Oct 22 2013 8:30am

First Look: Nora Roberts’s Dark Witch (October 29, 2013)

Dark Witch by Nora RobertsNora Roberts
Dark Witch
Berkley / October 29, 2013 / $17.00 print, $9.99 digital

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…

Nora Roberts’s newest book, Dark Witch, takes readers on a trip to the land of full of green fields, old ruins, and lots of magick. This is not the first time that Nora Roberts has presented us with a trilogy which will build up to epic battle of good vs. evil, nor is it the first time she has traveled the scenic back roads of Ireland, but Dark Witch is as much a story about the connection of family (“blood talks to blood”) as it is a story of witches and magic.

Iona Sheehan has traveled across the Atlantic to County Mayo, Ireland, in search of answers, understanding and more importantly, she’s come in search of family. Iona’s parents gave her everything she ever desired, except for their attention and their love. As an only child, spending time with her grandmother, Nan, was the only time Iona had a feeling of belonging.

“I always wanted a sister,” Iona mused.

“Would you like one of mine? Either of them’s up for the grabbing. I’ll keep my brothers, as they’re not gits most of the time.”

“Being an only child is lonely and you never get to bitch about your siblings.”

“I would miss the bitching,” Meara admitted. “It makes me feel so superior and smart.”

“I had imaginary siblings.”

Amused, Meara sat back with her tea. “Did you now? What did you call them?”

“Katie, Alice and Brian. Sometimes I could see them, as clear as I see you.”

“The power of wishes,” Branna told her. Lonely child, she thought. Not so tended, so not understood or cherished.

It was Nan who told Iona of her family history. She told Iona that she was descended from Sorcha, the Dark Witch and how she died to protect her three children and her family’s magick from the dark sorcerer, Cabhan. Sorcha passed her magick to her children and used their family’s blood bond to try to trap Cabhan, but she knew if she failed, it would be for the three of them and the magic they wielded to succeed.

Nan also told Iona about her cousins, Branna and Connor O’Dwyer, who still lived in Ireland, and that like Iona, Branna and Connor had inherited Sorcha’s magick. With a leap of faith, Iona quit her job and sold off her belongings to travel to Ireland determined to find that one bit of magick that has always eluded her, the bond of family.

“You study everything and everyone,” Boyle put in, “as if there’s to be an exam within the hour. And your brain’s full of questions and conclusions.”

“It feels like family.” She spoke the first thought that popped from the tangle of them in her mind. “It’s something I always wanted to feel, be part of.”

“Sure it is family,” Connor told her. “And yours.”

“You’re generous with people. It’s your nature. Not everyone is, or at least they’re more cautious before opening the door. I’m the newest here, on a lot of levels. Observing gives me a better sense of that family.”

Upon meeting her cousins, she is immediately welcomed into their home, into their family, and into their circle of friends. With a place to live and a new job, Iona is ready to begin a new chapter in her life which includes that strong connection of family that she yearned for all her life. But in linking her magick to that of her cousins, she has unknowingly closed the circle of three. The three descendants of the three children of Sorcha must now face the same evil that killed the Dark Witch seven hundred and fifty years ago and which has continued to stalk their family waiting for the joining of the three, waiting for an opportunity to destroy the O’Dwyers and steal their combined powers.

“Family,” she said again. “And more, family with the kind of problem and mutual goal that means we could all get our asses kicked, or worse, tomorrow or any time after. So I figure there’s not a bunch of time to waste or circle around what might make us happy. Speaking as someone who’s lived her life with half the happy, I’d like to finish it out—especially considering potential ass kicking—with a great armload of it.”

Hopefully, the bonds of love and family are strong enough to face the evil that has waited centuries to be released.

Learn more or order a copy of Dark Witch by Nora Roberts, available October 29, 2013:

Buy at AmazonBuy at Barnes & NobleBuy at Indiebound



Lucy Dosch writes book reviews for her blog http://ebookobsessed.com. Her e-reader has turned her love of reading into an obsession. When she is not reading, she likes to spend time with her husband and two daughters.

Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
Heather Waters
1. HeatherWaters
This sounds like a perfect Halloween read. Veeeery tempting!
Peggy Davis
2. BoredwithThat
Sounds like a re-hash of previous works - I think I will pass.
Lori K
3. LoriK
I was really disappointed in Nora's last couple books and this one sounds like it could be treading old ground. I'll wait for reviews from people who aren't hardcore fans before I decide whether to give it a try.
4. Kareni
I'm looking forward to reading this. Thanks for the review.
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