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. -Plot summary borrowed from Goodreads
If you've been reading this blog for awhile, or if you know my
The world building offers an intriguing alternate history of America, and I think Spotswood does a solid job of bringing up gender politics/using witchcraft as a metaphor for feminine power and/or sexuality, and the Brotherhood provides a credible threat to the main characters. The sisters' personalities and relationships are believable and interesting, and at times Little Womanesque in a way that adds authenticity to the 19th century New England setting. The romance was a little fluffy and swoony for my taste, and every so often I thought that Cate was teetering towards Mary Suedom, but these are pretty minor quibbles.
I wish I had found this book a few months from now, and would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a great seasonal read, a historical take on witches, or some (light) alternate history. Definitely looking forward to the sequel, Star Cursed, which is due to hit shelves February 7, 2013.