Those of you who are Nora Roberts admirers, aficionados, addicts and/or fanatics are going to get a special treat this month. The Queen of the Continuing Series is having her Donovan books re-released in one trade edition, and she introduces us to another of the magical Donovans. In Enchanted, a follow up to the trilogy of Donovan stories, we're indeed lucky to meet two stellar characters, Liam of Donovan and Rowan of
Rowan Murray had decided that at twenty-seven, it's time to start discovering who she is and what her life is all about. All her life she's been an obedient daughter. She's finally fed up with her teaching career, her lover, her whole dreary life. Shocking everyone, even herself, she accepts a friend's offer to stay in her cottage on the Oregon coast. Almost
from the beginning Rowan feels at home, feels a peace which has been missing from her life. The only problem that she's brought with her is the guilt of knowing that she has disappointed her parents.
As she's unloading her car, she's more surprised than afraid to see a wolf watching her, a black wolf with gold eyes. When she blinks, he's gone. Or so she thinks. Watching her from the shadows is Liam Donovan, a witch of many talents. Shape shifting seems to be one of his finer talents, and he often prefers coming and going as a wolf.
When Rowan meets Liam the man, she's nervous and uncomfortable around him. She senses his magnetism, his power and is unsure of herself. Much to her surprise, she does befriend the wolf and because of her solitude, begins daily discussions with him. He visits her during storms, jumps on her bed and falls asleep with his head in her lap, accepts her offer to visit with her while she bathes (who could turn down that opportunity?) and even protects her when he mistakenly thinks that she's being attacked.
Initially, Rowan suffers from a poor self-concept, while Liam is fighting demons of his own. As his father's heir, Liam must decide if he's ready for the responsibility entailed in succeeding his father. Is Rowan the right woman for him? Is she really his choice, or are there higher powers at work? Will she accept him and his magic once she knows?
While there are many high points of this story, one that I'll remember with pleasure is the scene in which Liam finally tells Rowan who and what he is. Rowan puts a typical 20th century spin on it and deduces that Liam is a werewolf. Robertsí choice of words to describe Liam's consternation and then irritation is wonderful:
"His eyes rounded in shock, he stared at her in
baffled fury and then he muttered as he prowled the room," a textbook
example of the exasperated man.
I found this story the best of the four Donovan books, simply because both characters are so strong. True, Rowan takes a while to find her strength, but always with Liam, she holds her own. It's easy to cheer for her and to lust after him. Rowan is resourceful, caring and we feel her joy in her new life. Liam is vibrant, untamed but with a vulnerability that makes him a sympathetic character.
This is one time that I think one of Nora Roberts' continuation stories is strong
enough to hold its own. Yes, I'd read the others when they were first published, but Roberts has done an excellent job in Enchanted of giving us Liam's family background. As she's done in all of her series stories, we're treated to an update of the three Donovan cousins, albeit too briefly.
Enchanted is a multilayered, fully faceted story. What Roberts does
with a category romance is nothing short of magical. How fitting that her
latest should be about a magical family. Enchanted is one of the reasons
why Nora Roberts has few equals.