Thursday, November 08, 2007

Jewels of the Sun (Book 1)

Determine to reevaluate her life, Jude Murray flees her complicated life in Chicago to take refuge in a beautiful cottage in the picturesque village of Ardmore in Ireland. Surrounded by the beautiful scenery and refreshed by the more relaxed lifestyle, Jude finds herself fascinated by the local folklore. Even her cottage seems to have a resident ghost and Jude decides to embark on a personal research project to find out more.

Finally back home in Ireland after years of travelling, Aidan Gallagher is also something of an expert when it comes to his country's haunting myths. He's returned to devote himself to managing the family business. But in Jude Murray he sees a woman who can soothe his heart and stir his blood. And he begins to share the legends of the land with her -- while they create a passionate history of their own... - Synopsis from the back cover of the novel.

If I understand correctly from the publication information in the book, Jewels of the Sun was first published in the United States in 1999 by Jove Books. The cover we see in this edition is published in Great Britain in 2006 by Piatkus Books. Jewels of the Sun is the first book of the Irish Trilogy. Having read her newer works such as the Circle Trilogy (Morrigan's Cross, Dance of the Gods, and Valley of Silence), I find they read more naturally. Having said that, Nora Roberts still churns out pretty interesting and witty dialogues. I manage to draw a few lessons from this first book in the trilogy too -- will talk more about that later.

Jude Frances Murray was divorced from her husband barely a year into their marriage, about six months to be precise. Everything about their marriage was about plan, practicality and precision. So much so, she becomes apologetic when things turned sour. She blames herself for everything. Jude is a pyschologist but she is losing it. Her grandmother advises her to take a break and go to Ireland, back to her roots. She takes the advice, drops everything and ends up in Ardmore.

No one has stirred Aidan Gallagher's blood like Jude did. When he first laid eyes on her -- fascinated by her prim-and-properness, shyness, and nervousness -- he decides she is the one though at the point of time, things are still 'under control' so to speak. He is a wonderful story teller and reading him recite stories to help Jude in her research convinces me that Irish males are great in this department. Further down the road, I'm even more convinced that they are fantastic lovers. Nora described the romantic scenes most tastefully and I had to ensure I did not let out loud sounds of pleasure. Ahem! You know, the way Aidan kisses Jude and all that stuff. Guys should read this. Maybe what I'll do is highlight all the pertinent parts and 'review' them with hubby. It's a win-win situation.

Sorry I digressed... Back to the story. It is not just about Aidan and Jude, but also of Lady Gwen and Carrick the faerie prince. One is a mortal and the other an immortal. Theirs' a tragic love story. Jude has seen Lady Gwen and the thing is, she is a resident of the same cottage. This does not bother Jude one bit. While visiting Maude's grave (the owner of the cottage), Prince Carrick also appears before her. People only heard of his legend and no one has seen him but only Jude. She visits Maude regularly and pours her heart to her.

Earlier I mentioned about lessons learned. I am extracting a portion of what I read from page 195. Aidan says this to Jude about running away:

... What's wrong with running away if where you were didn't suit you? Doesn't it follow you're running to something else? Something that does suit you?

How true. I also learned about writing down my thoughts just as Jude taught her fist-year students, and when she is thinking through the sticky situation she's in (page 109). It says:

Write down your thoughts on a certain problem or indecision, in conversational style, without filters. Then sit back, read, and explore the answers you've found.

I have enjoyed Jewels of the Sun and is definitely looking forward to the second book Tears of the Moon. This time the story is about Shawn Gallagher (Aidan's younger brother) and Brenna O'Toole (one of Jude's best girl friends in Ardmore). As usual, Nora Roberts is a GREAT storyteller!