Jessica Spotswood's Born Wicked, the first in her The Cahill Witch Chronicles series, was not quite what I expected. I expected a novel about a young witch who was afraid of her powers. What I got what that and so much more. It reminded me a little bit of The Handmaid's Tale, a bit of The Scarlet Letter, and it's the first alternate history novel I've read in a long time that wasn't steampunk. It kept me flipping through the pages, torn between wanting to know what happened next and not wanting the story to end.
Our mother was a witch, too, but she hid it better.
I miss her.
Not a single day goes by that I don't wish for her guidance. Especially about my sisters. P. 1
Cate took care of her younger sisters after their mother's death. She stepped into the role of caregiver and lady of the house. She did her best to educate them, to love them, but, most of all, to protect them from the Brothers. No one must ever know that all three of the Cahill sisters are witches.
New England used to be ruled by witches, but it's been almost one hundred years since the Brothers took power. The Cahill sisters have seen girls in their community punished for the mere suggestion of witchcraft. Some girls go to trial, others to the asylum. Others just simply disappear. As the years edge closer to the turn of the twentieth century, the Brothers even begin to suggest they may bring back public hangings.
Cate believes that the best thing for her sisters is for them all to hide their magic. They must appear to be just like the best of women in their New England society -- obedient to the Church, their fathers and, eventually, their husbands. As Cate approaches her coming-of-age, she has an important decision to make. Will she choose marriage? Or pledge herself to the Sisterhood? How can she best protect Maura and Tess?
As the days edge ever closer to the date by which Cate must make her decision, she discovers things aren't necessarily as they seem. One thing remains certain -- the Cahill sisters are in terrible danger, and Cate must do everything in power to protect them ... even if that means sacrificing her own happiness.
Born Wicked is a book that will have you rushing through the chapters as you try to figure out who is good and who is not. Whom can Cate trust? What will she decide? And when you reach the last page, you will find yourself wondering just how you will be able to wait for the next book in the series to be released.
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