Dance Upon The Air
by Nora Roberts, paranormal (2001)
Jove, $7.99, ISBN 0-515-13122-9


In a romance novel, every abused wife on the run flees to a nice, small, peaceful town to get a nice cute job with a kind local lady and meet a new guy in the form of the local (hunkiest) guy. Nora Roberts' latest coffee-table scenery-photo-album romance, Dance Upon The Air, sticks to the conventions of that subgenre's formulas and adds in some witchcraft lore to make it even more atmospheric.

Three Sisters Island should give this author a medal. She's doing much better than a million tourist brochures in making me want to rob a bank so that I can experience the magic of Three Sisters Island.

Nell Channing (not her real name) is fleeing from a bad, bad hubby by faking her death (it's Sleeping With The Enemy all over again) and running to Three Sisters Island. With only around four hundred bucks in her account, she ends up becoming a chef at a bookstore-cum-eaterie run by the local kind marm Mia. Mia also gives Nell a room of her own. If I fake a broken leg, will the folks at Three Sisters put me on a sedan chair and carry me around town? Anyway, Nell soon realizes that she is a witch with magical powers, or rather, latent powers.

Nell, after all, is a descendant of Air, one of the three witches that make up the local folklore. Yup, to break the Curse or something of their ancestors, Nell must - uhm - do something. Nell does a lot of things. Running around, taking in beautifully fresh air. Making wonderful coffee and basking in the attentions of Mia, who, in a better novel, will declare her love for Nell and they will spend the rest of their lives reading beautiful Sapphic poetry.

Oh yeah, I forgot. Almost lost in all the scenery is Zach, a local sheriff who, thanks to the heterosexual trump card movement, gets Nell even when Nell and Mia have more chemistry than Nell and Zach. Zach is a goody-woody guy who blends in with the perfect utopia of Three Sisters Island.

Well, I like Dance Upon The Air. Not because it's romantic - let's face it, this is pretty much this author's last trilogy in a new if similarly idyllic locale, peopled by the same type of characters again and again. But because this book is therapy like nothing else. The trees, the panorama, the lovely walks in perfect evenings of perpetual late summertime, the smell of coffee and freshly baked potatoes in the air... yummy. I really need to go rob a bank. Or not. After the tranquilizer shot that is this book, I'm too content and sedate to even move.

Get this book - it's cheaper and safer than sniffing helium.

Rating: 76


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