The Dragon Heart Legacy, Book 1
From the publisher:
#1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts begins a new trilogy of adventure, romance, and magick in The Awakening.
In the realm of Talamh, a teenage warrior named Keegan emerges from a lake holding a sword―representing both power and the terrifying responsibility to protect the Fey. In another realm known as Philadelphia, a young woman has just discovered she possesses a treasure of her own…
When Breen Kelly was a girl, her father would tell her stories of magical places. Now she’s an anxious twentysomething mired in student debt and working a job she hates. But one day she stumbles upon a shocking discovery: her mother has been hiding an investment account in her name. It has been funded by her long-lost father―and it’s worth nearly four million dollars.
This newfound fortune would be life-changing for anyone. But little does Breen know that when she uses some of the money to journey to Ireland, it will unlock mysteries she couldn’t have imagined. Here, she will begin to understand why she kept seeing that silver-haired, elusive man, why she imagined his voice in her head saying Come home, Breen Siobhan. It’s time you came home. Why she dreamed of dragons. And where her true destiny lies―through a portal in Galway that takes her to a land of faeries and mermaids, to a man named Keegan, and to the courage in her own heart that will guide her through a powerful, dangerous destiny…
My reading history with romance is long but broken. I started reading paperback romances when I was in college. Kathleen Woodiwiss was my favorite. But I found that I was getting annoyed with my boyfriend at the time (now my husband.) There were no big romantic gestures that I could see (I was so wrong.) It felt like these books were interfering in my relationship, so I just stopped reading them.
Fast forward many years and I was a wife and a mother of two going back to work for the first time in about a dozen years. I started working at Borders Books & Music, and I loved it. My favorite time at work was when we hosted authors on tour, from local authors to big, bestselling authors. Like Nora Roberts.
I wasn’t much of a fan. I’d never read her, even though I recommended her books all the time. All her books were in the Romance section, which I avoided. But still, I knew how popular she was and sure enough, it was a standing room only crowd with a signing line around the building. She was truly lovely and kind to all the staff and patient with all her fans. She spoke about her new book (I don’t remember which one) and a bit about her writing process. That caught my attention. She spoke about doing all of her own research and editing and I sort of uncomfortably thought, are you printing the books in your basement, too? I guess I just didn’t believe that this woman who was pumping out book after book, series after series, was actually doing all that work herself in addition to the actual writing. I was an idiot.
Jump ahead a number of years and I was at Thrillerfest in NYC. Every year they host a debut authors breakfast, which is something I always look forward to. There are usually at least twenty authors, often more, and Steve Berry hosts it. He introduces the author, and they each get about three minutes or so to talk about their babies, AKA their debut novels. It’s always a fascinating mix of people from all walks of life, teachers, lawyers, veterinarians, historians, homemakers, you name it.
It was at one of these breakfasts that I sat next to an author I wasn’t familiar with, and I’m sorry to say I cannot remember her name. But I do remember this; she wrote mysteries under her own name, but she made her real living by writing paperback romances under the name Fern Michaels. Now there is a Fern Michaels, and she writes all of her own hardcover books and I imagine for many years she wrote all of her books, period. But at this point, she was uber-successful and basically had ghost authors writing her mass-market paperbacks. My brain is a bit fuzzy about all the details but I think it may have been before James Patterson started putting his co-writers’ names on his books. He had them; for instance, the Women’s Murder Club series that had only Patterson’s name on the first six or eight books but were actually written by another author, now a bestselling thriller writer under his own name. After that, there were two names on those books.
To reel this back in, I am telling you all this because that Fern Michaels ghostwriter knew Nora Roberts. She told me that the woman was a force of nature and a legend in the romance community because she did everything herself. She researched, wrote, and edited all her own books. I’m sure her publisher did their own editing but apparently, she was known for turning in completed books that didn’t need several rewrites.
I have read two other Roberts’ books since then, The Obsession, which was more romantic suspense/thriller and I loved it, and Come Sundown, more women’s fiction/romance and I thought it was just okay. Frankly, I would rather read new authors who need my little tiny bit of publicity than the bestselling authors who manage just fine without me. There are, obviously, exceptions, authors I love and will always read, like Michael Connelly, Lisa Scottoline, Lee Child, Lisa Unger, Diana Gabaldon, and those names have slipped my sieve of a brain at the moment.
So to this book. The Awakening is a fantasy crossed with the real world. I think the reason I requested it was that her publicist was comparing it to Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, which is one of my favorite series of all time. That made me take a look and while in many ways it is not like Outlander, I understood the comparison. Most fantasies are set in their own world. This one is set in two worlds, our known world, and the world that Nora Roberts created here.
Reading this book, I could immediately see why her books are all bestsellers. She is one hell of a storyteller. I was dragged into this story and it stayed with me for months. Yes, I read it several months ago but I wasn’t (and still am not) as good with keeping up with my reviews. Acedia. Ennui. Pick your poison, I have suffered from both during this pandemic.
So better late than never. I loved this book, this world that Roberts created. I especially loved that our main character, Breen, has a foot in both worlds. The characters are all interesting and since it is partly based in Ireland, I had to look up how to pronounce several of the names. Which I’ll forget by the time the next book is out. But still worth it.
I didn’t love the abrupt, cliffhanger ending. I understand that this is the first book of a planned trilogy (when writers create their own worlds, they tend to want to stay in them for a while.) A little more finesse would have made it better for me. That said, I will be first in line to read the next book in this series. And maybe even pick up another Nora Roberts romance sometime.
12/2020 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™
THE AWAKENING by Nora Roberts. St. Martin’s Press (November 24, 2020). ISBN 978-1250272614. 448 pages.
This entry was posted on Thursday, December 31st, 2020 at 8:42 AM and is filed under Book Reviews, Fiction, Romance, Sci-Fi/Fantasy. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.