Review by Alyssa
September 2013 by Berkley Trade (org. 1994)
Amazon + Good Reads
"Born in Fire is the first novel in the Irish Born Trilogy, about three modern sisters bound by the timeless beauty of Ireland from #1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts.
The eldest Concannon sister, Maggie, is a reclusive, stubborn and free-spirited glassmaker—with a heart worth winning
Margaret Mary, the eldest Concannon sister, is a glass artist with an independent streak as fierce as her volatile temper. Hand-blowing glass is a difficult and exacting art, and while she may produce the delicate and the fragile, Maggie is a strong and opinionated woman, a Clare woman, with all the turbulence of that fascinating west country.
One man, Dublin gallery owner Rogan Sweeney, has seen the soul in Maggie’s art, and vows to help her build a career. When he comes to Maggie’s studio, her heart is inflamed by their fierce attraction—and her scarred past is slowly healed by love."
Born in Fire was my first Nora Roberts read and, despite several recommendations from friends and family, I let it sit on my shelf and gather dust simply because of who the author was. Now, I mean no disrespect to Nora Roberts but I had the (wrong) preconceived notion that her books were primarily romantic fluff - the feminine version of Nicholas Sparks... (can we all agree that Sparks' novels have a decidedly masculine tone?). My only regret in reading Born in Fire is that I didn't pick it up sooner and that I've held such a grudge against Roberts. I thoroughly enjoyed the first of the Born In series and I would happily recommend it to any reader who is a fan of romance novels that fall in the Harlequin-type vein.
Born in Fire is the first novel in the Born In series and follows Maggie Concannon, a young up and coming glass artist, as she is thrust in to the public eye of the art world. Maggie would be more than happy to spend her days in her tiny Irish village, selling her pieces to her neighbors for a fraction of what she could be making in a gallery... but Rogan Sweeney won't hear of it. Sweeney is a hard-ass business man in the art world and knows talent when he sees it - he won't take Maggie's no for an answer and demands that he become her manager. Sweeney makes Maggie the center of the art world and joins her as she embarks on a whirl wind adventure from a little known artist to a super star - but the two are as unlike as could be expected. Their constant battles quickly evolve into some serious sexual tension and, well, you know...
I was happily surprised to find that Roberts introduced well developed characters with well developed pasts. I'm a fairly avid romance reader and I'm no stranger to the stock type characters that typically make up the cast of said novels. But Roberts presented our heroine, Maggie Concannon, with a bang - from her first scene, Maggie stands out as a fiery and dour young woman who has depth... and I loved that. Though Maggie is presented with scenarios and other characters who challenge her and demand that she change and grow, I never felt as though she was abandoning herself.
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Rogan Sweeney at all. He was the perfect foil to Maggie. Where she was unrefined spit fire, Rogan was was the perfect picture of calm, cool, and cultured. Which isn't to say that Rogan was perfect by any means. He, as much as Maggie, had a long way to grow before the two could happily be together.
All in all, I very much enjoyed Born in Fire. If you're hesitant to pick up a Nora Roberts novel because of a knee jerk reaction - please reconsider! I think that any fan of romance novels (from sweet to steamy) would enjoy this book.
What is your favorite Nora Roberts novel? Let me know in the comments!