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Born Wicked (The Cahill Witch Chronicles) Paperback – January 3, 2013
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The prophecy written in Mother’s diary is clear: “A trio of sisters will come of age, all witches. One of the sisters, who will be gifted with mind-magic, will be the most powerful witch born in centuries.” Her daughters—Cate, Maura, and Tess—compose the trio, and Cate is the one who possesses mind-magic. But Mother is dead, Father is oblivious, and the Brotherhood is intent on stamping out all witches in New England in an effort to squelch female independence and initiative. How can Cate protect herself and her sisters from the Brotherhood’s terrifying scrutiny? Spotswood has melded historical fiction with the paranormal into an intriguing story of witchcraft, family responsibility, and unrequited love. A constant undercurrent of uneasiness permeates the novel; readers will find themselves tantalized by Cate’s two suitors and their marriage proposals, terrified by the Brotherhoods hatred and disgust of girls and women, and frustrated at the necessity to wait for the second book in the Cahill Witch Chronicles to learn what becomes of the sisters. Grades 8-12. --Frances Bradburn --This text refers to the Preloaded Digital Audio Player edition.
"A tale so captivating you don't want it to end." — Andrea Cremer, New York Times bestselling author of the Nightshade series
"An intriguing story of witchcraft, family responsibility, and unrequited love." — Booklist
"...the fate of the Cahill sisters inspires genuine dread by the time the cliffhanger ending arrives." — Publishers Weekly
Top customer reviews
Paul McLeod is Cate's oldest friend. He's been away for a while, and now that he's come back all grown up and handsome, he intends to marry Cate. She has no problem with this, what could be better than marry someone she's known all her life? But he wants them to live in the city, and she can't afford to leave her sisters now. Not only that, but now that she's gotten to know Finn Belastra, the bookseller turned gardener, Cate can't stop thinking about him and his freckles!
Born Wicked is a delightful tale of knowing what you really want, going for it, and making sacrifices for the sake of others. Cate was a wonderful character to read. She's a bit of a control freak, but with good reason since she's trying to keep her sisters safe from the Brothers. She has no choice but to be the parent, the "bad guy," the one who "doesn't have fun." And I think that's why Finn is so perfect for her. He just lets her be free, be who she really is. The girl who likes to climb trees, and get dirty while gardening. I don't know if Paul would have let her be that free, though he seems to like her well enough and they've been friends forever.
I can't get into the story without giving away some major things, but I will tell you this...it will keep you reading all night long! As the story unfolds there are more and more twists and surprises on every chapter. Born Wicked ends with a rather disagreeable ending where Cate has given up her freedom, her happiness to save everyone she loves, and there is no hope on the horizon. But this is just the first book in the Cahill Witch Chronicles, and boy is it a great start! I can't wait what's next in store for Cate and her sisters!
Everything about Born Wicked engaged me: the alternative historical setting, the characters, the plot, the writing. Set in turn-of-the-century New World where witches once were powerful but were overthrown by the Brotherhood, girls are now watched and circumscribed within society's very narrow demands of them. At the age of 17, they must either marry or become cloistered within the convent-like order of the Sisters. Pity any girl who manifests (or is accused of having) any kind of magical ability - she is seized, tried unfairly, and thrown into a prison asylum, where she will likely live the rest of her days.
In this world, magic is equated with feminism and female sexuality alike. The oppressive religion is founded upon fear and suppression of feminine power. Nothing new or subtle about this idea but I am very curious as to how Spotswood will run with this through the course of the series.
"The Brothers are afraid the witches will rise up again someday, Mother said, so they loathe the idea of powerful women. We are not permitted to study and got to university as men do, or to take up professions...Women are not normally granted permits to run businesses.
"The Sisterhood is held up as an alternative to marriage, and an honorable one. They do the charitable work of the Brotherhood: serving as governesses and nurses, visiting the sick and dying, and feeding the poor. But no one in Chatham has actually joined them in years. The notion of spending my life studying scriptures or teaching orphan girls is odious. I'm fairly certain I'd murder my pupils."
Although Born Wicked is told from eldest and most responsible sister Cate's point of view, Maura and Tess, her younger sisters, are both equally as richly layered and individual as our heroine. I could easily envision future installments being told from their perspectives and each story being just as strong as this first. By the end of the book, Spotswood has given each of them, as well as other minor characters some great, revelatory scenes.
And that's probably most of the reason why I enjoyed Born Wicked immensely - I was constantly surprised. In reading the last chapter, I was in authentic suspense about how the novel was going to end. I knew it was a series and so there would be a cliffhanger (and it is a good one!). The ending did not let down; it was complicated and true to the characters and theme of the series - and absolutely made me vow to read the next one as soon as it comes out!