Dark Witch by Nora Roberts
Series: The Cousins O'Dwyer #1
Also in this series: Shadow Spell
Published by Penguin
Genres: Fiction, General, Romance
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First in the all-new Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy From #1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts comes a trilogy about the land we’re drawn to, the family we learn to cherish, and the people we long to love... 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... Don’t miss the next two books in the Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy Shadow Spell and Blood Magick This Book Is Bound with
Captivating, clever, and well-rounded romantic fantasy
On a recent visit to the library, I noticed the audio books for both this book, Dark Witch, and Shadow Spell, the second book in the Cousins O’Dwyer trilogy by Nora Roberts, on the shelf. Knowing the series was on my to-read list, I snatched the cases up and checked them out. And then I started looking at reviews from other readers on Goodreads.
I got nervous and worried if I’d like the series after all. Several reviews were rather negative and spoke about the story being difficult to get into and hard to hold interest to. But, still, the synopsis sounded intriguing to me, so I started listening.
I’ll be honest: I was lukewarm at first. The first few chapters are set in the far past and focus on the Dark Witch, Sorcha, and her three children. Sorcha is a powerful witch and Cabhan, a dark, dangerous, and evil sorcerer, wants her power. He’s willing to try anything to get it – seduction, persuasion, threats, and, finally, murder. I was getting a little antsy with the historical telling and, just when I was ready to abort my reading mission, the time shifted to the present. And then I really started to enjoy the story more and more.
As the chapters carry on, I grew to appreciate the historical perspective provided in the first few chapters and saw how everything was woven together. The importance and significance of the three children of Sorcha and the three cousins – Branna, Connor, and Iona – the animal guides that each have and, later, the connections that are forged to form the magical circle. Each character is rich in detail and well-developed; however, Dark Witch is really Iona’s story. The narration focuses most clearly on her; how she came to Ireland, her past, her power, and her love story with Boyle.
The setting of the book – Ireland, County Mayo – was another source of enjoyment for me. I’ve long had a fascination with all things Irish and would love to visit the country someday. The village setting feels cozy and charming and makes me long to live among the fictional characters that Nora Roberts has created. The story arc was captivating and I can foresee that the coming books – Shadow Spell and Blood Magick – will focus on other pairings in the group of six main characters. I was curious as to how the action of the first book would be resolved, because it felt as though Nora Roberts was leading me to a firm conclusion, but the construction of the thread of continuity was nicely spun; I was quite happy to have the next book to begin listening to right away.
I think one of the best things about Dark Witch was narrator Katherine Kellgren. She was lively and animated, dramatic and spellbinding in her own right. Her reading really enhanced my enjoyment of the story. (So much so that I found myself rather taken aback when I began listening to Shadow Spell and heard a different – and male! – voice reading. I’m still not sure how I feel about him!)