Born in Shame, by Nora Roberts

>> Monday, October 27, 2003

I've been meaning to read Born in Shame, by Nora Roberts, ever since I reread the first two novels in the trilogy earlier this year.

This third and final novel in Roberts's Irish trilogy is the story of Shannon Bodine. Shannon's life is rocked by an emotional earthquake when she learns the identity of her real father. Obeying her late mother's last wish, American Shannon travels to County Clare, Ireland, to meet the sisters she never knew she had.

Warmed and comforted by the bond that grows between her and her sisters, her heart is lured by the charm of the Irish countryside and tempted by the attraction of horseman Murphy Muldoon. Murphy takes one look at Shannon and knows that she is the woman he's waited for all his life. But Shannon is a practical woman. Will she open her heart and mind to the timeless, magical bond that connects them? Or will she reject fate's plan and leave Murphy to return to her life in America?
It was wonderful, an A-.

I adored Murphy. I loved the way he took one look at Shannon and he was a gonner. That was it for him. That first scene, where Shannon thinks he's a bit slow because all he can do is stare at her was beautiful!

Shannon could have been a tedious character, because of the way she refused to accept what was happening, but I really did understand her doubts about giving it all up for love, and I though more of her for thinking things through carefully and not letting herself be pressured by Murphy. I felt the solution they arrived at was the best way to go.

Ok, yes, I'm not usually too fond of the "fated lovers" angle. I like to see people fall in love and understand why they do, and to have the protagonists fall for each other only because it was pre-ordained in some prophecy seems to me like cheating. For some reason, it worked here. Probably because I got the feeling that these two would have fallen in love anyway, even if there hadn't been that supernatural thing.

And speaking of the touch of the supernatural, I thought it was just right for the story. Roberts has been known to go a bit overboard with it, but not here.

Almost as good as the love story was the development of the relationship between the three sisters. Discussing Born in Shame with a friend, she mentioned that she loved how the characters from the other books weren't just there for show, they were part of the story. Both Brie and Maggie are the same people they were in their own books, and so are their husbands. They behave in a way that feels natural, given the people we know they are from their own books. Having them here creates a lovely sense of community.

And BTW, like my friend, I must say I like Brianna much better as a secondary character than I did as the heroine ;-)

Taken as a whole, this trilogy is probably the best I've ever read.

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