First things first: Spellbound by Nora Roberts is not a novel. At 81 pages, I would barely even call it a novella. It was released in 1998 as part of Once upon a Castle, a compilation of short stories. It was released in 2005 as a stand-alone story. Unlike most of Roberts’ books, this one has an equal number of one- and five-star reviews on Amazon. Keep all of that in mind.
Spellbound is the story of American Calin Farrell, an over-worked, famous, 30-year-old photographer who has long had strange dreams. After a particularly stressful period, Calin decides on a whim that he is going to take off and relax in Ireland.
When he arrives in the countryside, he finds himself at a ruined castle, where he discovers that his fantasy dreams might not have been dreams, after all. At the castle, Calin quickly comes across Bryna, the beautiful woman — oops, I mean witch — who he’s seen in his dreams since childhood.
Turns out, Bryna and Calin have been bound together for more than 1,000 years through ancestry and spells. And now, Bryna needs Calin’s help before it’s too late…
While the love story between Calin and Bryna is definitely fast-paced and interesting, it’s simply too shallow. Because of the length of the story, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to develop any type of relationship or emotions for the characters. It’s hard to follow the thought process behind their actions, since there isn’t time for an explanation, and at times its difficult to understand the development of the situation. There isn’t enough back story for everything to make sense.
It’s too bad, because the premise is interesting, though maybe a little clichéd. The story had potential, but Roberts simply didn’t take the time to develop it into a full-blown novel. I would have liked to see more from this story.
If you would like to read Spellbound, I would recommend picking it up from your library or purchasing it for Kindle or in your local bookstore. Don’t buy it online in paperback form — it’s not worth the price of shipping.
Title: Spellbound | By: Nora Roberts | Publisher: Penguin | ISBN: 978-0515140774 | RLB Grade: C
Find it on Amazon: Spellbound