Roberts, Nora. Face the Fire. New York: Jove Books, 2002. ISBN-13: 978-0515132878. $7.99 USD.
While at first, I was most interested in Mia, and felt like there was a lot of potential for a second chance love story, I found this to be the weakest in the series in terms of the execution of the romance. While I could understand her motives for not wanting to lose her heart to Sam again, due to their past, this plotline quickly grew tiresome, especially when she assumed it would be ok to sleep with him.
My initial impression of Sam was that of an arrogant rich boy, and almost nothing he did throughout the book altered my opinion. While I can’t deny that he does show some signs of maturity, I don’t get the sense that he would be a stable life partner, the way Zack and Mac do, especially given their checkered history.
However, I do love the sense of camaraderie that has been a staple throughout the trilogy. Nell and Ripley being defensive of Mia around Sam at the beginning is so sweet, after the amount of support she gave them in the previous books. And it is wonderful to see them really settling into married life and starting families of their own.
Roberts, Nora. Heaven and Earth. New York: Jove, 2001. ISBN-13: 978-0739417058. $17.00 USD (price is for the 2015 reprint, as the price for the edition I read — the original hardcover edition — is unavailable and that edition is out of print).
The second installment in the Three Sisters Island trilogy, while not as great as great as the first, still had some of the same magic — literal and figurative — that made me love that one. And part of that had to do with the complexity of Ripley’s character. While I found myself reluctant to read her book at first, I found myself understanding her and her reasons for rejecting her powers, as well as being moved by how the history of the island informed her decision to become a police officer. While she is as prickly as she was in the first book, I think she is a great heroine.
Mac was a character who I did not expect to like either. His name, Mac Booke, is incredibly hilarious on its own, and it was somehow even funnier when he was interacting with the staff of Cafe Book. But once I got past the admittedly petty name thing, I found myself being drawn to how multifaceted he was, especially in comparison to some of the other Roberts heroes in other series I tried (and dropped). I love that he’s kind of a geek, and there are lots of jokes about that, but you can see that he’s a great match for Ripley, being able to handle her toughness, but also being able to take care of her in her vulnerable moments. And while it seems to be a thing for Roberts to have every hero and heroine in the trilogy be connected to the magical element somehow, his introduction and bond with the others felt organic rather than forced as were some of her later works I tried, with the relationships feeling just as much, if not more, about their actual feelings, than about the workings of fate.
The villain of this one was a bit of disappointment as well, with him starting off as a bit of an opportunist, and not really becoming a real threat until he became possessed. However, I love that this gave the Three the chance to team up and use their powers to vanquish evil again in a way that felt unique, as well as provide more insight into what happened to Evan following the end of the last book.
Roberts, Nora. Dance Upon the Air. 2001. New York: Berkley Books, 2015. ISBN-13: 978-0-425-27814-7. $17.00 USD.
I had heard from a number of people that the Three Sisters Island Trilogy was one of her best, and despite only having finished book one, I agree. Despite the fact that this series does contain some of the Nora hallmarks, like an overlapping series arc and sections from the POV of the heroines of the next two books in addition to Nell and Zack, this one felt more like a cohesive story on its own, especially in terms of the romance.
I was incredibly moved by Nell’s story, as she managed to get away from an abusive husband, especially when we were given insight into the life she left behind from Evan’s perspective. From the outside, it looked like a life of luxury, but it came at the cost of being held in the thrall of someone else who had total control over her, and who did not respect her as a person, only as a possession. I found myself in awe at how Roberts was able to convey not only a narrative of a survivor, but the dark, twisted mind of an abuser.
Nell finds someone who does respect and truly love her in Zack, who is so understanding of her. Despite a misunderstanding over her deception, once they talk it out, he is as supportive as he has been at the beginning, with enough alpha tendencies to stand up for her when she really needs it.
And like some of her other works I’ve read, the platonic friendship is a prominent part of the story, which is more than appropriate, given that the three heroines descendants of witches, as well witches in their own right. I love how Roberts developed their personalities and their bond with one another, whetting my appetite for the next two books in the series.