Book review: The Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy by Nora Roberts

A battle between good and evil is always a great subject matter for a book, and in the hands of Nora Roberts, you know it’s going to be a greater story than in the hands of many other writers.

The Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy follows siblings Branna and Connor, and their cousin Iona, as they engage in a battle against the malevolent being Cabhan, a witch who has for hundreds of years clashed with the O’Dwyer family. As the three cousins move ever closer to finding a way to beat Cabhan, they also have to let love into their lives, in the form of loyal friends Fin, Meara, and Boyle.

Dark Witch, Shadow Spell and Black Magick are pure Roberts – a great story combined with realistic characters you love, and an enemy to overcome who you hate, as well as romance. The three couplings – Iona and Boyle, Connor and Meara, and Branna and Fin – are so compelling to read about because the individual characters are well drawn and likeable, as well as being complex and mysterious in just the right ways. I think everyone that reads series by Roberts always has a favourite couple, and for me it was Branna and Fin, because their path to love was the hardest, and not just because they’re both stubborn.

Together, the three books in The Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy form some of the most fantasy-heavy of Roberts’ stories that I’ve read. Witchcraft, demons, magic, time travel (or maybe astral projection), dream walking – it’s all here as the six try to find a way to defeat Cabhan, who is determined to kill them (and worse). And it doesn’t feel ridiculous because Roberts grounds her characters in their real lives so well – Branna’s efforts to create lotions and potions and candles for her own business are as much a part of her life as the quest to defeat Cabhan, while the others all have day jobs that they take seriously and, more importantly, love.

And for me, the most grounding thing about the books was the friendship and togetherness. There are plenty of scenes where the group come together around a good meal (warning – you’ll probably feel hungry while reading this trilogy), discussing how to defeat Cabhan, but also engaging in the everyday business of being friends – talking about heartbreak, ribbing each other, trying on clothes and talking business.

Being well versed in books by Roberts, I could predict how each book, and the overall tale, would end, but it’s the little details that make Roberts such a deft hand at writing a story of good versus evil, and that compels me to carry on reading her work. The Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy is fun, suspenseful, and entertaining reading from a master of good stories.

How I got these books: Borrowed from the library.

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