I write award-winning historical romance about pirates, privateers, smugglers and the occasional possum.
I really enjoyed this, and it's my favorite (so far) of the Shifting Circle novels.
The reason I liked it so much is Joe. I mean, how can you get a more ordinary hero name than "Joe"? And he is ordinary, and yet, exactly the kind of hero you want to marry. He's a keeper. Not uber-handsome (he's described as having a "round, baby-face" and has to work at keeping the weight off now that he's no longer 20). Joe's an ex-cop and has that old fashioned quality where he'd be described as a "mensch", a man you can count on to do the right thing, to help out, to stand by you. Not a billionaire Dom, not a SEAL, just a good guy.
Can you tell I'm half-in love with him myself?
Oh yeah, and Joe's completely human. But Karadel is not. She's a shifter trying to get her animal self under control, or at least to settle on one animal, preferably a housecat. She's shifted into being an elephant and a giraffe in the past, and can't control when her change will happen.
And you thought you had a complicated love life!
Karadel works as a veterinarian, though she's not really a doctor. The shifter community in their small Illinois town depends on her and she's experimenting with different medical formulas to help them. But when a shifter changes into a bobcat in public to fend off a rapist, Karadel fears the entire shifter community is threatened. At a more personal level, she has no idea how Joe will respond when he learns of her secret life.
If you're new to the series, I recommend starting with #1 as characters are introduced and grow into their own stories in later books. However, you could read The Turning Season on its own and enjoy it as a fantasy and as a gentle romance.