Set on a lake in the mythical town of Lacland, Wisconsin, Releasing Gillian’s Wolves tells the story of a woman coming to terms with her husband’s infidelities and transgressions, and taking control of her life. This could very well be considered a coming of age novel where the main character just happens to be in her early fifties.
Gillian Wolf is an independently wealthy housewife and artist, whose cooking is admired by all. Yes, she has an unhappy marriage, but those who know her rave about her many talents. Gillian can simply do no wrong. In fact, her life would be perfect except for her insensitive, ungrateful, philandering husband, Congressman Jack Sach.
Who, by the way, can do no right.
If the characters in this romance novel seem one dimensional it may be because it’s written in the first person, and that person is Gillian Wolf. Without a narrator to balance various points of view, we are left with Gillian’s perspective alone. Throughout the novel characters lavish praise and support upon Gillian and heap scorn and ridicule on her husband. As a result, it reads a bit like a diary where events are twisted in a way to make the writer feel good about a supremely awful situation. I confess there were times I found it difficult to suspend my disbelief.
However, that is just one reviewer’s opinion. There is an audience for Tara Woolpy’s first self-published novel as evidenced by the tremendous number of overwhelmingly positive reviews around the internet. And there are good bits to enjoy. Especially when the author herself has a great deal of experience in a particular area, for example, her background as a science writer and her family history in politics. She’s able to weave those experiences into the story, creating some of the more engaging passages. And, while I may not have agreed with how the characters spoke or behaved, and more importantly without giving anything away, the novel indeed moves forward toward a satisfying conclusion.
Releasing Gillian’s Wolves, by Tara Woolpy. Originally published in ebook and paperback form by Bats in the Boathouse Press, 2011.
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