Book Review: Shadow Spell by Nora Roberts

“Love isn’t a prize given on merit, or something to be taken back when there’s a mistake. It’s a gift, as much for the giver as the one who’s given it.”

And so it goes.

I got this the day it came out – had been waiting (im)patiently for it to be released.

I had bothered Barnes & Nobles shamelessly.

I devoured this book.

You have been warned.


With the legends and lore of Ireland running through his blood, falconer Connor O’Dwyer is proud to call County Mayo home. It’s where his sister, Branna, lives and works, where his cousin, Iona, has found true love, and where his childhood friends form a circle that can’t be broken…

A circle that is about to be stretched out of shape—by a long-awaited kiss.

Meara Quinn is Branna’s best friend, a sister in all but blood. Her and Connor’s paths cross almost daily, as Connor takes tourists on hawk walks and Meara guides them on horseback across the lush countryside. She has the eyes of a gypsy and the body of a goddess…things Connor has always taken for granted—until his brush with death propels them into a quick, hot tangle.

Plenty of women have found their way to Connor’s bed, but none to his heart until now. Frustratingly, Meara is okay with just the heat, afraid to lose herself—and their friendship—to something more. But soon, Connor will see the full force and fury of what runs in his blood. And he will need his family and friends around him when his past rolls in like the fog, threatening an end to all he loves…


This is the second of the Cousin O’Dwyer Trilogy that began with Dark Witch (my review here). The first brought us into County Mayo in the Irish countryside following Iona – an American girl with an Irish spirit, who follows her calling all the way to the home of her distant cousins, uncovering a heritage that lends powers among blood. She also encounters the love of her life, Boyle, and all her cousins’ friends, as well as her own abilities in her book. This book opens up right after that one, and t picks up in the heads of Iona’s male cousin, Connor and the love of his life (and his older sister’s best friend) Meara.

As such, there may be spoilers from the first book – read with caution.

Anyways, as I said, this book picks up after the last one left off: our heroes nearly lost Iona to Cabhan (evil sorcerer), which only made them more inclined to kick his ass. As the previous one started, so does this – we go back in time to the original three – the three children of the original Dark Witch, who are the ancestors to our three modern day cousins (that’s a lot of “threes” – take a minute digest – okay, moving on). In our past reflections, we pick up the threads of what happened after the siblings made it out of danger and started settling their lives. Predominantly featured in this part (and throughout the story) is Eamon, the boy child of the original three, who seems to exhibit a connection with Connor throughout the story.

Anyways, back to our main heroes: Connor and Meara.

As I pointed out already – Meara is Branna’s best friend. Branna is Connor’s older sister. In essence, Meara and Connor have been friends for as long as they can remember. Meara, herself, has a crazy family spearheaded by a crazy mum – and that’s all I am going to say on that for now – I think Meara’s family needs to be read in their entirety. Especially her mother and her older sister. Connor, meanwhile comes from a pretty normal family, and lives with his sister. This complicates things. Particularly because Connor keeps trying to get it on with her, and she keeps resisting for fear of what her best friend will say.

I am not always a fan of the friends-to-lovers story, but Nora Roberts has a way of making it work out well – the romance is hot, the way they interact – the way they push and pull at each other, and need to discover themselves through their own narrow pursuit of one another.

The action in this one is more or less the same as the last: bursts of action, then long episodes of preparing and quietness. The quietness is what grabbed me – those long episodes where the three cousins and the three friends interact with one another, cooking, eating, joking around, arguing – it’s magical (no pun intended).

This book, like the first one, is ripe with friendships, which makes it my must-read. The whole of the series is a weaver-work of friendship. it’s wonderful – and it’s one of those elements I really appreciate in Nora Roberts’ books – especially, female friendship. The female characters are friends. Don’t laugh: this is a novel concept. Usually, in romance novels and in literature in general, women are isolated. They come from broken homes – in one way or another – they serve as the catalyst for a man’s story, and they tend not to like each other very much. Always with the cattiness and the stereotypical bitchiness between “friends”. Why I love Nora Roberts’ books – the girls are friends. They like each other, they love each other even. And that is why the down time in these books is so much more than the action sequences.

So – most definitely, pick this book up – pick this entire series up! You’ll love it.




Also – the last book’s cover has been released:

What do you think?

I, for one, cannot wait!


What have you been reading?


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