The third and final book in the Born in trilogy after Born in Fire and Born in Ice, Born in Shame is the story of Shannon Bodine who is the half sister of Maggie and Brianna Concannon, and Murphy Muldoon, Brianna's neighbour.
The book opens with Shannon by her sick mother's bedside. Her mother is telling her that she is not who she thinks she is. She has been bought up to believe that she is Colin Bodine's natural daughter, when in fact she is the product of a short liaison between her mother, and Tom Concannon.
On the day of her mother's funeral, the private investigator that the Concannon sisters had hired to track down Shannon's mother finds Shannon. She shuts him off completely, making it very clear that she is not interested in any way in meeting her newly discovered sisters. However, after receiving a letter from Brianna, Shannon and changes her mind, not because she consciously wants to meet the family that she didn't know that she had, but just because she had always wanted to go to Ireland, and she needs a break from her high flying job as a commercial artist in an advertising firm.
When Shannon arrives at Blackthorne Cottage, she and Maggie are instantly resentful and wary of each other, whilst Brianna does her best to meet Shannon's every need and to smooth the path between the two sisters. Not long after she arrives Shannon meets Murphy Muldoon, long time family friend to the Concannons. Later in the book, Murphy's mother tells us that at various times she thought her son was going to end up with either Maggie or Brianna, although both make it clear that nothing ever happens, so it seems somehow fated that he would end up with another of the Concannon sisters. As soon as Murphy sees her, he knows that she is the one, as he has been seeing her in his dreams. As soon as she had arrived in Ireland, Shannon too had started to have dreams about a horseman who appears to be giving a woman a brooch and riding off. Shannon is attracted to Murphy but wary of him as well, especially seeing as she has to return to New York eventually. Murphy is so convinced that Shannon is the one for him that invites his whole family down to meet Shannon before she even starts to admit his feelings for her.
Shannon shares an artists temperament with Maggie, and whilst the two of them initially bang heads, in due course they start to have a really strong bond, especially once Rogan becomes interested Shannon's paintings. The other turning point for Maggie and Shannon, was when Shannon stood up to Maggie's mother when she tried to make Brianna feel guilty for having the nerve to have the product of her husband's adultery staying with her.
The funny thing is, as I write this review several days after finishing the book, it is really the storyline that has stayed with me for this book as opposed to the characters. I really did like Murphy, even though the fact that he was constantly lighting up a cigarette jarred me out of the story on several occasions. I am not really sure why it did, maybe because it was a little surprising that a book set in the late 1990's would still feature a cigarette smoking hero. I am sure it wouldn't bother me if a character in a historical lit a pipe or whatever! I also really liked Shannon, but it is the story which has stayed more in my mind. There was just a touch of the supernatural in this book. Not having read many other Nora Roberts, I know that that is not anything unusual for her, but it is the first time I have come across it, and I quite liked it. A couple of the things that happened were downright spooky, like in relation to the brooch.
I still think I liked the Chesapeake series a bit more than this one, but the Born In trilogy was definitely entertaining and well worth reading.
The question is though...which of Nora's books should I read next?