Review: Dark Witch by Nora Roberts

Posted November 12, 2013 by Jonetta in Book Review | | 9 Comments

Review: Dark Witch by Nora RobertsDark Witch by Nora Roberts
Series: The Cousins O'Dwyer #1
Published by Penguin on October 29, 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Paranormal
Pages: 368 pages
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased

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…





The set up
Iona Sheehan risks everything when she quits her job, sells everything she owns and moves from Baltimore, Maryland to County Mayo, Ireland, her ancestral homeland. She seeks out her cousins, Branna, a Dark Witch, and Connor O’Dwyer, that her grandmother has told her so much about, determined to find that connection she’s craved all her life. Iona gets more than she ever hoped for when her cousins embrace her and help her get a job with their friend Boyle McGrath, doing what she loves…caring for and riding horses.


The issues
The story begins with the medieval tale of Sorcha, the first Dark Witch, who took on Cabhan, an evil sorcerer. She passed her powers to her three children who in turn have done the same with their descendants. With Iona’s arrival, the circle is now complete and the cousins must now contend with what evil remains from Cabhan. Iona is a novice and needs to hone her skills before they have to face his challenge. And, she’s distracted by her developing romance with the gruff but sexy Boyle.


What worked for me
I absolutely loved that this story takes place in Ireland, complete with the vernacular in the dialogue between the characters. The men in this story are highly appealing…Boyle, with his tough and serious but sexy manner….Connor, who is lighthearted and generous, and Fin, who’s dark with emerald eyes focused only on Branna, the most skilled of the witches who makes the paranormal aspect of the story exciting.

Iona was delightful, though others may disagree. I found her sunny disposition uplifting in light of her dismal upbringing. Her joy was infectious, inspired her cousins and threw the serious Boyle completely off balance. While their romance edged up against that old “insta-love”storyline, it was knocked back into reality in an almost heartbreaking way. It made it much more interesting and emotional.


What some have said
There are comparisons to Nora’s Key and Three Sisters Island trilogies but it felt fresh to me. I didn’t see those connections and have read both. Maybe the setting made this story a standout for me as I didn’t want to put the book down.


The bottom line
I loved the Celtic lore, the witchcraft, the romance, the setting and the characters. I liked Iona and Boyle, primarily because of her enthusiasm as I connected with her circumstances. The book set the stage for the next stories in this trilogy and I’m anxiously anticipating them. If you’ve never read anything by Nora, this would be a great series to start. It’s also pretty interesting for those of us that already have many of her stories already read on our shelves. I think it’s a winner.




About Nora Roberts

Nora Roberts was born in Silver Spring, Maryland, the youngest of five children. She married young and settled in Keedysville, Maryland where she worked briefly as a legal secretary. After her sons were born she stayed home and tried every craft that came along. A blizzard in February 1979 forced her hand to try another creative outlet. She was snowed in with a three and six year old.

Born into a family of readers, Nora had never known a time that she wasn’t reading or making up stories. During the now-famous blizzard, she pulled out a pencil and notebook and began to write down one of those stories. It was there that a career was born. Several manuscripts and rejections later, her first book, Irish Thoroughbred, was published by Silhouette in 1981.

Nora met her second husband, Bruce Wilder, when she hired him to build bookshelves. They were married in July 1985. Since that time, they’ve expanded their home, traveled the world and opened a bookstore together.

Through the years, Nora has always been surrounded by men. Not only was she the youngest in her family, but she was also the only girl. She has raised two sons. Having spent her life surrounded by men, Ms. Roberts has a fairly good view of the workings of the male mind, which is a constant delight to her readers. It was, she’s been quoted as saying, a choice between figuring men out or running away screaming.

Nora is a member of several writers groups and has won countless awards from her colleagues and the publishing industry. Recently The New Yorker called her “America’s favorite novelist.”

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I LOVE reading and am just crazy about so many series and writers. I’m open to exploring new authors and genres and appreciate those who not only write well but can deliciously craft a character and a tale. Your suggestions for new authors and titles are very much welcomed.

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9 responses to “Review: Dark Witch by Nora Roberts

  1. I went to download this at audible, after your review and Kimba’s I was very excited, but oh boy! All I saw in the reviews were screams about how bad the narrator is. What a shame! I so wanted to listen, but now I’m afraid..LOL

  2. I’ve been super curious about this book; I used to read a bit of Nora Roberts back in the day and was excited to hear that she was coming out with a new paranormal series. I think I’ll give this one a try; thanks for the review!