Now, this is a review of a book that is only available in German and Polish for now. I hope there will be an English language edition eventually. Still, I’d like to give you an idea what this novel is about – so this post won’t be a direct translation of the German one.
Nora herself contacted me and sent me her novel, for personal reasons. I’m grateful she did, because I would have missed this one if she hadn’t. I don’t often look for German fantasy. Schattenblüte – Die Verborgenen (which translates to ‚Shadowblossom – The Hidden) is a tale set in modern Berlin. In the US, it would probably be classified as YA, as the main characters are teenagers. While there is definitely romance, there is no sex which fits the flavor of this novel very well.
Luisa and her family are still in shock from the death of Luisa’s little brother. Her parents moved to Berlin, dragging Luisa with them, to leave the grief behind. That obvioulsy doesn’t work; and the family develops a painful, desperate kind of silence that Luisa cannot bear.
The tale starts out with Luisa going to the Grunewald, a large park and forest in Berlin, to fling herself off the Grunewald tower. She can’t bear her family’s misery any longer. But as she stands on the crumbling wall of the lookout tower, a young man grabs her hands and stops her.
Gradually, Luisa finds out that Thursen lives in the forest, with a few other teenagers and a bunch of wolves. It takes her a bit longer to realize that these teenagers, including Thursen can actually change into wolves and do so to forget their painful past. However, Luisa resists the temptation to become a wolf herself. She even starts to help Thursen remember his past – because that will enable him to remain human for a while longer. Most wolves of the pack can no longer change back into human form.
While Luisa keeps meeting Thursen and falls in love with him, her family deteriorates even more. The only other people who matter in Luisa’s life are her neighbor Anja and her little daughters Lotti and Lilly.
Luisa’s friendship with and love of Thursen are put to the greatest test when Lotti suddenly disappeares. Luisa enlists the help of Thursen and his pack to find the little girl. That rescue is the dramatic conclusion of the tale.
Nora Melling weaves an intense story full of pain. Luisa’s grief as well as the pain of the wolves dominate the novel, and yet the love that grows between Luisa and Thursen creates a new layer of hope.
So, keep an eye out for this one. And if you do get it, make sure you have some tissues with you when you start reading.