I am a great fan of Nora Roberts, and some of her books can be a miss for me, but I’m very happy to report that Shadow Spell was a hit! I had already fallen in love with the characters thanks to Dark Witch(the first of the Cousin’s O’Dwyer series) but Shadow Spell helped me fall in love with the whole story. I love the characters, the world building, the back story…all of it. I started reading and didn’t stop until I was done even though I had to teach a classroom full of kids the next day. Shadow Spell was that enthralling.
With the legends and lore of Ireland running through his blood, falconer Connor O’Dwyer is proud to call County Mayo home. It’s where his sister, Branna, lives and works, where his cousin, Iona, has found true love, and where his childhood friends form a circle that can’t be broken…
A circle that is about to be stretched out of shape—by a long-awaited kiss.
Meara Quinn is Branna’s best friend, a sister in all but blood. Her and Connor’s paths cross almost daily, as Connor takes tourists on hawk walks and Meara guides them on horseback across the lush countryside. She has the eyes of a gypsy and the body of a goddess…things Connor has always taken for granted—until his brush with death propels them into a quick, hot tangle.
Plenty of women have found their way to Connor’s bed, but none to his heart until now. Frustratingly, Meara is okay with just the heat, afraid to lose herself—and their friendship—to something more. But soon, Connor will see the full force and fury of what runs in his blood. And he will need his family and friends around him when his past rolls in like the fog, threatening an end to all he loves…
I cannot say enough good things about the characters in Shadow Spell. Though we were introduced to all the characters in Dark Witch (Iona and Boyle especially), I’m really glad that Shadow Spell was about Connor and Meara. They were my favorite before and they remain my favorite after.
Connor and Meara are just so fascinating. They already love each other but not as lovers. Their entire dynamic kept me laughing and sighing and turing to the next page. There is so much history between them and it shows in every conversation. I really liked that while Meara is a very strong woman, she is also the one that has the most issues. I don’t know why exactly but it just felt perfect for their love story. Connor and Meara are the heart of the tale. Yes, there’s magic and curses and evil sorcerers to over come but Shadow Spell wouldn’t be worth reading without Connor and Meara being exactly who they are.
The other characters should not be forgotten though. Iona, the cousin from America who recently came to her magic and Boyle whose willing to fight for and with her against anything. Branna, the latest Dark Witch descended from a legacy hundreds and hundreds of year old. Finbar who has been marked by the Cabhon and who shares a past with Branna that holds love, deceit and heartbreak. And that’s not even mentioning their ancestors who also materialize from the past to help in the fight. Even if Shadow Spell had no magic or fantasy aspects I would still read it, and the others in the series, with no complaints.
The other thing that really grabbed me was the setting. I love Ireland and all the myths and superstitions that originated from there. Shadow Spell had everything I could ask for when it comes to Ireland. Witches and history and people who believe. It doesn’t hurt there are so many handsome Irish men.
And the back story and the history…it’s just amazing how detailed everything is. You can really tell Nora Roberts loves Ireland after reading Shadow Spell. It just seems to flow from every page. She makes it impossible to not love the land and history like she does.
There are a few things that annoyed me, but nothing too big. You know from Dark Witch exactly which character will be romantically linked to the other. There’s just no mystery. The villain also has no mystery to him and he seems to be easily beaten. But the pros really outweigh the con.
Do yourself a favor and pick up Shadow Spell (after reading Dark Witch of course). You won’t regret it. It was an exemplary example of romance and fantasy combined. I’m really glad Nora Roberts hit the mark with the Cousin O’Dwyer trilogy.