Three Fates by Nora Roberts

December 27, 2017 Book Reviews 8 ★★★½

Three Fates by Nora RobertsThree Fates by Nora Roberts
Published by Putnam on March 31, 2002
Genres: Romantic suspense
Pages: 450
Format: Hardcover
Source: the library
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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Also by this author: Dark Witch, Shadow Spell, The Collector, Night Moves, Whiskey Beach, Jewels of the Sun, Tears of the Moon, Stars of Fortune, Tribute, The Search, High Noon, The Liar, Identity, Gabriel's Angel, Inheritance

When the Lusitania sank, more than one thousand people died. One passenger, however, survived to become a changed man, giving up his life as a petty thief but keeping a small silver statue that would become a family heirloom to future generations.

Now, nearly a century later, that heirloom, one of a priceless, long-separated set of three, has been snatched away from the Sullivans. And Malachi, Gideon, and Rebecca Sullivan are determined to recover their great-great-grandfather's treasure, reunite the Three Fates, and make their fortune.

The quest will take them from their home in Ireland to Helsinki, Prague, and New York and introduce them to a formidable female professor whose knowledge of Greek mythology will aid them in their quest; to a daring exotic dancer who sees the Fates as her chance at a new life; and to a seductive security expert who knows how to play high-tech cat-and-mouse. And it will pit them in a suspenseful fight against an ambitious woman who will stop at nothing to acquire the Fates.

This book contains mature content and may not be suitable for younger readers.


Three Fates reads like a cross between a romance, a treasure hunt, and a heist novel. It’s entertaining, but I didn’t find it nearly as satisfying as most of the other Nora Roberts books I’ve read.

All my complaints can be traced back to one main issue: what should have been a trilogy has been condensed into a single novel. There are six main characters and three romances, which means that none of the couples really gets enough time. Also, there were things that grated on me in each relationship, and in several cases, in the characters themselves, so it was harder to wholeheartedly root for each couple. If the book had been written as a long-arc trilogy, more like the Key trilogy or the Inn Boonsboro series, there would been more time to develop each of the characters, giving them more depth as individually and enriching the arcs of their relationships. And I suspect that with more page time, some of those aspects that grated on me would have been smoothed out, or resolved with more emotional believability.

As it is, the complexity and fast pace of the plot, with its wheels within wheels, make the novel far more plot-driven than character-driven. That’s not necessarily a flaw, but it’s not what I’ve come to expect and appreciate from Roberts, who usually excels at balancing the two. Judging from the reviews on Goodreads and Amazon, some readers rate Three Fates as their favorite Nora Roberts book. I guess it depends on why you read her books, and what you’re looking for in them. I look for more real emotional connection, but due to the pacing and inclusion of all three couples’ stories in one novel, that connection felt more shallow than I prefer—as though lust and fate are the main things holding each couple together, rather than a love that develops over time.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for an action-packed heist novel, complete with lost treasures, cold-blooded villainess, high-tech burglary, and a team of amateurs out for justice and a hint of revenge, Three Fates should be right up your alley.



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:

  • The Backlist Reader Challenge 2017

8 Responses to “Three Fates by Nora Roberts”

  1. Jo

    I haven’t read any Nora Roberts books (how is that even possible – I don’t know) but I love fast paced-books so need to check this one out.

  2. Katherine @ I Wish I Lived in a Library

    I’m one of the readers who rates this as one of their favorite Nora Roberts books but you make some really interesting points. I do agree that there are issues with all three relationships and there isn’t much time for an emotional connection. However, I love the “let’s get the team together and hatch a plan” aspect enough that it balances it out. I hadn’t really thought of why I enjoyed it so this was really interesting to read.
    Katherine @ I Wish I Lived in a Library recently posted…A Week in Winter – Fiction ReviewMy Profile

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      Viewed as a heist novel rather than a romance, it was a lot of fun—the “let’s get together and hatch a plan” aspect, as you point out. I just missed the deeper development of the relationships. But isn’t it great that Roberts has so many different types of novels, so that most readers can find something they like?

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      She has several distinct styles and genres, so it kind of depends on what you like. If you like contemporary romance, try the Born In series, which deals with members of an Irish family; I also liked the Inn Boonesboro series, including the ghost. If you like a bit of magic in your romance, try the Cousins O’Dwyer series, which I love, or the Three Sisters Island trilogy, or the Keys trilogy. If you like flat-out fantasy romance, the Circle trilogy is really good, and has one of the few vampires I actually enjoy reading about. If you like romantic suspense, High Noon is very good, and so are Whiskey Beach, The Collector, and The Liar, though the suspense part of that one takes a while to get going. (Nonetheless, it’s one of my favorites.) And if you like grittier police procedural mysteries with a futuristic twist, I hear that her “In Death” series written as J. D. Robb is very good, but I haven’t tried it. Let me know what you try, and how you like it!

      • Evelina

        Wow, thank you!!! This has GOT to be the most extensive rec I’ve ever seen 🙂 I am copying and pasting it somewhere for safe keeping. I actually don’t read a lot of romance! But lately I’ve been thinking that maybe I need more positivity in my life… and romance books can totally do that, can’t they. So I think I should check out some of the best ones 🙂
        Evelina recently posted…Demons, Petticoats and Swords & 5 Reasons To Read ThisMy Profile