MEC reviews Aspen in Moonlight – Kelly Wacker

I’m a big fan of paranormal romances and I’m also pretty hard on them  if they disappoint. When I saw this book on the upcoming releases I was totally stoked.  A shifter/paranormal romance without wolves?  Yes please.  I love a good wolf shifter book, but it’s nice to switch stuff up and a bear shifter sounded like a great twist.   Once I started reading, I began to realize that this is more of romance than paranormal so I had to reset my expectations and read the book on its own merits rather than what my pre-conceptions.

Aspen in Moonlight is a well written novel that is more romance than paranormal.  That’s not a bad thing.   Professor Melissa Warren travels to Colorado to research a three paintings she has inherited – paintings that have fascinated her since she was a child and are largely responsible for her pursuing a career in art history.  As part of her research she reaches out to Sula Johansen, the Executive Director of the Colorado Bear Conservancy who turns out to be the great-granddaughter of the artist.  The romance is a nice slow burn as the relationship builds –  both characters are obviously intelligent, passionate about heir careers and mature in their actions and reactions.  Their own personal passions about conservancy and art are woven into the story as is the absolutely beautiful setting in Colorado.  The paranormal aspects are hinted at and pretty much in the background for the majority of the book with the big reveal (and after-effects) as part of the climax and denouement.

There’s no question that Ms. Wacker writes well; but, at times the book was a bit too heavy on the narrative – lengthy descriptions and explanations tended to bog down the pacing and made the book seem to be longer than it actually was.  You can tell that Wacker herself is passionate about art and conservation  –  she conveys this through a narrative that is well researched and obviously important but sometimes it verges into the professorial realm (which she seems to recognize when one character teases the other about being in professor mode).  I don’t mind  a book that provides insight and makes me think – but sometimes the information was a bit clunky.

Thank you to Netgalley and BSB for providing an advance copy for review

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