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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.After the death of her mother, Cate Cahill had to take on the responsibility of caring for her two younger sisters. Her father is rarely home and even when he is, he's not exactly the most reliable of men. Not to mention he knows nothing of his daughters whispered spells. Only their mother knew of their magic and urged them against telling anyone, father included. So for years, Cate has had to act as mother more often than sister, and while they've had their many ups and downs, inviting anyone into their private lives to offer help is a dangerous and unthinkable notion. So when her father hires a Governess, on the word of their nosy neighbour, to help transform the girls into ladies fit for society, Cate is more than a little apprehensive. But she only has a few months left to decide her own fate - accept the hand of an eligible man in marriage or join the Sisterhood? Because this is far removed from a time where women have access to a thing called freedom.
Before her mother died, Cate promised to protect her sisters. But with six months 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 stars 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.
Where Cate did her best to make sure she and her sisters flew under the radar, Maura, the middle child, felt trapped. And when a flighty spirit is suffocated, she will thrash her wings until she is freed. She's reckless and feisty, but she added flair to the story and even if there's times where you want to shake her by the shoulders, she will intrigue you. And I so adored Tess! Sweet and eager and a little lonely, for the youngest sister she was wise beyond her years. But even she wasn't happy to let their magic stay untapped like Cate wanted. I loved the strong bond the sisters shared. It may have been fragile at times, with Maura especially, but you could see the love was still strong underneath. Cate herself is an amazing protagonist. Not only for the responsibilities she's taken on at such a young age, but for the fierce and stubborn young spirit inside her, something that is always so invigorating to see from a girl in that historical period. She would truly shine in our modern world, but her day needs a girl like her. To offer hope for revolution, to punch through the stifling restrictions that are forced upon females.
Oh Finn, my feathery Finn! The feather scene? One of my favourites in the book <3 You might have seen the stunning moment captured in the book trailer and oh, it's even sweeter in words. Finn is the quiet, intelligent scholar; passionate about learning, with the kindest of hearts. His own loyalty to his family mirrors Cate's, and what's so beautiful is that he accepts and admires her for who she is - in all her unladylike splendor. He's just a book keeper, taking on the additional job of gardening to try help his family out of financial unrest. He knows he can't offer Cate what Paul (her childhood friend and now suitor) can, but his heart is worth a thousand times the gold any man could give. I did sort of like Paul. He also appreciated Cate for who she was, not who he expected her to be, but I felt Finn was much more of the 'soulmate' type of match. Plus, Paul's behaviour toward Finn in their years at school earned him many narrowed eyes from me!
While my heart did swoon and miss a beat throughout the book, it often thudded angrily, so infuriated with certain people and their rules!! I wanted to reach through and gouge their eyes out, but that would only result in a shredded book and it's too beautiful to ruin. The Brotherhood sprout their, 'witches are wicked, evil, unholy,' rubbish upon the entire community and not adhering to their rules is basically signing your own suicide letter. They rule with an iron-clad fist and their word is absolute, so if they deem a young lady a witch, then they'll drag her away kicking and screaming until she's locked away in an asylum. Or put to death.
The Sisterhood is Cate's second option to marriage, but it's not exactly a viable choice for Cate when it would separate her from her sisters. They're said to offer ladies the best they can in terms of skills and education, but are they perhaps hiding a few secrets of their own?
Born Wicked is a beautifully written debut that had me under a spell from the very first page. Jessica Spotswood has such gorgeous prose. She creates deep and touching characters that you truly care for, unless they're in the Brotherhood, who you only care to stake through the heart. With breathtaking magic, haunting prophecies and impossible choices, Born Wicked is wickedly captivating. If you love romance and danger, sacrifice and magic, and your heroines brave, then this is a novel you cannot pass up!
5/5 Golden Apples!