By Jessica Spotswood
Published February 7th, 2012
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Hardcover, 330 pages
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.
Before her mother died, Cate promised to protect her sisters. But with only six months left 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 starts 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. -Goodreads
Okay, so I discovered this book from a friend who lent it to me who thought I might like it. She knows me very well. I definitely thought the cover was appealing, but not so much the title.
Born Wicked is the story of Cate, a girl who is primarily responsible for taking care of her two younger sisters ever since her mother died and her father withdrew into himself. That is normally difficult, but even more so with the fact that they are all witches. Cate not only has to protect herself but her sisters from the suspicious eyes of the community and the Brotherhood. Her father has also recently hired a governess, one who is hiding something and seems all too understanding, Cate cannot trust her, or anyone for the matter. There is also the problem of her impending announcement, she only has a few months to decide on either marrying someone or joining the Sisterhood. What can a girl do?
I pity Cate so much. She has so much responsibility and such a heavy burden. Yet, somehow, she is still hopeful and courageous, in the end sacrificing all most everything she holds dear for her family. She doesn't really know how to take care of her sisters, and does the best she can. That means keeping their secret about being witches, which is harder than you might think. Maura, the middle child, rebels, she loves her magic and loves using it. She is suffocated by Cate, and longs to be free. However, Maura just annoyed me. She is just so selfish, all she wants to do is play with her magic without a care for anything else. I admit that I can sympathize with her a little (who likes being smothered?), but she should realize how difficult she is being and making Cate's burden that much heavier, and making their secret that much harder to keep. The youngest sister, Tess, I absolutely loved. She's so sweet and wise beyond her years, which enables her to help Cate out. The family dynamic is great. They all love each other, but even the best of families have some drama. However, no matter how much they might fight, in the end their family comes first.
The romance part of this book was kinda like a love triangle. It was Cate's childhood friend (whom she hadn't seen in a while) vs Finn, the Cahill's new gardener (who also helps out at his mother's bookshop). Paul is okay, I mean he certainly has the moves and actually does care for Cate and want to marry her and make her happy, but he isn't Finn. Finn is so cute and such a great person. He is quiet and unassuming, but underneath he is really passionate about the things he loves. He and Cate are definitely soul mates, but they can't be together mainly due to his lower place in society.
The world Cate lives in is a tough one. The Brotherhood controls everything, and if you go against them you're branded as a witch and sent away (either to an asylum or to die). Being a witch is heresy, and the Brotherhood uses that fear of being accused to keep people in line. Not only that, but females have a deadline to either marry or join the Sisterhood. But what really is the Sisterhood? What could they be hiding? And then there is this prophecy that Cate's mother never told her about. Turns out, there was a lot that Cate's mother didn't tell her. This prophecy is, well, kinda important.
The ending was such a ride. In a few words, crap hits the fan, and everything happens so quickly there's little time to think. I enjoyed it so much, especially the plot twist at the end. Way to be more creative. Overall, Born Wicked is an enchanting tale of a brave girl faced with many difficult choices, between the magic, romance, and the family secrets, how far will Cate go to protect her family?