Wednesday, August 31, 2011

CBR III Review #16 - Born In Fire by Nora Roberts

"The tune was sad, as the best of Ireland was, melancholy and lovely as a lover's tears." 

I've admitted here before that I have a deep love of Nora Roberts' books.  She's my guilty pleasure.  It's frivolous reading, to be sure, but sometimes that's all I'm looking for.  Every now and then, it's nice to take a break from heavy, deep tomes and read something that follows a predictable pattern with the promised happy ending.  And the sex scenes sure don't hurt!
Born in Fire is part of Roberts' Irish Born trilogy, which is technically a misnomer, as the last book is from the sister who is not, in fact, born in Ireland. But I digress. The trilogy tells the stories of the Concannon sisters - Margaret Mary (Maggie), Brianna (Brie) and Shannon.  Born in Fire is Maggie's story.  It starts hard and fast with the loss of Thomas Concannon, the beloved father of the girls.  Maeve, their mother, has always been cold and cruel, something Maggie has always resented.  Maggie is the reason that Maeve and Tom married, as she was conceived in a fit of passion that Maeve will never forgive herself for.  Maggie is an incredibly passionate person, with the tempers that implies.  She is a gifted glass artist, which sets the stage for our romance.  The story starts 5 years after the prologue and Tom's death, with Maggie making her art in her cozy, loner sort of life in County Clare and Brianna (to whom Tom's house was left) is running a lovely B&B and caring dutifully for her ungrateful mother.  Maggie wants nothing more from life than to free Brie from the servitude of their mother.  To that end, she accepts a deal with an arthouse owned by Rogan Sweeney, something she never wanted to do out of a fear that it would compromise her artistic integrity.

Naturally, this being a Nora Roberts' book, Rogan and Maggie do not have a strictly professional relationship.  Maggie, having only ever seen the cold, dutiful marriage of her parents, is terrified of love and relationships with real ties, unable to believe that she will not become her mother.  The book revolves around her relationship with Rogan, her relationship with Maeve (which is fleshed out well and really justifies a lot of her character choices), and her entrance into the high profile, glamorous art world.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, both because of my intense love of Maggie, and the obvious adoration Roberts has for Ireland (a passion I happen to share).  She writes of Ireland like a lover describes their partner, with all the gentleness, passion, and love she can muster.  Despite being American born and raised, every time I've gone to visit Ireland, be it for family or frivolity, it's felt like coming home.  Roberts really catches that feeling and uses it to embody the brilliant Irish characters within. While I'm tired of the convention that Irish women must always have red hair (um, hello, that came from mixing with the Vikings and other invaders - pure Gaels are dark haired, pale skinned and light eyed!), sticking to the stereotype worked for Maggie's character.  

Next up will be the review of the second book in the trilogy, which focuses on Brie.  Haven't gotten through the third yet (started it last night!) so y'all will have to wait a few days on that one!

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