Arriving at the atmospheric castle Ashford, Iona is excited to meet her enigmatic cousins, Connor and Branna O'Dwyer. And when she lands a job at the local riding school she is soon drawn to its owner - the charismatic, fiercely independent Boyle Mcgrath. Perhaps she has found her true home at last. But Iona's arrival is no accident.
The three cousins have each inherited a dangerous gift from an ancestor known as the dark witch. And they are about to discover that some old legends can return to haunt the present. The first in a magical new trilogy, dark witch is a captivating story of love, family and destiny.
Comment: I've been a fan of Nora Roberts for years and in other posts I'm sure I also said she was the author who got me hooked on romance and from then on, countless other readers. That means I will always give her books a chance and she is probably the author whose work I have complete in my shelves, except the two older books no longer in print and which are too expensive to get from online booksellers.
In this new trilogy, we follow the adventures of three cousins and their closest friends and how they will attempt to finally defeat an enemy who has been waiting centuries to gain a power he considers his.
Iona is a young woman who has had a simple but mostly unlovable life in the US. She decides that she will try to connect with her Irish roots and find out about her witch ancestor. She quickly meets her cousins and finds a job in the nearby stables and she will be a central piece in bringing everyone together so they can win the battle against the evil who was the cause of their ancestor's death, the Dark Witch.
Together with her cousins, Iona will develop her growing powers and her confidence as a witch and the first step to defeat their enemy will finally be taken...
As usual, I liked spending time with characters created by Nora Roberts. There's something in her style and formulas that is so often considered repetitive - even for fans, depending on the books - that it can be boring to go over the same ideas dressed up with different clothes, but for me there is some comfort reading in that. But of course I love it when things feel new.
This is the first book in a trilogy and any Nora's fan knows her trilogies follow a certain set of rules when it comes to the structure of the stories. This first book sets up the plot, brings the characters together and explains all the issues while giving us a first romance that, as expected, can be seen as a little too quick for it to be a convincing romance. But I liked knowing a bit about every character, we have enough glimpses of everyone and that allows us to start making assumptions about why they act the way they do and how future romantic relationships will be developed.
The best thing about Nora's trilogies is something that we can also see here very easily: the six main characters, three couples, are all friends and work together to achieve a common goal and I really like how Nora creates friendships.
The plot is very dedicated to defeat an old male witch. The six are gaining forces, mental and physical, to do so. I liked the little paranormal aspects.... Nora's trilogies can go two ways: simple contemporary and with paranormal settings or details and this fits this latter bill. (Although she has a trilogy in the works which apparently doesn't match her usual style, that is promising)
This paranormal trilogy isn't too heavy in details and negative aspects like the trilogy of The Circle was in the past, something I'm quite grateful to personally. This is mostly about the guys preparing themselves and finding the will and the power to defeat him eventually. I liked the domestic aspects of their lives, the work they sometimes describe and all related to their lives.
The romance was ok, not too detailed and in parts it also seemed a bit too easy and too quick. Iona is a great character but I think she was so joyous and that wasn't exactly up to par with her childhood descriptions but ok, I can accept that. Boyle, the hero, I liked but from being just a friend and helped and boss to be in love with Iona... I get it but yes, in this regard, Nora's stories have become a bit too easy and repetitive, I wish the romances could be developed a little better.
All in all, it was entertaining and I hope for good things in the following installments.