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Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite
The Outlands Shifter by Anna Durand is a werewolf tale with a difference and some time travel is thrown in for good measure. Kylie Drummond is an adventurous young woman completing her masters degree in ornithology when she and her college friends decide to take a short vacation in the themed old Western ghost town in Utah. It’ll be fun, they thought, but it turned out to be nothing but boring – that is until Kylie meets a strange shaman who gives her a wolf medallion and a cryptic message she doesn’t understand. Suddenly she finds herself transported back to the 1880s to a town known as the Devil’s Outlands. There she meets the annoyingly good-looking and sexy, but incredibly rude and grumpy, former British lord, Sheriff Nathaniel Fortescue. The attraction for both parties is instantaneous but first Kylie must come to terms with the man’s rudeness and, of course, his supposed propensity to turn into a wolf whenever there is a full moon. For Nathaniel, despite his longings for Kylie, he understands the dangers any relationship will have. Since being cursed, Nathaniel is wracked with guilt over the women he has ravaged and savaged. Somehow, they must overcome the curse together and find their way to forge a life with each other.
The Outlands Shifter is pure escapism at its best. Author Anna Durand has taken on a genre that has been covered by many authors and somehow makes her work stand out. She does this in two ways. First, the time travel wrinkle adds a new flavor to the genre and the mixture of a nineteenth-century English lord with the twenty-first century, liberated young woman leads to some genuinely funny confrontations over language and understanding. Second, the romance aspect of the novel was beautifully written and the love scenes were exciting, passionate and steamy without ever crossing too far into crassness. I particularly enjoyed the private interactions between Nathaniel and Kylie where the author so beautifully played each character off one another. Kylie, as a lead character, was everything you could want from a modern heroine – brave, adventurous, brazen, and often utterly terrified - but always willing to try to do what was right, despite her fears. For a relatively shortish novel, the plot is well developed and keeps the reader fully engaged and thinking the whole way through. This is a bit of escapist fun and if you enjoy your romance with a bit of “bite” to it, you will love this story. I can highly recommend it.