by Nora Roberts

October 1994
ISBN: 0-515-11469-3
Reviewer Graphic Button Jove Books
Mass Market Paperback

Nora Roberts' Born In Fire will keep you entranced from the first page to the very last word. In this fascinating novel, we discover characters that are both believable and surreal. In Ireland, a land of legends and fairy tales, we find the character of Maggie Concannon entering a pub and discovering her father, Tom, there. Although the character of Tom Concannon is only prominent in the first chapter, his influence and ideas are evident throughout the book. The characters are as interesting as they are diverse. Nora Roberts has shown her talent by devising a cast that ranges from the docile homemaker to a world-class entrepreneur and making them fit together snugly like the pieces of a good puzzle.

Maggie is an incredibly talented artist who draws her art from deep within her heart. She is complex and yet just as simple at the same time. We see from the glass sculptures that she creates with her own hands just how varied and deep her emotions are. Many of her pieces are both innocent and alluring all at once. This talent only needs one thing, someone to manage it. Maggie, however, doesn't see that she needs to be managed. She is perfectly content, or so she makes herself believe, to sell her glass to a small store in town and make enough money to just get by and take care of her and her family. Her family, to Maggie's way of thinking, has shown her that marriage and all that it brings is nothing that she wants or needs in her life.

Maggie's mother is the very opposite of Maggie, and possibly this is why Maggie works so hard to be content with what she has, even though at times she somehow reminds herself of her mom. Her mother is constantly nagging and unhappy. We find the reasons behind this as we are introduced to even more characters who knew her mother from childhood. What Maggie discovers about her mother helps her to understand but not accept what her mother has become. Maggie's unselfishness is what eventually brings some form of truce to the relationship.

Maggie's sister, Brianna, has always been happy to stay home and care for her mother. She feels that it is her duty to do so. She jumps at every whim or demand her mother makes. She loves cooking and making a home and dreams of having a B&B. Maggie can see how Brianna would enjoy a family and children of her own; at the same time, Brianna feels that it is her job to stay home and take care of her mother. Even though we see Maggie and Brianna argue more than a time or two, their love for each other is obvious throughout the book. Maggie wants nothing more than to have her sister free of their mother, whom she feels doesn't love them. She wishes for Brianna to be free to make a family of her own and pursue her dreams.

Rogan is the owner of a worldwide art gallery. By accident, or fate, he finds and buys a piece of Maggie's glass. From this one piece, he sees the incredible talent of an undiscovered artist. For weeks he tries to contact her without luck because she refuses to answer her phone. He finally gives up on getting her by phone and goes to the remote village where she lives in person. At first sight, these two couldn't be a more mismatched pair, but as the plot unfolds it becomes evident that whatever fates there are had their union in the plans.

Rogan's grandmother is another interesting character thrown into the midst of this story. She had known Maggie's family from childhood, but had moved away and lost touch. Through the business dealings of Maggie and Rogan, and with a little help from Brianna, she gets back in touch with her high school sweetheart. In Rogan's mind this creates a whole new problem to deal with. She is kind and understanding and gives Maggie, in a figurative sense, the key to the past, even as she herself brings the past to meet the present.

There is romance and family and "edge of your seat" suspense as we wait to see what will happen between Maggie and Rogan and all the other fascinating characters in this book. Once again, Nora Roberts has written a story in which the plan twists and turns and keeps us riveted and hanging on each word right up to the end!

Reviewed in August 2001 by Angela.

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