Sometimes, you just need to read a book that you know will end well. No one will die, the girl will get the boy, and they’ll all live happily ever after. The thing I enjoy about Nora Roberts’ “Jewels of the Sun” is that all of those things will happen, but there’s also fairies. And a mystery. And the Irish countryside, which is practically its own character, full of beauty and history.
Jude Murray, a recently-divorced, tightly-wound, history professor, travels to Ireland in an attempt to make some sense of her life. There are many things Jude wants to do– write a book, relax, laugh–but she has a hard time letting go and allowing any of those things to happen. Enter Aidan Gallagher- pub owner and all-around Handsome Irish Lad. Because this is a romance novel, Aidan is the answer to nearly all of Jude’s problems. He’s strong, handsome, interesting, and most of all, encouraging and full of faith in Jude’s dreams. They fall into bed, and then, as people do in romance novels, in love. Of course, one of the other things I enjoy about Roberts’ novels is that they are also (relatively) true to life. They argue and bicker, they have miscommunications and misunderstandings that, when resolved, help bring them closer together. However, Roberts also allows Jude to develop on her own, which is refreshing. Aidan doesn’t solve her problems as much as give her the framework and support to resolve them on her own.
Roberts also provides an excellent cast of supporting characters. Aidan’s brother, Shawn, and sister, Darcy, are fabulously entertaining, as well as the people who pack into Gallagher’s pub every evening. Even minor characters have depth and believability, which is something not even writers of more serious novels manage. In particular, the friendship that develops between Jude, Darcy, and Brenna is enviable, and made me wish for more girlfriends.
I promised there would be fairies, and the story of Prince Carrick and his human love, Gwen, is the theme that ties all three novels of the “Gallagher Trilogy” together. Centuries ago, a fairy prince fell in love with a human woman. He offered her jewels rather than speak of the love in his heart, and so she refused him, three times. Being refused, the prince laid a curse on them both; that they wouldn’t reset until love met love and accepted, three times. Jude and Aidan are the first step in breaking Carrick’s curse (no mention of why, in the centuries following Carrick’s actions, no other couple has met whatever criteria there may be).
Like a palate cleanser between courses, “Jewels of the Sun” will leave you happy & refreshed, but ready for something a little heavier.