Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Irish Trilogy (Gallagher Family); Nora Roberts

All images found on Fantastic Fiction

Jewels of the Sun

Written by Nora Roberts and published by Jove in 1999, Jewels of the Sun is the first of Ms. Roberts’ trilogy about the Irish Gallagher family. This is only my second foray (after more than an eight year hiatus) into Ms. Roberts’ body of work. What I came away with is an appreciation for Ms. Roberts’ insight into how individual members are meshed into a unit bringing strengths and weaknesses and needs and love. Each novel in the trilogy stands alone and can be read singly, although the strength of the family bond won’t be so apparent.

Jude Murray is one of those women who has drifted through much of her life on the currents of what others wanted for her, what she thought others expected of her. Finally Fate intervenes and Jude travels to Ireland for some breathing room. There, in a stereotypical quaint Irish village, Jude meets the Gallaghers. The three Gallagher siblings run the local pub and are trying to build its reputation as a destination for authentic traditional Irish music. And so the dance begins. Aidan Gallagher and Jude Murray with music provided by a local myth revolving around a fairy prince named Carrick and a local girl named Gwen.

Deftly done, yet while I appreciated the familial relationships and Jude’s character, I didn’t really get hooked into the relationship building. Aidan is indeed yummy, and Jude needs to come out from behind the clouds, but together they just didn’t click.

Tears of the Moon

Second in the Gallagher family trio, this one revolves around childhood pals Shawn Gallagher and Mary Brenna O’Toole. It’s one of my favorite plotlines, TBH, the opening of one’s eyes to the truth that your childhood pal is actually the love of your life. My attention was grabbed from the start because Shawn’s the one who has to do the wooing and strategizing. Complications get thrown in by Mary Brenna’s younger sister’s hormonally driven meddling, and by Carrick and Gwen’s interference. I must say that by the end I wished that I too could meet an Irishman who sings beautifully and is more than happy to cook and sing at the drop of a hat.

Unlike the first book, the relationship in Tears of the Moon caught and held my attention from the first. In the previous book, each person had become real to me, so that in this book I enjoyed looking at them from a new perspective. I must say I found Mary Brenna’s idea that you could make a childhood pal into a “friend with benefits” without repercussions laughter inducing, and yet, coming from her it was somehow believable that she would think she could do this.

For me that’s the magic of this book: each person is unique and authentic and realistically captured and the eventual evolution of their relationship feels natural and satisfying.

Heart of the Sea

Featuring the final Gallagher sibling, Darcy, and an American developer named Trevor Magee, this book turned out to be the most problematical for me. The Gallaghers have decided to ask the American to become business partners and open a performance space conjoined with the pub. Trevor and Darcy spark right from the start. He has money and connections, which Darcy always claimed she wanted in a man. To her credit, once she has a man who actually has these things Darcy reevaluates her position.

My problems are mostly with Trevor, secondarily with Darcy. At first Trevor and Darcy are simply satisfying their mutual lust. Then he discovers she can sing and his attitude changes slightly to lust with a helping of potential business relationship. My biggest hangup with Trevor is that Ms. Roberts never quite convinced me he loved Darcy just for herself. I never felt like I watched him fall in love with her for herself. I felt that it took too long to figure himself out and then it was too neatly done. IMO, Darcy caves in the end. I was mad. I wanted her to make him cringe and crawl a little bit more. I needed Darcy to make Trevor grovel. Oddly, I also felt that Trevor was pressured too much by Carrick who was very desirous of finally achieving his goal after a disastrous temper tantrum centuries ago.

So- overall, the Gallaghers were a success. Like all multi book sets, and indeed most anthologies, each book had individual strengths and weaknesses. The second one worked best for me, but Ms. Roberts is certainly deserving of the legions of fans who consistently place her at the top of the bestseller lists. All of the books were well done, including the one that turned out to be *meh* 'take it or leave it' and the one that I had some problems with. These are the first three books by Nora Roberts I've read in over eight or ten years. I think my library list will be growing.


annie kelleher said...

nice to see you and thanks for stopping by! the Angel Way is very simple and the first guideline is to "eat a rainbow every day." those are foods colored red, orange, yellow, green and blue/purple/black... fruits and veggies not skittles and m&Ms! if you want more info on it... please email me :). and i really liked your bumpersticks post!!! :)

Bookwormom said...

AnnieK- I love bumperstickers, they almost always make me smile. I'll definitely be in touch about the angel way eating.