Review: The writing is to the point, almost brisk at times, without a lot of frills and unnecessary descriptions that can weight story of this type down in my opinion, yet it never failed to provide the crucial details a reader needed to immerse themselves in the story. Character and plot driven, with a clear purpose stated in it’s blurb, it was not the fault of the author or story that my personal reading interests don’t cater towards women’s fiction or a slice of life American stories, even ones as well written and executed as “Releasing Gillian’s Wolves.”
For someone interested in the genre, it is a very satisfying story and the author proved their expansive knowledge base of insider politics to make it imminently believable. Whatever my own tastes are, I found “Releasing Gillian’s Wolves” to be outstanding its clarity and the inspiring strength of its main character, Gillian. What impressed me about it most is the way in which the author created a fictional work that provided many real-life situations that eventually had resolution, but never seemed overbearing or patronizing. “Releasing Gillian’s Wolves” is a very admirable, well- thought work of literary fiction.
Description: Releasing Gillian’s Wolves is the story of a political wife forced to finally do something about her faltering marriage. We frequently see women standing by their Senator/Congressman/Religious figure husbands at press conferences as these men admit to all sorts of bad behavior. Releasing Gillian’s Wolves explores what holds one such woman in place and what happens when she finally decides to let go.
Tara Woolpy’s writing career has followed a somewhat unusual trajectory. Throughout her twenties and early thirties she worked hard to learn her craft. Her formal studies included a B.A. in English Literature from Whitworth College and a post graduate year at the Women Writers Center in Cazenovia, New York. In the 1980’s she published poems and short stories in small feminist journals, freelanced for an independent Seattle newspaper and wrote the novel destined for the bottom drawer. Eventually returning to school, she earned a couple graduate degrees in aquatic science and has spent the last several years in that field, most recently as a tenured professor at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. As such she published peer-reviewed technical papers and book chapters and edited reams of student writing. While science writing bears little resemblance to fiction, Tara’s academic career taught her to suffer criticism comfortably and relax in front of a crowd. Now that she teaches online, she has returned to fiction.
Releasing Gillian’s Wolves is far from autobiographical. However, tidbits from Tara’s personal history are woven into the novel. She imbibed campaigns and politics with her mother’s milk, her mother represented Northern Idaho in the State Senate for seven terms. She currently lives in a house very like Edward’s, works in Sam’s academic field, has survived more than one bad marriage. She has also finally found her own happy ending on a lake in Northern Wisconsin with a wonderful supportive husband and a very friendly Boston terrier.
On her way to happily ever after, Tara has published under a number of last names (Woolpy, Reed, Danaan and Reed-Andersen).