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Sandy M’s review of Dark Witch (Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy, Book 1) by Nora Roberts
Paranormal Romance published by Berkley Trade 29 Oct 13

I know I’m like a lot of Nora Roberts’ fans, so very glad she writes across all genres in romance. After her Inn Boonsboro trilogy and The Witness – an all-time Nora fave now – I’m excited to begin this new paranormal series introducing the O’Dwyer cousins and the evil their ancestor nearly vanquished that they must now fight to bring balance into their lives and to the very powerful magick they wield.

We meet first Sorcha, the original dark witch, and her children, who fight to keep Cabhan, a sorcerer who wants her power for his own, at bay. These first few chapters are quick paced, giving the reader everything they need to continue Sorcha’s story hundreds of years in the future. Though I realized what would happen to Sorcha, I hated it, because she was a formidable woman you had to admire and respect, and the scene with her husband broke my heart. But now to the story of those of her line and in whose hands their own fate and those of others lie.

Iona has always felt like she doesn’t belong – in her home, with her family, even in the U.S. Then when she steps foot on Irish soil, everything comes together for her for the first time in her life. Her magick also makes more sense, feels more powerful, and she’s ready to learn more from her cousins, Branna and Connor.  Heeding Branna’s advice to enjoy her remaining time at Ashford Castle, because they have a lot of work to do before the coming evil, which wants what the three cousins possess, makes it play, Iona soaks in everything Irish.

Needing a place to live and a job, Iona is welcomed into her cousins’ home and an offer of work comes from Boyle McGrath, a close friend of Branna’s and Connor’s. He owns a ranch, and with Iona’s experience and love of horses, she takes to every aspect of the job, from mucking the stalls to giving guided tours and riding lessons. And Boyle. Just looking at the man takes her breath, despite his abrupt, brusque manner. He tries his best to keep his distance from Iona, she’s his employee after all, but we all know what happens to best intentions. Especially when it’s Iona who pushes to get their relationship on the map.

Branna begins to push Iona, daily strengthening her magick, because they have a timeline, a plan to begin and end their fight on their terms. I really like these small parts of the story, watching Iona grow confident with each lesson, even bringing forth magick that is beyond her when cornered by what is left of Cabhan. Along with the cousins and Boyle, there are two more friends who will join in this fight – Meara, a human, as is Boyle, and Finbar (Fin to his friends), who is also a witch and who is descended of Cabhan, a fact that Branna has a difficult time with. They have a history of more than friends, and you can feel the pendulum of emotions these two still have for one another. I’m looking forward to their story a lot. For me, Fin is the most interesting character of them all.

As with a lot of Nora Roberts’ stories, the inanimate is sometimes a character in the story. This time it’s the magick. From Sorcha, who is quite powerful, to Cahban and his evilness to this trio of cousins, the book is full of magick to protect, to soothe, to assist, and every now and again just to make life a bit easier. I also like the way each cousin has inherited their talismans from their ancestors, taking immediately and completely to those animals, as well as all others animals, just as their forebears did. Of course, the romance with Boyle is slow and sensual and hits a snag or two along the way. You have to love this very sexy Irishman.

I’m totally hooked. I follow wherever Nora Roberts leads, and she’s leading us a good one, because you don’t end up quite where you expect. As usual, this book has it all to keep you turning page after page, wishing you hadn’t read it so darned fast. Waiting for the next installment is going to be sheer torture.

SandyMGrade: A+


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 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…

No excerpt available.

Other books in this series:

Shadow Spell

Blood Magic