I broke my streak! I was on a kick for the last month for lighter books, as many of you know. A few days back I picked up Born Wicked, which is a 2012 debut novel by Jessica Spotswood. I would never call this book light, but it’s very enjoyable in a “this is just right!” kind of way. Goldilocks be gone, I got my groove back!
Born Wicked is set just before 1900 in a small New England town called Chatham. There are three sisters in the Cahill family – Cate, Maura, and Tess. All three of them have been gifted with magical abilities passed down from their mother. Since their mother’s death some years ago Cate, the eldest, has been keeping an eye on the girls, making sure their magic stays a secret. In the town (and the world in general) there is a religious organization, the Brotherhood, who purges the world of witches. The Brotherhood is an oppressive, patriarchal dominance who maintains a constant presence in Chatham. Cate knows if the Brotherhood catches wind of their powers they will send all three of the sisters to the asylums, or worse.
Born Wicked is a glorious book, lush and provocative. It’s the kind of book I love to settle in with. I was in the mood for Southern Gothic and this almost fit the bill, except for that it’s set in New England, in another century. So, I guess soft New England Gothic? Possibly? Maybe. Whatever. I enjoyed the atmosphere in this novel very much. There’s a very interesting tone composed here that is, of course, reminiscent of the Salem Witch Trials. However, the magic preformed within reminds one more of Harry Potter and Hogwarts, I think it’s all of the Latin spell casting. The Brotherhood, and Sisterhood for that matter, are both terrifying. They succeed by preaching superstition and fear and serve as the perfect all-powerful villains in this narrative.
Plus, there is a very tender love story at the core of this book. I won’t tell you anything that would be construed as a spoiler, but I adored the love interest in this. The “first kiss” scene was quite toe curling.
I look very much to the second book in this series, which I now have to wait for a good long while for (I imagine it will be out spring 2013. Whinge!). I can’t wait to see how this plays out, particularly after that cliffhanger. Wow. 5 out of 5 stars.
– Follow the Reader –
* Born Wicked releases February 7th, 2012.