A Magical World in an Alternate Universe – Review of “The Awakening” by Nora Roberts

When Breen Kelly was a little girl her father entertained her with stories of magical places in Ireland and the beauty of his homeland. He had to leave every now and again but he always returned. Until he didn’t. The loss saddened Breen and she always wondered why he left. Her mother was no help, ever belittling her and telling her she was barely average and should be happy to have the teaching job that Breen had no love for. But one day as she was being a dutiful daughter looking after her mother’s home, she found a bank account in her name worth almost four million dollars. Not exactly chump change and it gave Breen the independence and freedom to follow her dreams. She and Marco, her best friend and roomie, were soon on a transatlantic flight to Ireland. Her main goal was to find her father and know why he left her.

The rented cottage in a quiet village outside Galway was everything Breen had envisioned and more than she’d bargained for. After Marco returned to the states, Breen had time for exploring and stumbled on a portal that took her to a magical land of fairies, elves, witches, dragons, and mermaids. It was in Talamh where she met the warrior and clan leader named Keegan. He was brash and bold and not especially tactful but he was a wise and fair leader. Under his tutelage Breen learned to ride and even handle a sword. Because this benign land lived in the shadow of constant danger from a dark and evil source. Worse yet, the danger was often cloaked in non-threatening disguises that could take many forms. Breen has the power to put an end to the evil force but can she forsake her life on the other side to help save this one? She must choose between the safety of this world and the danger that could kill her in the world on the other side. Which will it be?

In general, I’m not a fan of the fantasy genre but I am a big Nora Roberts fan especially when the story is set in the land of the shamrocks. “The Awakening” is Book one of The Dragon Heart Legacy and it kept me spellbound. (No pun intended.) Roberts as always delivers easily believable characters and her setting descriptions come alive. I could almost smell the wet earth and the peat fires. And from one who is not a fan of fantasy I can honestly say I could not put this down until I finished it. And yes, the ending is a cliffhanger and it makes me impatient at having to wait until nearly the end of September for Book two, “Becoming”. Which by the way, has me scratching my head as this book was advertised as the first book of a trilogy but both Amazon and Goodreads only show books one and two. So what’s up with that? Five stars.

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