Reviewed by Sandra Scholes
Karen Wiesner has been very busy of late with her new and intriguing novels which are based on certain old fairy tales and nursery rhymes. She has of course, rewritten them for a more modern audience, and a more erotic one too. This novel is the third in a miniseries of four books which are all titled The Woodcutters Grim Series. This one is based on The House That Jack Built. The original rhyme actually goes right back to much older times, possibly the sixteenth-century or further back, yet this one has a much more sensual tone to it.
The general premise is that the Shaussegeny family have the misfortune to have a curse put on them, and it is one that has a detrimental effect on the family itself as it changes the victims into beasts when there is a full moon. Everyone who knows they will loathe and hate them and their family name as they will be synonymous with death and destruction. And as if this wasn’t enough to make them depressed, each of the victims of the curse has a soul mate who can help ease the pain of their existence, yet if they cheat on these women, a fate far worse than anything they have ever encountered will befall them.
Gavin Shaussegeny encountered his soul mate, and married her thinking that he would be happy, though it wasn’t long before he found solace in the arms of another. Gavin cheating on his wife is the one thing he shouldn’t do as it breaks the law of the mate covenant. Anyone who does this will suffer hurt and pain as no man has ever felt it, and the shame that they have let their family down with what they have done.
As they know the curse could also be their only salvation, but only if they are faithful to their chosen mates. As the Shaussegeny family have long been considered unfaithful to their men and women, this will be a hard habit to break for the family. Karen has the reader really getting into the minds of the characters, and finding out what makes them tick, but also what can make them tolerant of others. She normally likes putting tragic characters together where the both of them can find peace of mind with each other and sort out their life problems, but in this one in the series, it is less about self harm or self punishment, and more of what others have done to them, for example, the curse on their family. It is interesting to see how these two characters will work out their differences and become one. (that is if it happens.)