, turns the handle and walks into her room and wakens her to his sleepwalking self covered in blood--he is THE ONE: "And watching him, she knew the answer to the question she had been afraid to ask herself these past weeks. Why she had disregarded all common sense and welcomed him into her home. Why she trusted him when all evidence indicated she do exactly the opposite. Why she couldn't be afraid of him, no matter how often she was tempted to. It was really very simple...," Aggie thinks as she makes the realization. Hmm.... Really? I wish someone would explain it to me. So, although the romantic relationship between the leads doesn't exactly ring true, it somehow manages to be sweet and the love scenes steamy.
Bottom line, this is another pretty okay book, that would be just alright if it was forced to stand alone. However, I do suggest reading the entire series. Then you will be able to contextualize and visualize Michael, I assure you. The scary thing, is that if I had read SECRET first, I might never have had the decided pleasure of reading WAITING.
A Shame: The Second Book Whets Your Appetite To Read The First Book...,Which Disappoints.