Dance Upon the Air
If you liked the movies Sleeping With The Enemy and Practical Magic, you are gonna love this book. All that was missing for me was my Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique CD playing in the background.
Nell Channing is on the run from an abusive husband. She fakes her death and runs off, finally landing on Three Sisters Island where she happens into a job at the bookstore cafe as chef. She decides to stay for a while after Mia, the bookstore’s owner, shows Nell extreme kindness, not only giving her a job but providing her with a place to live. Zack Todd, the local sheriff, takes a liking to Nell and decides to get better acquainted with this woman who seemingly is hiding something. As Nell falls in love and makes a home for herself, the threat of her husband keeps her from truly establishing permanency. She eventually has to deal with it and does, but not before she ties herself and Zack into knots.
Three Sisters Island also features a local legend, one that Nell fits into. In the days of the Salem witch trials, three true witches, fearing for their lives, created the island–it detached from the land and floated through the air to a new location. The loneliness of the island weakened the sisters, and each had a tragic story and end. To redeem their ancestors and break the cycle, descendants of the three sisters had to be on the island and break the pattern, or the island would fall into the sea. The witches were Air, Earth and Fire. Air’s story involved her death at the hand of her husband; Nell is Air’s descendant.
When I first started reading this book, it seemed as if Nora Roberts must have been watching Sleeping With The Enemy right before she wrote it. The set up and Nell’s back story reminded me of the movie so much. The husband was eerily similar to the movie guy: controlling, dragging her around by the hair, crazed with jealousy. The house was similar to the house in the movie: lots of white and modern future. In the beginning of the book, just like the beginning of the movie, Nell hides her belongings in a bag and sets up her death.
There were enough similarities to Sleeping With The Enemy to give me a twinge at times, however the addition of the magic subplot gives the book an original twist. Although Nell doesn’t believe in the magic at first, much less that she’s got power, she eventually opens up completely to her magic potential. The longer she stays in town and the more in love she falls with Zack, she blossoms. She starts to feel comfortable and happy, and when the issue of her past finally rears its head, she deals with it in a mature way.
Zach is a good-guy hero. He likes Nell right away, and he goes for her. He’s not Mr. Macho, but he’s certainly tough and nobody’s doormat. He’s aware that Nell’s got issues and suspects what they might be, but he doesn’t push her. He accepts her for who and what she is, and that allows her to open up and trust him.
There’s definitely chemistry between Nell and Zack, but her skittishness slows down their relationship. It seemed like there were several fits and starts to the end of the story and resolution of their relationship. Zack would find out one thing about her past, think it was the end of it, and another secret would come out. I breathed a sigh of relief when they were all out and Nell stood up to her past.
Mia Devlin and Ripley Todd, Zack’s sister and deputy, are the other women who must be the other two sides of this trilogy of stories. Mia is the one who totally believes in magic and the legend of Three Sisters. Ripley is a cynic who once believed in magic and was best friends with Mia but gave it up for an as-yet explained reason. She’s my favorite so far, and I’m looking forward to her story. There’s animosity between Mia and Ripley, but they band together when Nell needs them.
Roberts populates her town with endearing characters and features. In fact, it sounds like a place I would like to live if there were a place like it. The people are friendly, they care about each other, the town is picturesque, and there are beaches. And don’t forget the bookstore and cafe as well as local good witches. Sounds like my kind of place.
Nora Roberts again delivers the reason I read her books. Characters I like, romance and a story that absorbed me. While it’s not a Desert Isle Keeper for me, I certainly enjoyed it more than the Chesapeake Bay or Gallagher siblings trilogies