Born Wicked

Born Wicked

Magic only in the rose garden, avoid attracting the Brotherhood's attention, watch over one another - that's what Mother told Cate before she died. How can a sixteen-year-old keep her younger sisters from spellcasting in this land where suspected witches are sent to Harwood Prison?

Oh, to live in Dubai where women have freedom, can learn more than reading and simple sums, where they can use their magic gifts if they choose! Here in New England, the Brothers preach that magic is "devil-sent" and the Brotherhood Council runs absolutely everything.

Keeping to themselves except to attend Services and piano lessons hasn't stopped gossip about the Cahill sisters, as Cate had hoped. Now Father has hired a governess for them! Worse yet, she's from the Sisterhood, where women must go if they do not marry by 18. She will polish their manners and perhaps help them repair their social standing in their small town.

Cate's own intention ceremony is in just six months, when she'll announce who she intends to marry - probably Paul, her lifelong friend who'll return from university soon. But she's becoming fond of Finn, the bookstore owner's son who's had to take on other work as the Brotherhood drives off their customers.

Social calls among Brotherhood wives bring out new information about old situations, and the most influential daughters decide that Cate is worth spending time with after all, to her chagrin. A letter from "Z.R." tells Cate to search for her mother's diary and find answers there.

Who is Z.R. and why did she wait so long to contact them?
Is there truly a prophecy about three sisters like Cate, Maura, and Tess?
Will Cate's intention ceremony begin a life of contentment or close the door on happiness?

This first book in the Cahill Witch Chronicles introduces an alternate world where New England is a place of religious oppression, where truth can be more dangerous than lies, and where Cate must decide how much she'll sacrifice to protect her sisters from the Brotherhood's menace.

Recommended by: Katy Manck, Librarian-at-Large (retired academic/corporate/school librarian), Gilmer, Texas, USA – blogging young adult books beyond the bestsellers at


In an alternate version of New England in the 19th century, life for women is highly structured and highly boring, thanks to the strict governance of the Brotherhood. The ideal woman must be chaste, ignorant, and obedient, declaring her commitment at age 17 to either the religious order of the Sisterhood or to a husband. Anyone not conforming to the Brothers’ wishes runs the risk of being accused of witchcraft, a grievous offense indeed.

The three teenaged Cahill sisters, considered reclusive and unfashionable bluestockings by many, don’t quite fit the Brothers’ ideal of womanly perfection. What most people don’t know, however, is the terrible truth behind their inherent oddness: Cate, Maura, and Tess were all born witches.

Following the death of their beloved mother, eldest sister Cate has dedicated her life to protecting and caring for Maura and Tess, a task that consumes her even as she faces her ever-approaching commitment ceremony, some unexpected correspondence, a meddling new governess, more suitors than she knows what to do with, and a dark family secret that will undo all that she has worked to save. With only six months to spare before having to choose between marriage and the Sisterhood, it looks more and more like Cate won’t be able to keep her promise to her mother. If she were an ordinary girl, it would be so easy to simply pursue the advances of Paul, the handsome boy next door, or even Finn, the scholarly gardener who catches her eye. Cate Cahill, of course, is far from ordinary. Always, there are her sisters to think of, and the fate that might befall them if she weren’t around to keep their secrets.

In the end (or is it really the beginning?), a frightening prophesy comes to light, and courageous Cate will have to choose between friends and family, love and duty, truth and persecution. What will become of the Cahill girls?

Born Wicked is a stunning debut novel that features strong characters and plenty of intrigue, romance, and magic to please older readers. The story of the Cahill witches is not one to miss.

ISBN-13: 978-0399257452 - 272 pages

Highly recommended by Molly Crumbley, Librarian, Maryland, USA.

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