The Dark Witch is book one in the Cousins O'Dwyer trilogy. I've never read anything by Nora Roberts, and I've heard good things about her trilogies so I decided to try one out. I hate to admit it, but I'm feeling mediocre about it. And I didn't want to - I wanted to love it.
Iona Sheehan is the descendent of The Dark Witch Sorcha. Sorcha sacrificed her life to protect her three children from the evils of Cabhan. Her sacrifice was brave, and in her sacrifice, she marked him with the pentagram. This, of course, prompts his curse of the family and that he will one day kill all decedents of The Dark Witch because while she burned him into the ground, a bit of him lives on (isn't that always the way with evil, can't quite kill it the first time). Then, we fast forward a hundred plus years to modern day Ireland where Iona Sheehan has given up her entire world in the states to move across the pond and find her family - the O'Dwyer cousins because she's grown up with her Nan telling her all about the family history, and she's a witch. As she arrives, she now makes the third of the O'Dwyer cousins as Branna and Connor are already there, and there is power in three - although we are never told why, we are just supposed to know. Cabhan has returned and they must work to defeat him.
But it lacks conflict, plot, and pacing. I don't know why they are fighting evil? And with a name like "The Dark Witch" - shouldn't she be the evil one? I have no idea why Cabhan (the named antagonist I guess) had "beef" which Sorcha in the first place? And why does he keep randomly popping up now that Iona is here? And what the heck is with all the poorly written dialogue? The conversations are so hard to follow - they lack tags and half of the time I don't know who is speaking at all.
I don't like Iona, the protagonist of the novel. She is a flighty ditz that can't control her mouth, and not in a "word vomit" with merit kind of way - she says stupid things, really stupid things. And somehow a grounded salt-of-the-earth man finds this appealing? I'm just not buying the romance between Boyle (a half-written character) and Iona. Their interactions are sloppy, their conversations cheeky, and the sex was just distracting - not steamy, not hot, but dull and flat. Much like the rest of the characters. The only character that drew my interest was Sorcha in the prologue, and then she dies and the rest of the characters remain lifeless.
All in all, a very disappointing first novel for me from this author. Rumor has it her writing used to be strong, but this book was disastrous. There was no connection between the leads, no real climax to the story, and no caring on my part whether they lived or died. It left me empty and flat - and wanting to read something by another author.
I already have book two in this trilogy and all I can hope is that there will be more to it. For now, Nora Roberts is going back on the shelf and probably won't be coming off again. Bummed, because I know people that love her work. I actually feel really bad writing this review as I had hoped to find an author to add to my must-read list, but I just can't. At least not with this book.