Title: Born Wicked

Series: The Cahill Witch Chronicles, Book 1

Author: Jessica Spotswood / @jessica_shea

Published: February 7, 2012

Publisher: Putnam Juvenile/Penguin

Pages: 330

Source: purchased

Goodreads Summary: Everybody knows Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. Too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But the truth is even worse: they’re witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it would mean an asylum, a prison ship—or an early grave.

Before her mother died, Cate promised to protect her sisters. But with only six months left to choose between marriage and the Sisterhood, she might not be able to keep her word… especially after she finds her mother’s diary, uncovering a secret that could spell her family’s destruction. Desperate to find alternatives to their fate, Cate starts scouring banned books and questioning rebellious new friends, all while juggling tea parties, shocking marriage proposals, and a forbidden romance with the completely unsuitable Finn Belastra.

If what her mother wrote is true, the Cahill girls aren’t safe. Not from the Brotherhood, the Sisterhood—not even from each other.

Goodreads Average Rating: 3.95

  • Christina thought this title was spellbinding (heh) and held her captivated. It goes on her second shelf.

The Lowdown: Born Wicked takes place in 1870, set in New England, but told through an alternate history from what we know in textbooks. In this novel, the governing body is the Brotherhood– men who dictate that women should be uneducated, subservient to their male counterparts, and domesticated and powerless to the extreme. But what the priests of the Brotherhood fear and preach about relentlessly above all else is witchcraft and its wickedness. Their ministry teaches the population that all witches are devil-spawned creatures that perpetrate evil and sin. Suspicion of witchery alone can mean the accused is sentenced to an asylum, a prison ship, or certain death. After an initial widespread hunt, it’s thought that most of the witch covens were eliminated and those that were left behind went into hiding. The witches only hope to return to power is in the last prophecy from the Daughters of Persephone that stated three witches would be born unto one family, and they would lead the fight against the Brotherhood and save the witches.

Now with her intention ceremony– where she has to decide between marriage or the Sisterhood– looming and desperately trying to keep her sisters safe after having promised to do so as her mother’s dying wish, Cate is more pressed than ever to keep their secret. But after having discovered her mother’s diary and learning of their possible destiny, Cate quickly realizes that her secret can always get more complicated.

My Thoughts: I really enjoyed reading this story. I felt like Ms. Spotswood remained true to the authentic character voices, time period, and plot throughout the entire novel. She wrote characters that I rooted for and against, ones that I loved and loved to hate. I especially appreciated the growth that Cate experienced throughout this book, and seeing firsthand how she met her conflicts head-on. 

Pacing: I thought this book was like taking a leisurely stroll through an orchid. It wasn’t action-packed, but it had a steady rhythm that kept me interested and all the imagery kept my senses tantalized. I didn’t want it to end.

Swoons: There’s a bit of a love triangle in this, but it wasn’t exaggerated. I enjoyed getting to know both boys. There’s the childhood friend, Paul, that’s finally returned home from university and his interest made my heart stutter. But there’s also Finn Belastra, the bookstore boy that has a quiet strength and charm that really stole my heart.

♥ Swoony teaser:

     When I finally draw back, gasping for breath, my lips feel swollen, my chin raw from the sandpaper stubble of his. We’re still wrapped up together, his arms around my waist beneath my cloak. “I ought to be more of a gentleman, but I’m afraid I lose my head around you,” he says, his cherry lips inches form mine.

     “I don’t mind,” I assure him, my arms still looped around his neck.

     “I got that impression, yes.” He grins. “But you should go in now, truly. If you stay her, I’ll have to kiss you senseless and someone will see us eventually. Don’t look at me like that. I don’t want to let you go.”

Verdict: If you’re in the mood for a bit of magic with a historical feel, definitely give this one a go. I can’t wait to read the sequel, Star Cursed. With how this novel ended, I can’t imagine where we’ll go from here, but I’m very much looking forward to taking that journey.

Full of giggles, flails, snark and Southern endearments. Avid Reader. Lover of swoony boys, kickass heroines, yummy kissing scenes, and pretty prose.

I like to draw hearts in the sky (eternal optimist) and wish on stars (forever dreamer). Documentaries, sweet tea, sleep, and brightly colored knee-socks are a few of my favorite things. ♥

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