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.
I didn't know much about this book before I picked it up, other than it was a witchy historical fiction novel, but I still had high hopes for it because of the great reviews I read. After having read it, I wish I'd had more things to say about this book. The setting is a very alternate turn of the 19th century New England. I didn't dislike the setting, in fact, I feel as though it was one of the book's redeeming qualities to have such an original historical setting. It wasn't just historical fiction with witches, this New England had a completely different history and political set up. When it came to the beginning of this book, that's where my praise sort of stops.
The first half of the book I was not that engaged in it. All I read was "blah blah blah the Brotherhood is bad". Not a whole lot happened until Cate learned about the prophecy. Then it got interesting. After I read about why the Cahil sisters were in danger I couldn't put the book down! The world of secrets and witches finally comes to life. I think it was very clear by the end of the novel that this is just a foundation book. This book laid out the history and world of witches, while the other books in the series will hold all the action (I hope).
I really liked the characters and character building. I felt as though the relationships between the three girls were very believable and an accurate glimpse at siblinghood. The only character I got annoyed with was Cate. I don't know how to describe her other than by calling her a party-pooper. She's probably the most uptight character I've read in a really long time, though necessarily so. She has to be the responsible one, since no other witch appears to be. The only time she lets her hair down is around Finn. Oh, Finn! I was incredibly excited to see such a nerdy and adorable guy be a love interest in a book. He just really did it for me! Finn and Cate's forbidden fling was the best part of reading through Cate's point of view. They're probably my new favourite fictional couple in a long time.
I didn't give this book four stars because of the beginning. In my opinion, it was slow and took too long for anything much to happen. I did, however, enjoy the rest of the book immensely so I'm giving it three stars. I wish it was more. I'd say read this book if you like corsets and magic. You won't be disappointed if you don't want much more out of this book!