Though I don't read them often enough, I really enjoy historical fiction and fantasy novels. So, when the opportunity arose to read Goddess Born, a novel that would include both elements, I jumped at the chance. Kari Edgren's novel was intriguing and kept me turning the pages until the end.
Here's the 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.
Book Two in the Goddess Born series will be published in November 2014 and Book Three in June 2015.
Goddess Born was quite the riveting read. I was interested in the magical element to this novel and wondered how, exactly, Selah's powers worked and what the back story was. Unfortunately, this was where I found the novel lacking. I appreciate that Edgren avoided the dreaded info dump at the beginning of the book and did not give everything away at once. What I wished for, however, were more details about Selah's power. We find out right away that there is something special about her and that she seems to have healing powers. We also know right from the start that she is a "goddess born" but it takes a very long time (almost 100 pages if I remember correctly) before any history is shared. It wasn't that I was confused - I could tell that the power was passed on maternally and had done so for many generations. I was more frustrated that I didn't have the whole story about Selah's powers. I felt like the explanation wasn't dealt with properly and because of that my appreciation for the novel was diminished.
This novel was an interesting one. I really did like reading it. The time period was interesting - the 1700s - not only from a historical perspective but from a fantastical one as well. It's not often that a novel will include some magical elements and take place in that time period. I think it made Selah's plight all the more stressful, for the reader, because there was a very real possibility that she would be murdered if the truth about her powers came out. Sure, that could happen now but knowing "witches" were actually killed made Selah's fate seem very bleak indeed. I don't think I would have enjoyed this book nearly as much if it had not been historical fiction.
Finally, I want to touch on the romantic aspect of the novel. Edgren did a good job of making sure the story did not stray too much into the typical romance genre. There were times when physical attraction and emotional attachments played a large part in the story but it was always done correctly. There was a time and place for these scenes and they were always well placed. So, of course, I appreciated the good love story! Henry seemed like a genuinely good man and I really hoped he and Selah could work out the various problems they had.
I'm really happy I got the chance to read Kari Edgren's novel. I'm also happy that Goddess Born is the first in a trilogy. If you're a fan of historical fiction and fantasy as I am, I think you'll really like this one too.
*A copy of this novel was provided by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.*