Title: Dark Witch (book 1 of the Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy)
Author: Nora Roberts
Publisher: Berkley (first time in print)
Format: Trade Paperback $17.00 US
How I Read it: Trade Paperback from Publisher
Rating: 4 Crowns
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.
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… (taken from the jacket flap)
Winter 1263 Sorcha, the original Dark Witch, is being hunted by Cabhan who wants her powers for his own and will stop at nothing to get them but Sorcha will not freely give them and he cannot take them without her consent. With her husband off fighting a war and still weak from the loss of her unborn child, Sorcha knows what she must do to keep her three children alive. She merges her powers with the powers of her young children then sends them off so she can face Cabhan alone.
County Mayo, 2013 Iona Sheehan has sold everything and left behind her grandmother, the only person who ever loved her, to move to Ireland, the place of her ancestors. In searching out the legend of the first Dark Witch, Iona hopes to find where she belongs by getting in touch with her roots, but she wasn’t prepared for just how in touch she would become. When she meets her cousins, Branna and Connor O’Dwyer, they know instantly that she is the third. The only thing left to do is teach her how to use the magick and prepare her for Cabhan, who already has her in his sights.
As Iona learns how use the magick inside her, she also starts falling for Boyle McGrath, the owner of the local stable that she’s just been hired at.
I’ve never been overly fond of Nora Roberts’ writing—it’s good, don’t get me wrong, but none of it has captured my attention the way The Dark Witch did. I found, no matter how hard I tried, I could not put this book. It held me spellbound until the very last page and now I am anxiously awaiting the second book.
The main character, Iona, at the beginning of the book, comes off a bit strong and a tad annoying but thankfully that quickly changes and she becomes very likeable as her character arcs. Boyle McGrath, Iona’s love interest, gave off that typical Irish boxer swagger. Broody and one to keep women at arm’s length, he finds the situation he’s in with Iona to be a new one and jumps to some interesting conclusions which blow up in his face. I just wished that he would have been a bit more prevalent in the story—he’s in there, but I didn’t feel as though I really got a chance to meet him.
While The Dark Witch was Iona’s story, I found that the other characters, Branna, Connor, Fin, and Meara intrigued me as well, which is good considering that their stories are to come (and I cannot wait to read them). They added a nice balance to the novel, and I cannot wait to get to know more about Fin, there was something about him—perhaps that he’s of Cabhan’s blood and walks the line between good and evil—that makes him enthralling.
I also liked the way Cabhan and that whole aspect was handled. Rather than every page being ‘this great evil beastie is out to get us and we all might die’ the drama was well handled, it was there but it allowed the plot to flow naturally without being overloaded.
Another plus for me was the way that Roberts brought the setting to life; I could almost feel the rain and smell the peat fires.
As this is a trilogy, I knew that there would be a cliffhanger of sorts, but I was very pleased with the way the first book ended.
Overall, I could not get enough of this book. While I wished that Boyle would have been introduced more, I think that it lent a bit of mystery that he wasn’t. Thoroughly intrigued and pleased, I cannot wait to read the second installment.
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