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The Turn of the Screw: A Case Study in Contemporary Criticism (Case Studies in Contemporary Criticism)
Peter G. Beidler, Henry James
Sapphira and the Slave Girl
Willa Cather
Larry McMurtry
Lord of the Changing Winds
Rachel Neumeier
Hyperion (Hyperion Series #1)
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
Anne Brontë, Mary Augusta Ward

Jewels of the Sun (Irish Jewels Trilogy Series #1)

Jewels of the Sun - Nora Roberts I don’t believe in “guilty pleasure” reading because: hello, I don’t feel guilty about anything I read. But I bet anyone that uses the term frequently would definitely say The Irish Trilogy by Nora Roberts classifies…Seriously you guys, I have reread these books so. many. times. Mostly when I was in high school, but still. They are constant fall-back comfort reads to this day.Jewels of the Sun brings Jude Murray to Ireland. She is recently divorced and in need of a break from her life. She certainly finds that in the little Irish village of Ardmore. She quickly begins to settle into her cottage (borrowed from a family member) and make friends. Many of those friends stem from the Gallagher family’s pub around which our trilogy is centered (especially the oldest brother in this case…).Besides Jude’s growing relationship with Aidan, the biggest part of the book focuses on how Jude learns to fit in her own skin and appreciate herself. I don’t think she ever had the right people around her in her ‘old life’ for that to happen. The book definitely makes it seem like Ireland is her perfect fit! I loved watching her character figure out what it feels like to have real friends and a real relationship, both of which she can depend on.Tears of the Moon is my favorite of the three, and the one I’ve – by far – read the most often. Brenna O’Toole, tomboy extraordinaire, has loved the other Gallagher brother basically forever…but he never noticed. But really, why does the man always have to make the first move? (Answer: he doesn’t.)Brenna shocks Shawn to no end with an intriguing proposal (not of the marriage kind), but the longer he thinks about it the better it starts to sound.Brenna is seriously one of my favorite characters ever – funny, smart, loyal and above all: really really brave about fighting for what she wants. I don’t know how anyone could read this book and not absolutely fall in love with her.Heart of the Sea is, in my opinion, the weakest link. Probably because the heroine, Darcy, appeals to me the least. She is the only sister of the Gallagher trio and she is pretty darn self-confident. She is also seemingly very shallow. She does have a lot of depth to her, but I think the shallow card is played a little too well.Trevor comes from America as the owner of a large company building a theatre addition to the Gallagher’s pub – Darcy is always up for gallivanting around with a rich man so things heat up for them pretty quickly. (See? Shallow!) When they both start feeling attached, things start getting a little rocky…Okay, so now we’ll get to the crazy-cheesy part of the whole thing that I’m not so fond of. The books all feature an old legend surrounding the town of Ardmore about two doomed lovers from the past (the guy was the prince of the faeries who didn’t know how to properly show the woman he loved her). Her ghost haunts Jude’s cottage and he constantly shows up in the graveyard where she is buried and where our trilogy’s heroes constantly turn up. It turns out that once all three of our happy couples fall in love the curse will be broken.Now, I’m obviously by no means a paranormal/fantasy hater but in my opinion, these books don’t need this element. There is something timeless and mystical about both the characters and the setting without bringing actual magic into the mix.Jewels of the Sun, Tears of the Moon and Heart of the Sea are fantastic contemporary romance reads in their own right, and to be honest I usually skip the scenes that the prince of faeries shows up in when I reread them. Does anyone else that has read these books agree with me?Anyway, that being said – I obviously still think The Irish Trilogy is worth reading, weird paranormal elements and all. These characters will grow on you quickly and you’ll want to see them all through to their happy endings!If you’re a fan of contemporary romance, you’re probably already familiar with Nora Roberts. But if you haven’t read The Irish Trilogy, I definitely think you’re missing out!