Jewels of the Sun by Nora Roberts
What could be more perfect than inheriting a cottage in Ireland? Well, it’s considerably less perfect when it involves the matchmaking prince of the fairies.
Jude, miserable because of her recent divorce and professional burnout, quits her job as a university professor. Things would be really bleak except that she inherits a cottage in a remote village in Ireland. She goes there to regroup, and maybe, come alive again.
There she meets a whole passel of charming, eccentric villagers who generally converge on the local pub. Three siblings are the lively owners of the pub: Brenna, Shawn and their extra handsome sibling Aidan.
Not only is there a bit of Enchanted April for Jude but a genuine fairy tale is mixed into the story. Once upon a time, a fairy prince wooed but did not win his human lady. The ghost of his lost lady is reputed to haunt Jude’s cottage. On occasion a strange man appears and cryptically urges her to look on Aidan kindly.
Here is a bit of the fairy tale:
“At dawn Carrick [the fairy prince] mounted his winged horse and flew up to the sun. He gathered fire from it, formed dazzling diamonds from it, and put them in a silver sack. And these flaming and magic jewels he brought to her at her cottage. When she went out to meet him, he spilled them at her feet, and said to her, ‘I’ve brought you jewels from the sun. These are my passion for you. Take them, and me, for I will give you all I have, and more.’ But she refused, telling him she was promised to another. Duty held her and pride him as they parted, leaving the jewels lying among the flowers. And so they became flowers.” (p. 99)
I love it when novelists incorporate their modern fairy tales into their fiction. Unfortunately, they seem to be closer to ghost stories without a sense of beauty or wonder. Roberts keeps the magic intact.
Jude’s return to life was as interesting and satisfying as her tentative, new relationship with Aidan. Both of them have a few psychological adjustments to make before they can become a healthy couple. What each one goes through before making these changes is downright funny. Highly recommended.