“Dark Witch” by Nora Roberts


artemisiconAs you may have noticed, this isn’t a standard book for me to read. I usually avoid romance like the plague, but my friend who is always loaning me books talked me into reading this one. I had really low standards, and was familiar with the standard romance ‘tropes’. I figured I could predict the book before I even read it.

Once again, I get bit in the ass for my hatred of romance. I actually really, REALLY enjoyed the book. It’s the first in a trilogy (I still need to read the third), known at the Cousins O’Dwyer trilogy.

The series starts out about Iona Sheehan (the second book is from her cousins point of view) as she decides to start her life anew in Ireland. She had done research on her family and found relatives in Ireland.She contacted them, saved up her money, and flew from America to Ireland with only a small idea of what to do.

Iona’s family is descended from a powerful witch named Sorcha and her three children. Each child was gifted like their mother, but had a bond with a certain animal. One to hounds, another to horses, and the third to hawks. Without the tacky telepathy link, they are still able to tell how the animal is feeling and when they’re hurt or in danger. The animals do everything they can to make sure their human stays safe, whether from themselves or from outside harm. Iona is descended from Sorcha’s youngest child, who was bound to horses, and as a horse trainer when Iona gets to Ireland she quickly finds a job as a trail guide.

I was really impressed because there was an actual plot to the book, and Iona didn’t fall head over heels with the first tall-dark-handsome she came across.

Sorcha had drawn the attention of a cruel warlock, Cabhan, and after spurning him, he murders her husband and plagues her children with horrific nightmares. She was unable to kill him and only managed to seriously hurt him. He sought revenge on all of her descendants, which is where the plot comes from. All Sorcha’s ancestors are together and one of each of her children is represented. They are stronger together, so Cabhan has to work harder to defeat them.

The magic used is rooted in Wiccan and old Irish. It’s very beautiful magic, instead of the Hollywood’s view of witches being ugly and cruel. I was really impressed with her representation of magic, it’s not as common to see. Most writers go with the throwing fireball type spells, and less the potions an talismans aspect.

Keeping in mind that this is still a romance, I can’t leave that out. When the ‘romance’ started, it wasn’t Iona falling instantly in love with him. She first checked with her co-worker, thinking the girl was in a relationship with him and making sure she wasn’t invading. Then, it became a simple caring for, making sure each other is safe, nothing about the irritating instant-love. It built naturally over a long period of time between the two. And because it neither took away from the plot, nor BECAME the plot, it was actually a nice addition.

I was honestly surprised at how much I enjoyed the book, I’m almost curious to check out more of Nora Roberts books.

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