by Nora Roberts
Genres: Paranormal Romance
With indifferent parents, Iona Sheehan grew up craving devotion and acceptance. From her maternal grandmother, she learned where to find both: a land of lush forests, dazzling lakes, and centuries-old legends Ireland. County Mayo, to be exact. Where her ancestors’ blood and magic have flowed through generations—and where her destiny awaits. Iona arrives in Ireland with nothing but her Nan’s directions, an unfailingly optimistic attitude, and an innate talent with horses. Not far from the luxurious castle where she is spending a week, she finds her cousins, Branna and Connor O’Dwyer. And since family is family, they invite her into their home and their lives. When Iona lands a job at the local stables, she meets the owner, Boyle McGrath. Cowboy, pirate, wild tribal horsemen, he’s three of her biggest fantasy weaknesses all in one big, bold package. Iona realizes that here she can make a home for herself—and live her life as she wants, even if that means falling head over heels for Boyle. But nothing is as it seems. An ancient evil has wound its way around Iona’s family tree and must be defeated. Family and friends will fight with each other and for each other to keep the promise of hope—and love—alive…
I am a huge fan of Nora Roberts and love her tales involving a little paranormal woo-woo. Dark Witch is the first book in her new Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy, and I was eager to read it. I preordered this puppy and devoured it in a single day. Set in Ireland, with witches, curses, and evil this paranormal romance offers the perfect read for a cold fall night by the fire. Mini review: Magical, suspenseful with interesting characters and lore that draw you in and make you scream, “More!”
The book begins in the middle ages where we meet the Dark Witch and her three children. We also face the evil sorcerer who pursues her. Spells are cast, fate is set and then we are brought to present day Ireland to the day Iona Sheehan arrives in County Mayo. A blonde haired American and horse lover she has sold all of her possessions to move to the place of her ancestors. As a young child, her Nan shared the family history and spoke of the lush country side. The tale that unfolds draws together those from the legend. Iona begins to feel happy and at home for the first time, but evil draws near, and battle will soon begin.
From the beginning, I liked Iona, and as we got to know her I began to adore this feisty, warm-hearted, smart and fierce woman. A horse lover and one who just says what she thinks, I loved her snark, honesty and got caught up in her enthusiasm for life. She meets her cousins Branna and Conner, and they are all descendants of the Dark Witch. Each possesses power and Iona begins to harness hers. I liked them both. Branna is sort of the leader/mother figure and is hard and demanding of herself. She is probably the most complex character, and I look forward to seeing her revealed. Conner is sweet, even tempered and loyal to his friends and family. He was cute, and I am anxious to see what he is made of. Iona meets Boyle McGarth, who manages a stable. He is tall, broad, true and strong. Words don’t come easy to him, and I enjoyed watching them interact. Every time she looks at him she gets butterflies in her stomach. Boyle’s world is turned upside down by this pixie of a woman, and I loved the banter that develops. While the romance was nice it wasn’t my favorite. Thankfully it is served as a side dish to the overall arc. We also meet Fin; he owns the stables Boyle manages and may I just say oh-la-la. He is a key player in the overall arc, and you will have to discover why for yourself. We also meet Branna’s best friend and fellow stable worker Meara. These folks quickly become an intricate part of Iona’s life and will all play a role in battling the evil. Roberts did a lovely job of introduces them all, and I find myself connected and eager to learn more about them.
In Dark Witch, Nora Roberts weaves legends and magic against the beautiful landscape of Ireland with a story that grabbed me from the onset. Each book will share a romance with one of the cousins and bring us closer to destroying evil. I loved all the supernatural elements, and the spells. Each witch is tied to an animal, and I loved this element. This is a romantic mystery, and has powerful friendships which drawn on each other, and enhanced the tale. Fans of the Sign of Seven Trilogy and Gallaghers of Ardmore will immediately feel at home. While this is a stronger tale then Signs of Seven, it still has a predictable feeling, and was my only complaint. The romance had a little insta-love feel, but Robert’s slowed things down and made it believable. She has a gift for taking magic, legends, and supernatural elements and making them feel very real and powerful.
Fans of paranormal romance, witches, mysteries and Irish settings will enjoy Dark Witch. This was an exciting start to the trilogy. Shadow Spell the second book is due out in May of 2014 and will feature Conner. Blood Magick,the third book,will be Branna’s story and is due out in the fall.
Three and half cups of Irish coffee out of five
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