Dark Witch, by Nora Roberts

March 26, 2014 Book Reviews 9 ★★★★½

Dark Witch, by Nora RobertsDark Witch by Nora Roberts
Series: Cousins O'Dwyer #1
Published by Berkley on 2013-10-29
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Romantic suspense
Pages: 368
Format: Hardcover
Source: the library
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Also in this series: Shadow Spell, Blood Magick
Also by this author: Shadow Spell, The Collector, Blood Magick, Night Moves, Whiskey Beach, Jewels of the Sun, Tears of the Moon, Stars of Fortune, Tribute, The Search, Three Fates, High Noon, The Liar, Identity

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.

Ireland. 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...


In Dark Witch, Nora Roberts blends long-lost family, romance, magic, and myth in a magical novel about connection and division, love and loss and the ties which bind us together. I alternately sped through the book, anxious to know what happened next, and slowed down to enjoy the descriptions of the Irish countryside and the growing love and friendship between the major characters.

I found it very easy to relate to Iona even though my background is nothing like hers. I admire her courage in moving to Ireland. Her optimism is tempered with realism, and she’s not afraid of hard work, neither with the horses nor in mastering her magic. I love her honesty and openness, particularly with Boyle. And even when she’s deeply hurting, she doesn’t let her pain get in the way of the vows she, her cousins, and their friends have taken to eradicate the evil that has haunted and threatened her family for hundreds of years.

Boyle is harder to understand, probably because he guards his heart more closely than Iona does. And when he screws up, he does so out of fear, but I still wanted to shake some sense into him. On the other hand, he can be pretty irresistible with that Irish brogue when he turns on the charm.

Iona’s cousins, Branna and Connor, also interest me. They are far more comfortable and skilled in their magic — or rather, magick — than Iona, since they came to it much earlier in their lives; I want to know more about both of them and the magic that they wield. Connor is charming and easygoing, with a peculiar blind spot when it comes to their friend Meara. There’s both pain and strain between Branna and Boyce’s business partner, Finbar Burke; they obviously have a past. It’s pretty clear that the sequels will focus on Connor and Meara, and Branna and Finbar.

I’m fascinated by the magick in Dark Witch. There are a number of familiar elements (and I use the term “familiar” in both its meanings — accustomed, and an animal or animal spirit allied with a witch), but Roberts also weaves past and present together in unexpected ways. Since Iona only really begins studying magick after she meets her cousins and commits to their cause, I don’t think we’ve seen all there is to learn about the Dark Witch’s magick yet, nor that of the evil sorcerer Cabhan.

This is the first of Roberts’ paranormal/fantasy romances I’ve read, but it will definitely not be the last. I enjoyed Dark Witch so much that after I read the library’s copy, I bought it for my Kindle – and pre-ordered the sequel, Shadow Spell, as well. It came yesterday, and I can’t wait to read it!


About Nora Roberts

Nora Roberts was born in Maryland and educated in Catholic schools. She married young and worked as a legal secretary until her sons were born. In 1979, faced with a blizzard and “a dwindling supply of chocolate”, she sat down and began to write. ‘Irish Thoroughbred’ was published two years later. 30 years and over 210 books and novellas later, Roberts is one of the most popular writers of romance, romantic suspense, and (as J. D. Robb) mystery around.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • TBR Pile Reading Challenge 2014
  • Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge 2014

9 Responses to “Dark Witch, by Nora Roberts”

  1. Bea

    Very nice review; this one is on my wish list.

    Another PNR of hers to try is the the Three Sisters. I loved it. Hmm, might be time for a re-read.

  2. Herding Cats - Burning Soup

    Okay I will have to give this one a try. I LOVE her books as JD Robb and devour those but haven’t quite found one of her Nora series that gives me that same feeling. Things one though sounds like one I’d totally get into so thanks for the heads up!

  3. Pabkins

    I actually haven’t read any of Roberts para romance either. My blog partner April just read this as well. Now I’ll have to see what she thinks. I never would have considered reading Nora Roberts before because I always associate her with contemporary.

  4. Wendy Darling

    I like Nora Robert’s JR Roberts “in death” series a lot, but I haven’t had as much luck with her contemporary romances. I do like supernatural books though, so this sounds like it could be good!

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden