INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
"Blazing...Visceral" (Los Angeles Times) · "Exceptional" (Newsweek) · "Bold...Heartfelt" (New York Times Book Review) · "Thought-provoking and thrilling" (GMA) · "Suspenseful and poignant" (Scientific American) · "Gripping" (The Sydney Morning Herald)
From the author of the beloved national bestseller Migrations, a pulse-pounding new novel set in the wild Scottish Highlands.
Inti Flynn arrives in Scotland with her twin sister, Aggie, to lead a team of biologists tasked with reintroducing fourteen gray wolves into the remote Highlands. She hopes to heal not only the dying landscape, but Aggie, too, unmade by the terrible secrets that drove the sisters out of Alaska.
Inti is not the woman she once was, either, changed by the harm she’s witnessed—inflicted by humans on both the wild and each other. Yet as the wolves surprise everyone by thriving, Inti begins to let her guard down, even opening herself up to the possibility of love. But when a farmer is found dead, Inti knows where the town will lay blame. Unable to accept her wolves could be responsible, Inti makes a reckless decision to protect them. But if the wolves didn’t make the kill, then who did? And what will Inti do when the man she is falling for seems to be the prime suspect?
Propulsive and spell-binding, Charlotte McConaghy's Once There Were Wolves is the unforgettable story of a woman desperate to save the creatures she loves—if she isn’t consumed by a wild that was once her refuge.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Wolves have a reputation for being dangerous, but this tense novel shows that the deadliest creatures of all might just be humans. Inti Flynn and her research team are excited to reintroduce 14 wolves into their natural habitat in the Highlands of Scotland, but many local farmers aren’t so thrilled. Inti has also brought her twin sister, Aggie, along, hoping the change of scenery will help heal some of the emotional scars she incurred back home in Alaska. But when someone turns up dead, Inti makes a desperate move that cranks an already tense situation into overdrive. Charlotte McConaghy’s poetic descriptions of the wildlife, the locals, and the Scottish wilderness left us breathless. We particularly appreciated her in-depth exploration of the ecological balance vital to maintaining our natural world. But above all, we wanted to know: If a wolf wasn’t behind the local murder, then who was? When this spellbinding novel has you in its teeth, it doesn’t let go.
Australian author McConaghy (Migrations) returns with a vividly realized story of trauma and the attempted "rewilding" of the Scottish Highlands. Empathetic biologist Inti Flynn, raised in part in Sydney, Australia, and in part in the woods of British Columbia, is on a project site in Scotland with a group of biologists, where she works to introduce North American wolves into the Scottish ecosystem. She has brought her mute identical twin sister, Aggie; Inti knows the source of Aggie's trauma, but the details are kept from the reader until late in the narrative. When Inti discovers the body of a man she suspects was abusive to his wife (he said she fell off of a horse; she looked like she was beaten up), and who might have been killed either by a wolf or another person, she impulsively buries the body and sets out to solve the mystery of the death, a process complicated by her sexual relationship with the local police chief, as they have a hard time trusting each other, and by an unexpected pregnancy. In a story full of subtle surprises, revolving around Aggie's painful past as well as the source of the violence on the project site, McConaghy brings precise descriptions to the wolves "subtly powerful, endlessly patient" and to Inti's borderline-feral way of existing in the world. The bleak landscape is gorgeously rendered and made tense by its human and animal inhabitants, each capable of killing. Throughout, McConaghy avoids melodrama by maintaining a cool matter-of-factness. This is a stunner.
A perfect blend of brain candy and biology
A true page-turner, offering lessons about wolves in the midst of a mystery.
This story is heartbreaking and hopeful at the same time. I felt transported to another place and another life as I read it. The ending brought me to tears while simultaneously making me feel at peace. A truly lovely story.
As beautiful a book as I have ever read. The words weave you into the wildness of the world with an exhilarating blend of the two themes.