Friday, October 3, 2014

Review: "Goddess Born" by Kari Edgren

Synopsis:  The power to heal is her divine gift, the fear of discovery, her mortal curse.
Selah Kilbrid is caught between two worlds. A direct descendant of the Celtic goddess Brigid, she is bound by Tuatha Dé law to help those in need. Yet as a human, she must keep her unique abilities hidden or risk being charged for a witch. In 1730 Pennsylvania, the Quaker community of Hopewell has become a haven for religious freedom—and fanaticism—and there are those who would see her hanged if the truth were revealed.

For eighteen years, Selah safely navigates the narrow gap between duty and self-preservation, until the day a prominent minister uncovers her secret. Obsessed with her power, Nathan Crowley disregards her betrothal to a distant cousin from Ireland and demands marriage in exchange for his silence. Selah stalls for time, but when news reaches the Colonies of her cousin’s death, time has run out.
Rather than submit to Nathan, Selah coerces a stranger to pose as her husband. It’s a good plan—her only plan—even though Henry Alan harbors his own dark secrets. But when she returns to Hopewell a married woman, the real fight has just begun. As unseen forces move against her, Selah doesn’t know which poses the greater danger—a malignant shadow closing in from outside or the internal fire that threatens to consume her heart.

My Thoughts:  Goddess Born is a unique mix of historical fiction and paranormal set in the early years of the American colonies.  It gives the reader a nice introduction into Quaker life and Celtic mythology.

 Likes:  I enjoyed the premise that the descendants of the goddess, Brigid, settled in America and tried to fit in with a Quaker community. There were a lot of historical details in the story that made for a fascinating read.  The descriptions of every day life, including the role of the indentured servant, were some of my favorite parts.  I also really liked the descriptions of Selah's work as a healer (whether using her powers or not).  It was interesting to read about the different herbs she used and the different types of injuries she dealt with.  I was also intrigued by the threat of witchcraft in the story and what that meant for the the main character; an accusation of witchcraft could ruin someone's life and it seemed like an accusation that anyone could make without any real basis in fact.

Characters:  Selah is a really fun character.  She's very different than the typical 18th century woman would have been and I found that really endearing.  Her intelligence and work as a healer makes her a very unusual character (for that period) and I enjoyed watching her interact with the other characters.  Nathan Crowley was a hot mess.  I wanted to feel bad for him, I really did, but he was such a creep.  One of the things that made this story a real page turner was that it always felt like there was a villain lurking around every corner and you never quite knew who it was.  The author did a great job of not making it obvious who the real villain was and I really liked that it was a big shock at the end. 

Dislikes:  I wish there had been more about Selah's family's past as well as more about the otherworld and Brigid.  That aspect of the story didn't really take center stage and while I understand why it didn't, I would have liked to know more.  Maybe the author will go into more detail in a future book (this is the first in a trilogy).  I also thought some of the things that happened at the end of the book seemed a little far-fetched but it will be interesting to see what happens in the next book.

Overall, Goddess Born is a great read that you will have trouble putting down.  If all books set in the American colonies were like this one, I would read about that era a lot more often!  4 stars.

About the Author:

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.

For more information please visit Kari Edgren’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

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I received a copy of this book from HFVBT in exchange for an honest review.


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