A while back I not only mentioned the book Camille by Tess Oliver, but I also interviewed the author herself. A long time has passed since then and I have finally been able to sit down and give the book a read. Finally!
This werewolf book is set in Victorian London, a time of horse drawn carriages and prim and proper ladies. The story follows sixteen-year-old Camille and her guardian, Dr. Bennett. The two of them live a secret life as werewolf hunters, while at the same time trying to discover a cure for the curse. When an unwitting victim, Nathaniel Strider, wanders into one of their full moon pursuits, Camille and Dr. Bennett believe they have found a specimen for their study. Finding a scientific key to unlocking the mystery of lycanthropy would end their late night excursions and save lives. Yet beneath the irresistible exterior, Nathaniel is transforming into a flesh-tearing monster, and as each experiment fails, Camille falls harder for him. In a month’s time, she must face the prospect of destroying the boy who has stolen her heart.
Yes it’s a romance, a period romance. That’s not usually my cup of tea, but Camille was a nice girly change of pace for me. It was a sweet historical tale with a touch of horror. Throughout the whole book I was most impressed with the author’s knowledge of the time period. She most definitely did her research and I found myself captivated by the history in the book, even little things like how they cooked a meal was interesting. It was also clear that Oliver did tons of scientific research as well. Points to her for doing research.
She gets a few extra points for having scary werewolves and not pansy ones.
However, while Camille was a fast and entertaining read, I did have issues with it. The majority of the book was great, but once I got a little over halfway through with it problem after problem popped up. One of my big issues was the main character herself – Camille. In the beginning Camille was a very likable character, she was a sweet and somewhat proper girl for the times. But unlike the other women around her she is a bit rough around the edges. She was brave, honest and intelligent. I liked that. What I didn’t like was that towards the end of the book she became a total raging bitch. She was suddenly being cruel to those that had been nothing but kind to her. It was ridiculous and completely caught me off guard. I don’t know how the author acts when she’s in love, but when I fall in love I don’t all of a sudden start treating every other person like trash.
But that’s not where the bad ends. There was another BIG problem I had and it was with the story. Without spoiling the tale for you, let’s just say that the author forgets all of the science at the end and the story suddenly makes no sense at all. I mean, we get a great period novel full of all this science and all this time spent trying to find a cure, then at the end the science is just thrown out the window and we get a finale that makes no kind of sense. There were quite a few loose ends that I found very frustrating.
Judging by all the amazing reviews on this book, I am guessing I am one of the few people that noticed how the pieces really didn’t fit together in the end. I guess they got caught up in the romance of it all.
Overall, I really have mixed feelings on this book. Like I said, Camille was an entertaining Victorian tale. But, that issue with the ending kind of shattered my opinion of the novel. Camille’s bitchy attitude didn’t help.
In spite of the screwy ending, I still recommend this book for those looking for a fast and romantic read with a classic touch. The blend of history is definitely interesting, so if you’re a fan of Victorian London you’ll enjoy that.
About the Author
Moonlight loves to write about, read about and learn about everything pertaining to werewolves and other supernatural beasties. She writes for top genre sites like Vampires.com and Werewolves.com. You will most likely find her huddled over a book of folklore with coffee in hand. Touch her coffee and you may lose a limb. You can stalk her via her Twitter.