2000, Contemporary Romance
Jove, $7.99, 384 pages, Amazon ASIN 0515128546 Part of a series
Tears of the Moon is a delightful addition to Nora Roberts' Gallagher Siblings trilogy. It has the hallmarks one expects from a Nora Roberts book - well-developed characters, great dialogue, and a quaint Irish setting to boot. Readers who have been anxiously awaiting this installment won't be disappointed.
The first book in this trilogy, Jewels of the Sun, introduced Carrick, a faerie prince who had been separated for three hundred years from his true love. Before he can be reunited with her, three couples must find love and happiness. Since Jude and Aidan of Jewels of the Sun are happily married and expecting their first child, Carrick turns to Aidan's brother Shawn and his long-time friend Brenna O'Toole.
Shawn and Brenna are not particularly willing participants. Both are pretty satisfied with their lives and not exactly ready to fall in love. Brenna is her father's partner in a handyman type of business. She can fix or build anything, and she figures most men see her as more of the "buddy" type. Brenna has been attracted to Shawn for years, but she's pretty sure that lust is all she feels for her old family friend. For his part, Shawn has never considered Brenna as anything but a very close friend. He mans the kitchen at the family's pub, and writes music in his spare time.
When Brenna tells Shawn she wants to sleep with him, he is completely taken aback. Sure, he's admired Brenna's cute figure a time or two, but he's never thought of her that way. But once she mentions it, that's about all he can think about. The two begin a sexual relationship with an agreement that when it's over they will part friends. Shawn realizes fairly quickly that he is in love with Brenna, but he knows Brenna can be stubborn and proud, so he wants to make her think that marriage is her idea.
Meanwhile, an American businessman approaches the Gallaghers with the idea of building a theater for music near their pub. All of them like the idea, but they tread carefully when the businessman sends his representative. They figure they might get a better deal if Shawn's beautiful sister Darcy lays on the charm, and if Shawn pretends to be a little dense. In some of the funniest scenes of the book, Shawn pretends to be a little confused in order to help their business dealings. The theater sub-plot is used to further Shawn's relationship with Brenna (who has ideas for the theater's design) and also to set up Darcy's story.
I have been anticipating Shawn and Brenna's story ever since I finished Jewels of the Sun, and I am happy to say that it lived up to my expectations. Indeed, I liked Tears of the Moon better than the first installment, which seemed a little too reminiscent of other books by Roberts. The flavor of Ireland really shines through here, both in the charming dialogue and the landscape. Prince Carrick of the faeries adds just the right magical touch, and I am eager to see him finally meet his destiny in the final installment.
Brenna and Shawn are well-rounded characters with both faults and virtues. You don't see many mechanical-minded heroines, so it's fun to watch Brenna nag Shawn about things like fixing his car. And while she's confident with a wrench or hammer in her hand, she's still insecure about her allure as a woman. The scene in which she propositions Shawn for the first time is both poignant and funny. You can tell she's in love with Shawn already - even though she doesn't realize that yet - but she has no idea how to proceed.
Shawn has a lazy appeal somewhat similar to that of Tucker Longstreet, the hero of Carnal Innocence. He is a master in the kitchen (don't read this book on an empty stomach) and very dedicated to his music, but he is also a dreamer. He does a lot of planning, but he really needs a push to act on his plans. The outspoken, no-nonsense Brenna is the perfect counterpoint for him.
What I really noticed about this book is the dialogue, and not only because it has an Irish accent. I found myself laughing out loud several times. Nobody writes siblings quite like Nora Roberts, and I enjoyed watching them interact. Shawn and his brother and sister and Brenna with her four sisters all sound like real siblings when they talk to each other, and they share moments that are both funny and touching.
It's always nice when an eagerly awaited book proves to be worth the wait. Although I have enjoyed some of Nora Roberts' romantic suspense releases and a few of her series novels, her trilogies are the books I love most. Tears of the Moon is a delightful read with engaging characters, and I'm glad we still have one more book to look forward to.
-- Blythe Barnhill
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