Branna’s strength and selflessness hold together a close circle of friends and family—along with their horses and hawks and her beloved hound. But there’s a single missing link in the chain of her life: love…
She had it once—for a moment—with Finbar Burke, but a shared future is forbidden by history and blood. Which is why Fin has spent his life traveling the world to fill the abyss left in him by Branna, focusing on work rather than passion.
Branna and Fin’s relationship offers them both comfort and torment. And though they succumb to the heat between them, there can be no promises for tomorrow. A storm of shadows threatens everything that their circle holds dear. It will be Fin’s power, loyalty, and heart that will make all the difference in an age-old battle between the bonds that hold their friends together and the evil that has haunted their families for centuries.
Comment: This is the third installment in The Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy by author Nora Roberts. I've said it before, this is the author who got me hooked on romance and that propelled my continuous (and still going) dedication to reading, including many other genres. It's really sad for me when I need to say a book by this author wasn't as good as the expectations I had before starting and this was such a case.
This is the final installment in this trilogy and we finally have Branna and Fin's story. The enemy Cabhan needs to be defeated and our team is very close to achieve that. Branna and Fin have a common history and they know it's not easy to simply give in to their desires, they must have the overall perspective, which seems complicated because of the different magic and the influence the mark of Cabhan Fin carries. Could they overcome the difficulties, the years apart and be a team within the circle who will finally win the battle?
The opinion I had about the previous installment int his trilogy proved to come to this one as well. I think this is probably the weakest trilogy by Nora I've read so far. In all her trilogies, even enjoying some books more than others, I always have the impression only one of three books feels slightly weaker but in this one, two were weaker and even the stronger one, when comparing, can't be one of her best for certain. This makes me a bit sad because I obviously love the author's work and I always want her books to be great.
The plot is very simple in this trilogy. There's an enemy to fight and although for me it's great he's not overly active nor does he interact much with other characters, it also means the central plot revolves around the six protagonists of the trilogy. Thinking about it, there isn't much interaction with secondary characters and if in one hand this can be positive because it helps the reader to focus on what matters, it's also disappointing because we lose personality details which could be gained by seeing the six with other people for longer periods in the story. I sort of miss this aspect of the author's work, something we can see in several other books, especially older ones.
The story also lacks...I don't know exactly how to express myself, but... well, magic. Yes, the characters perform magical tricks and use their hereditary magic but when it comes to dazzle the reader, the story (and the narrative) feels poor and lacks the magic of being addictive and special and complex. I guess I'd say the plot is very basic and not well developed.
The romance is also such a disappointment. Where are the amazing powers of development Nora has practically based her work on? Fin and Branna love each other but they've been apart and now they need to work together and that leads to other things but where is the angst explored to it's maximum capacity? Where was the natural sexual tension? Where is the natural progression from not being able to look at one another for long to simply have a sexual relationship and talking about ending it already? I wanted them to slowly fall in love again, to be more reluctant in being together but being obviously in love...I don't think we got that and I think the biggest reason why not it because everyone is so exasperatingly analytical.
Characters talk and talk and say what they will do and then... repeat again. Again, I must say the trilogy lacks spontaneity. Everyone is so practical and perfect and even the scenes where they are vulnerable are discussed and presented as perfect glimpses which are quickly solved. There's no "passion" in the writing of this story, that's what I felt.
I'm sad. I thought about giving this an even lower mark but this is Nora and so want her books to be amazing always. But this trilogy isn't definitely something I'll want to re-read, not even favorite scenes/passages...I confess I have none. Oh well.