Dark Witch (The Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy) by Nora Roberts

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Dark Witch (The Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy) by Nora Roberts

Buy Dark Witch (The Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy) by Nora Roberts at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Women's Fiction
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Ani Johnson
Reviewed by Ani Johnson
Summary: A light tale and first in a trilogy as the magic of witchcraft vies with the magic of love. A controversial one among the fans though as they ask is this a remix of the author's past work.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 368 Date: October 2013
Publisher: Piatkus
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0749958589

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American Iona Sheehan moves to Ireland in order to discover her ancestors' roots and oh so much more. Her ancestors were witches and her cousins Branna and Conor O'Dwyer have acquired the family talent. Under their care and tutelage Iona has her own skills honed as she develops the magick passed down to her in between her work at the local stables. Unfortunately magick isn't the only thing to have survived the centuries. Cabahn, the nemesis of Sorcha, the first O'Dwyer dark witch, has unfinished business with the cousins and not in a good way.

What do authors JD Robb and Nora Roberts have in common? The answer is everything as they're both Nora Roberts. Indeed, Nora has had a prestigious and prolific career under both names, her novel titles running into hundreds but up till now I've remained a Robb-Roberts virgin, much to my shame.

This is the first of a trilogy featuring the three O'Dwyer cousins, the hunky stable owner Boyle McGrath (a name, not an instruction), his business partner Fin and Meara, Iona's co-worker and, of course, the evil presence that is Cabahn.

As the title suggests, there is definitely magick of a supernatural nature (hence the 'k') but the main backbone of the novel is magic of the relationship/love kind be it with romantic or with family. This emerges in a style that's Danielle Steel meets Janet Evanovich with a dusting of My Friend Flicka. Indeed, although it's accessible for all, if you're a horsey person Iona spends a lot of her time around them.

The set-up is standard: each cousin has an animal with useful powers to complement their own and there are head-on battles to show these off. Meanwhile poor Iona is left to learn on the job adding to the suspense. There's also more love than bewitching as the six main characters divide conveniently into three potential romantic couples but, as I luxuriated in Boyle's attraction (I have an imagination!) I wasn't complaining. Indeed all the goodies are likeable and each has an inner conflict that anchors them to reality.

Having said this, I do have a couple of niggles as well as others introducing an aura of controversy surrounding the novel. Selfish to the last, me first!

If you like your historic facts to be, well, facts, let me warn you that the O'Dwyers' ancestors acquire potatoes 500 years before anyone else in Ireland. My other minor niggle revolves around the writing being a little heavy in places. (E.g. if we're told 'its' coming one more time.!)

Where the controversy is concerned first a caveat: my lack of experience in Nora's back catalogue means I'm relying on the vibes from the experts, i.e. her avid, regular readers. Their word on the street is that this is a cocktail of Ms Roberts' previous The Sisters series and Sign of Seven right down to the appearance of an identical mark on a character's neck. They are therefore saying this isn't a good example of past triumphs and, rather than be put off, potential followers should read the acclaimed and aforementioned The Sisters and/or Sign of Seven.

Speaking personally, The Dark Witch isn't going to shake the world of literature (although her characters aren't averse to a few rattling headboards) but it was a pleasant way to spend the afternoon and I didn't regret the time the O'Dwyers and I spent together. However, I do feel tempted to follow the fans recommendations because if they're right, having had 'pleasant' I quite fancy 'really good'.

I'd like to thank Piatkus for providing us with a review copy.

Further Reading: If you like a bit of magic with your romance and a bit more depth, we heartily recommend A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness.

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Buy Dark Witch (The Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy) by Nora Roberts at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Dark Witch (The Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy) by Nora Roberts at Amazon.com.


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