author: Nora Roberts
series: The Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy #1
published: 29 October 2013
genre(s): contemporary, fantasy, historical, romance
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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.
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 horseman, 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 have read Nora Roberts for years and she never ceases to carry me away with her novels. My favorites are the series like this one, the one that spins a tale of magic right along with the characters that are so easy to love. Dark Witch is the first in a new series, The Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy.
There is so much to love about this book… love, magic, intrigue, friendship, and the eternal battle between good and evil. And all of this is woven with the lovely lilting language of Ireland and all of the magical mythology of that land. The romance between Iona and Boyle is wonderful, but the true focus of the story is the magic and the battle. I love a story that includes the romance we all love, but doesn’t make it the entire focus of the story.
Iona is a fabulous female lead, American-born, but of Irish descent. Her life hasn’t really been bad, but she has felt disconnected and at odds with her life. So she decides to turn her own life on end and move to Ireland, to the place of her grandmother’s childhood, in an effort to find her roots and find the place where she truly belongs. Part of her journey was to seek out her cousins, Branna and Connor. Once the three are united, it is then the magic truly begins.
I really love that the magic of the story isn’t limited to just the three cousins. It includes three of their friends as well, all of whom instantly accept Iona as one of their own. The circle that the six make include siblings, friends, lovers, cousins. Branna and Connor are siblings, cousins to Iona. Meara is Branna’s best friend, not magical, but clearly a warrior in her own right. Boyle is friend to Connor, strong and steady and the perfect foil for Iona. And there is Fin, who has magic, and an interesting story, of his own. He is Connor and Boyle’s friend and he clearly has a past with Branna. Each of the six brings something different to the table and the mixed cast of characters is so interesting.
Things to love…
- The blend of the past and the present. Most of the story is told in the present, but the beginnings of the battle between good and evil are rooted in the distant past of the late 1200’s.
- The blend of magic and romance. The romance adds spice to the story without overpowering a really fantastic plot.
- The lovely lilt of the Irish spoken word. Love, love, love it and it comes through so clearly in Roberts’ words.
I can’t say enough for this book. I love it! It’s been out awhile, but I purposely held on to it until all three books were out. I knew that once I started, I would NEED the next book!
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