My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Received to Review
Genre: Historical Fiction/Mythology
Book Description: Pennsylvania, 1730 Selah Kilbrid keeps a dangerous secret: she has the power to heal. A direct descendent of the Celtic goddess Brigid, it’s Selah’s sacred duty to help those in need. But as the last of the Goddess Born living in the New World, she learned from an early age to keep her supernatural abilities hidden. The Quaker community of Hopewell has always been welcoming, but there’s no doubt they would see her hanged if her gift was revealed. When a prominent minister threatens to try her with witchcraft unless she becomes his wife, Selah has only one hope—that her betrothed, a distant cousin from Ireland, arrives as planned. Marrying Samuel would keep her secret safe, preserve her sacred bloodline, and protect her from being charged as a witch. But when news of Samuel’s death reaches the Colonies, Selah is truly on her own. Terrified, she faces an impossible choice—forfeit her powers and marry the loathsome Nathan? Or find an imposter to pose as her husband and preserve her birthright?
My thoughts: I really like the genre of mixing mythology with modern day. This book took a different turn. It took another favorite genre of mine, Historical Fiction, and added the mythology. It was a great mix for me! I enjoyed reading this book.
Selah is a descendant of the Goddess Brigid. She has the gift of healing. She can see in her mind what is ailing her patient and then use her powers to fix the problem. She is bound to help anyone who asks for her help. The good thing, is that she likes to help others. This makes her gift something she treasures, rather than a burden.
The book is set in the early 18th century. Selah lives among the Quaker's and a preacher misunderstand her gift, threatening that if she doesn't marry him, he will expose her for witchcraft. A very serious charge during the time period. Fortunately for her, she puts him off because she is betrothed to her cousin. She must marry a relative who she doesn't have to hide her gift from.
The world seems to conspire against her. As her father lies dying, she travels to pick up her fiancee, only to find that he died on the voyage from Ireland to the Colonies. In a desperate measure she purchases the contract of an Indentured Servant, and has him pose as her cousin. She has a fake wedding and travels back to her home.
I wish I could say that her trials and accusers disappear, but that would be too easy and make for a book that wasn't as interesting. I enjoyed the many layers of plot that were laid. There were many people who could the villain in this book. When it looked as if I had it figured out, another person seemed to have a motive. The book keeps you guessing.
I loved the story of Selah and Henry. They are both put in a difficult situation, but come to a stormy peace for their circumstances. They both seem to be content, but both have fragile feelings for each other, they are easily hurt by a wrong action or word. They are fiercely loyal to each other, which is the glue that holds them together.
This book is a clean New Adult. There is sexual innuendo, but that is as far as it goes.
Read an Excerpt
Quakers throughout the room had put their silence aside, and the meetinghouse began to hum
with their voices. More than a few people demanded that Nathan reveal the witch.
“You’ve given your warnings,” John Lewis called out above the other voices. “Now
give us her name!”
Nathan stared at me with unabashed hatred. “The spirit commands me to reveal the
witch!” he thundered, pointing a finger in my direction. “It was Selah Kilbrid that I saw in vision,
selling her soul to the Devil.”
A hushed silence fell over the meetinghouse as every eye turned in my direction. I sat
ramrod straight under their gaze, my chin slightly raised. Nora and Anne kept a firm hold on
each of my hands. Henry was poised to spring at the first hint of danger.
“You’re mistaken, Nathan,” Anne said calmly. “Selah is not a witch.”
“The spirit is not wrong!” Nathan cried. His nostrils flared and his eyes blazed like a
maniac. “Selah Kilbrid is the Devil’s whore!”
Confusion and shouting took over the meetinghouse. Several women hurried to get a
safe distance away from me.
“Mark Flanders lost a heifer two days ago,” a man shouted from the crowd.
“It died of acorn poisoning,” William yelled back angrily.
“Maybe it was Selah and she just made it look like the cow had eaten too many acorns,”
“Maybe you need to shut your mouth before I come over and shut it for you!” William
shouted, standing to face the man.
“Let the witch speak for herself!” the man yelled back.
During this exchange, Henry came over and pulled me protectively to his side. Nora
and Anne also stood, keeping close. Allison started to walk toward me, only to be stopped by her
mother, who looked uncertain. When William joined us, Henry leaned over to whisper
something in his ear. William nodded and then hurried toward the back door.
I stood stone still, my heart pounding painfully as my name spread through the crowd
outside, bringing more people into the meetinghouse to see me. The space in the middle quickly
disappeared, taken up by those being pushed forward to make room.
“Order!” Gideon bellowed, standing on a bench. “We will have order in God’s House!”
One by one, people fell silent, waiting for what the Elder would do next.
“Selah, please step forward,” Gideon instructed.
I did as he bid me, brushing past Nathan on my way. Henry stayed at my arm, a threat
to anyone who dared harm me.
“Selah, are you willing to answer some questions?” Gideon asked. He was all
seriousness, but from the concern in his eyes, I knew he meant to help.
I nodded and turned to face the crowd. Looking out at the mass of people, I was
amazed by my complete lack of fear.
2013 RWA Golden Heart© Finalist
2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalistABNA Publisher Weekly Reviewer Set in the colony of Pennsylvania in 1730, this riveting novel begins as 18-year-old Selah Kilbrid runs into Quaker minister Nathan Crowley, a man who “labor[ed] under the delusion that [Selah] would soon be his wife” despite the fact that she was betrothed to a man on his way to America from Ireland. Nathan tells Selah that if she refuses him, he will have her “charged as a witch” because of her ability to heal the sick. To avoid Nathan’s plan to marry her the following Sunday, she leaves for Philadelphia to wait for the arrival of her betrothed and marry him before returning home. In Philadelphia, she discovers that her betrothed has died at sea. She then purchases Henry, an indentured servant, and convinces him to pose as her husband and help protect her from Nathan. As the story continues, the reader learns of Selah’s family history and the powers she possesses; Selah is half human, half goddess. It's important that her secret stay safe, because if discovered, she could be killed. The characters are well developed and relatable; the reader empathizes with Selah and her plight. The fast-paced plot is exciting and keeps the reader guessing and in suspense. The end leaves room for a sequel, which, after such a tremendous beginning, would be anxiously awaited. A clear winner!
Author Kari Edgren Kari Edgren did not dream of becoming a writer. Instead, she dreamed of everything else and was often made to stay inside during kindergarten recess to practice her letters. Despite doting parents and a decent school system, Ms. Edgren managed to make it through elementary school having completed only one book cover to cover – The Box Car Children, which she read approximately forty-seven times. Things improved during high school, but not until she read Gabrielle Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude in college, did she truly understand the power of a book. Ms. Edgren aspires to be a Vulcan, a world-acclaimed opera singer, and two inches taller. She resides in the Pacific NW where she spends a great deal of time torturing her husband and children with strange food and random historical facts. Ms. Edgren hasn’t stopped dreaming, but has finally mastered her letters enough to put the stories on paper.