I thought for sure that Born Wicked was going to turn out to be another one of those books...more5 out of 5 stars Originally reviewed at Bookishly Spellbound
I thought for sure that Born Wicked was going to turn out to be another one of those books with a gorgeous cover and lackluster story. I was happy to find that not only is Born Wicked not just another “pretty face”, it is an enchanting, unique debut that quickly became one of my favorites.
After the death of their mother, Cate Cahill and her sisters are left to teach themselves to control their magic whilst keeping it a secret from not only their father and everyone they know, but also from the Brotherhood. In this society, girls are meant to act as proper ladies. They are not allowed outside without their cloaks drawn over their head and they are forced to decide whether to marry an upstanding suitor or join the Sisterhood (the Brotherhood’s counterpart), otherwise the Brotherhood will choose a husband for them when they come of age. Witchery is considered a crime that girls, often wrongly accused, get thrown in the insane asylum for or disappear completely, never to be seen again.
Cate is a brilliant protagonist with her fiery attitude that brought life to the story. She has a good head on her shoulders and she’s just so selfless and responsible which isn’t easy for a girl in her situation. Her bond with her younger sisters Maura and Tess is an integral part of the story that I greatly enjoyed. Their bond felt genuine, all the more adding to the story. Being an older sister myself, it was easy to connect with Cate on how fiercely protective she is of her siblings.
Naturally, Cate has two men vying for her affection. Paul - her childhood friend that she hasn’t seen since he went away to school years before - is the one she is expected to marry. She’s fond of him and thinks he’s attractive but it is the dreamy Finn Belastra, the town bookshop owner’s son (and also her gardener), that she starts to fall for. He’s kind, intelligent and adores Cate for who she really is. Did I mention that he had me swooning throughout the entire novel? Their scenes together had me eating up the pages, dying to read even just a little more about the two. I applaud Jessica Spotswood on her talent to write a believable romance that has the power to captivate readers. It’s not one of those “Oh my God, I love you and can’t live without you!” insta-loves. It was gradual, subtle and sweet and unlike other books, wasn’t the focal point of the story.
I haven’t read many books with historical aspects, but Born Wicked has definitely made me a fan and I will be looking into other books set in historical times. There is only so much that I can say about this book without spoiling it, but I feel that I do have to say that it ends rather horribly, but definitely in a good, leave you wanting more kind of way. Waiting for the sequel is going to be painful but oh so worth it.
Born Wicked is a wonderful and engaging debut that had me up into the early hours of the morning, eagerly absorbing Jessica Spotswood’s breathtaking prose. She has most definitely caught my attention as a magnificent debut author and I am anxiously looking forward to the coming books in The Cahill Witch Chronicles and anything else she pens in the future.(less)