I have to start with a confession: I totally judge a book by its cover. The prettier, the better.
So, a few weeks ago, when I opened a package from the BlogHer Book Club,
I was thrilled to see one of the prettiest books I have ever seen. Born Wicked.
I know I’m supposed to review the actual book content but humor me for a minute.
The girl on the front had a bit of a “come hither” look but, if you look beyond that, you’ll see one of the most beautiful covers… ever. The photograph is flawless—the flowers in the girl’s hair, her hair color, the grass— and furthermore the graphic design is even better –the title’s font, and,
my favorite, the contrasting combination of the dark green book jacket against the almost-fuchsia pink on the book flap.
The design work throughout the book is impeccable. Each chapter starts with a beautifully framed page and the font used for the page numbers is intricate and appealing.
It was a very pretty book to read.
Okay. I’m done. Let me tell you about the story itself.
Born Wicked is part of a book series and I’m certainly hoping to follow it.
The story tells of Cate, a young, reluctant witch in the 1800’s, who is left with the responsibility of looking after her two younger sisters’ safety when their mother dies.
Cate, Maura, and Tess, the sisters, are all witches during a dangerous time when they can be jailed, murdered, or enslaved should the Brotherhood, a religious group of men who run the
England town, find out about their powers.
Because of their fear of witches and feminine revolution they ensued years before, the Brotherhood is intent on diminishing anything feminine. They suspect all women in their community of being witches, preach about the evils of witchery, and encourage girls to remain quiet, submissive to their husbands, and uneducated. They are forced to marry when they are 17 to someone of their choosing, face an arranged marriage with any man who might be a widower at the time, or elect to join the Sisterhood.
I have to admit, reading a book about witches and magic wouldn’t have been my first choice regardless of how pretty the cover might be.
Fantasy books are a total turn-off for this reader who prefers a more realistic novel.
Yet Jessica Spotswood, the author, manages to write about magic without making it seem ludicrous. She weaves it into the story making it seem entirely ordinary that women were able to do magic in their time. Ordinary but secretive, of course.
Spotswood also sticks to the language, customs, and traditions of the time period incredibly well making almost effortless to relate to the story.
In the end, I was surprised to enjoy the book so much. Perhaps it was because of the romance, the suspense, or the surprises… or everything combined. What I think I realized in the end is that Born Wicked isn’t actually about magic, it’s about a girl trying to find herself and her place in the world while trapped in a place where she’s not allowed to have a place at all.
Disclosure: This is a paid review from the BlogHer Publishing Network,
however all the opinions I share are my own.