Born Wicked – Is It Women or Witches Who Are Born Wicked?

Book Review : Born Wicked
The Cahill Witch Chronicles: Book 1
By Jessica Spotswood

Spoiler Alert!



Everybody knows Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. Too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But the truth is even worse: they’re witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it would mean an asylum, a prison ship—or an early grave.

Before her mother died, Cate promised to protect her sisters. But with only six months left to choose between marriage and the Sisterhood, she might not be able to keep her word… especially after she finds her mother’s diary, uncovering a secret that could spell her family’s destruction. Desperate to find alternatives to their fate, Cate starts scouring banned books and questioning rebellious new friends, all while juggling tea parties, shocking marriage proposals, and a forbidden romance with the completely unsuitable Finn Belastra.

If what her mother wrote is true, the Cahill girls aren’t safe. Not from the Brotherhood, the Sisterhood—not even from each other. (Courtesy of

Adult Point of View

The setting could be described as Puritanical because of the vehemence which the Brotherhood pursues witches, but the clothing harkens to a Victorian Age or just a little before because the gowns are bell-like rather than bustle enhanced. It is alluded that in the past the Witches were on the top of the hierarchy of society and their deity association was from a Greek female goddess. Apparently many witches had gathered in America for religious freedom, but have been nearly annihilated at the hands of the Brotherhood. The rise of the Brotherhood has resulted in a literal witch hunt, but also the suppression of all women, freedom of thought and has also reduced commerce. I’m pretty sure the Brotherhood think all women are born wicked and not just witches. With such power many in the Brotherhood are corrupt and blame women for their own fallacies. The Sisterhood has formed as an alternative for women who don’t feel called to be married. This organization also prizes education and is meant to support the Brotherhood.

Cate as the oldest sister is very responsible and concerned for her sisters’ welfare. As an oldest child I completely related to her situation and worries. The middle sister is flighty and selfish. The youngest sister is compassionate and a little shy. I liked how the three sisters had distinct personalities.

The romance, and it is a love triangle, was predictable. Though I have to admit I liked Finn, and who wouldn’t? He’s smart, protective of his family and genuinely kind. The surprise is how conniving the governess becomes by luring the middle sister into a confidence that I believe she will come to regret. I knew I didn’t like that governess. There is a scene with girls kissing, and references to the Brotherhood killing or imprisoning women who are lesbians.

Overall Born Wicked was ok. It had a fairly predictable plot, but a promising premise. Spotswood did a good job in her characterization. I was hesitant to read Born Wicked because the cover looked salacious, but it really isn’t a fair representation of the content. It really wasn’t graphic, a bit like a Gothic romance with a couple of steamy kisses.

3 out of 5 stars

3 star

  • the Mother

If you liked this one try This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel and the Seven Realm series beginning with The Demon King by Cinda William Chima. An older book to read would be The Raven Ring by Patricia C. Wrede.

About Tales Untangled

I am a mother of four children and have a passion for reading. I love sharing my treasury of books with my kids. I also do experiments in cooking which includes such things as Indian Tandoori Chicken slow-cooked in a tagine. I write stories and illustrate in ink.
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