Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Book Review: Dark Witch (Book One of the Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy) by Nora Roberts

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Description from Good Reads
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…

My Review

The first book of the cousins O'Dwyer series, Dark Witch, reminded me a lot of two other "firsts" of her trilogies- the Gallaghers of Ardmore, and the Three Sisters Island. If you've read both, you know they both involve "outsiders" coming into a life already in progress for the others, but quickly being accepted into the fold. In the Gallaghers, it's Jude going to Ireland to reevaluate herself. And in the Three Sisters Island, it's Nell fleeing an abusive husband, and unlocking her witch powers.

In Dark Witch, we met Iona Sheehan, who goes to Ireland to meet cousins and basically get away from her parents and her old, unfilling life, at the urgency of her grandmother. She grew up knowing she had powers, but was never able to fully explore them because of her mother's indifference and almost fear of them.

We meet her cousins, Branna and Conner, who open her up to her powers. We meet Boyle, who gives her a place to work at his stables, and who captures her heart pretty much immediately. And we meet Finn, who we discover has a history with not only the Dark Witch mythos, but with Branna. They had a past relationship that is still causing them heartache today.

The Dark Witch myth is pretty intriguing- an ancestor of Iona, Branna, and Connor was the Dark Witch, and she is being attacked by Cabhan, an evil male witch who is obsessed with the Dark Witch and wants her powers (and her body). This entire portion goes on for 40 pages, but that's not a bad thing- it was pretty interesting, and I'm hoping she touches on the history of Cabhan and the Dark Witch a little more in the next books.

Iona learns how to harness and control her magick through working with Branna, and she grows both in her job and relationship. I really loved hearing about her relationship with her horse, and the other's relationships with their animals as well. I really love when a story has that element. 

Her relationship with Boyle, on the other hand, was a little lacking. I don't know if it was just that Boyle is a harder male character than I've read from Nora in awhile, or if there was little to no chemistry- I just wasn't happy when they finally got together. And I didn't care when they had their typical Nora Robert's fight to "break up". It was the typical Nora formula that I love, but I wasn't all that into the characters or their relationship. 

What I really enjoyed about the book, and why I still gave it four stars on Good Reads, is the relationships between all the characters in general, and the history behind them. And I want to know more about the Dark Witch, and I want to see Cabhan defeated. I'm invested. 

The second book in the Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy, Shadow Spell, is set to release on May 6th, 2014 (as of this blog post). It looks like it is going to be Connor's story, and I'm so glad- I was hoping she would save Branna for last!

You can purchase a copy of this book for Kindle here, or a physical copy here.

FTC: I purchased this book with my own money. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
This post does contain Amazon Affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.

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