Second Nature, by Alice Hoffman

Cover ImageFinished 1-23-09, 2/5, fiction, pub. 1994

There was the faint possibility that Roy was right, that she’d become so intent on having things her way she’d stopped thinking altogether, driven by something as untrustworthy as pure emotion.  She now had, after all, a man in her kitchen who could easily murder her and sneak out the back door without leaving any footprints behind.

Chapter 2

Robin is an almost divorced mother of a teen son.  The Wolf Man had been living with the wolves in northern Michigan since he was three and was found later, as an adult, wounded by two hunters.  The Wolf Man, eventually known as Stephen, refuses to talk to the medical doctors and he is locked up in mental hospitals until Robin comes along and rescues him.  She whisks him away to her home in suburbia and plans to teach Stephen what he needs to know to blend into society and someday make his way back to Michigan.

I could not get past the ridiculous premise to completely enjoy the characters in the story.  A wolf/man who has lived with a wolf pack from the age of 3 1/2 with no human interaction, can read, write, hold conversations with strangers, and begin an affair all within the span of a few months?  There were many other storylines—Robin’s divorce, Connor’s first love, an aging parent’s declining health, and a brother’s nervous breakdown–that were all interesting and engaging, yet the wolf man was always there to remind me how outrageous it all was.  His character kept pulling me out of the story.  That being said, I did like other characters and the true emotions of love, loyalty, and betrayal.

I’ve read other Alice Hoffman titles I liked, but this was a complete miss for me.