Born Wicked (The Cahill Witch Chronicles, Book 1) by Jessica Spotswood.
"Aren't you bored silly, Cate? I know I am. If I didn't have my novels, I'd throw myself right in the river." Maura's eyes snap as she stands and stretches, the fabric pulling tight through the bodice. She needs new dresses to fit her new curves. "What life do we have here, wandering around the house like ghosts? Don't you ever crave more?"
Do I? It's been years since I let myself consider what I want. It hardly matters. I didn't want Mother to die; I didn't want Father to turn into a shadow of his old self; I didn't want the responsibility of policing my sisters. I certainly never wanted to be a witch in the first place.
The universe has yet to take my wishes under consideration.
The year is 1896, and Cate's intention ceremony is coming up soon. In six weeks, she must decide if she wants to join the Sisterhood - a cloistered group of religious women who live in the city, New London - or announce her engagement to a man. Her childhood friend, Paul, returns from studying in the city, and she can tell that he is going to ask her to marry him. However, although Paul is a good friend, she finds herself more attracted to the gardner, Finn Belastra. At the same time, she must deal with hiding her witch powers - as well of those that her two sisters have - from the Brotherhood, the group of men that governs them and carts off witches either to the insane asylum or to their deaths. Cate also finds out about a powerful prophecy that might be talking about her and her sisters, as it talks about a group of three sisters, and she must figure out if she is the "most powerful witch" in the prophecy too.
This book was great and I can't wait for the second installment. The writing was excellent and the characters were definitely relatable, even though it takes place around the turn of the 20th century. The scenes with Cate and Finn are some of the best in the book, and the arrival of a new governess, Elena, stirs up some trouble as well. Things also pick up when Cate discovers other "secret" witches in town, and learns to improve her powers by working with them. Although the ending was not what I expected it to be, I can see why the author made it so, and I'm hoping that this will make for an interesting Book 2 in the series.
4.5 stars out of 5.
*Disclosure: I read this book for the BlogHer Book Club and was compensated for doing so. However, the opinions listed here are my own.