Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction, Romance, Paranormal Publication.Date May 29th 2014 Pages: 111,000 words Published By: Carina Press Author Kari Edgren Goddess Born on Goodreads My review copy: Received from the author in exchange for an honest review.
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2013 RWA Golden Heart© Finalist
2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist
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.
"The hard reality of my situation stared me bleakly in the face—for the first time I was truly alone in the world, without a single known living relation."
Do you think it’s so important for like to marry like?” he asked.
“Sometimes,” I answered hesitantly, unsure about the direction of his question.
“What if two people fall in love who are different? Do you think it could work?”
“How different are they?”
“Not even from the same world,” he said, staring at me.
I swallowed hard. “Some differences are too big to overcome. In these cases, I’m afraid the lovers would be destined to a life of misery.”
“So you don’t think love can overcome any obstacle?” he asked indignantly, though his smile said otherwise. “I thought all women were hopeless romantics and believed such things.”
“Only those who prefer fairytales to reality.” I laughed. “In this life, people aren’t so ready to accept what they don’t understand.”
It is a hard thing to measure a man’s heart. Your power is to sustain life, not to judge it.
"Warm tension began to spread through my abdomen. “We need to be careful,” she warned, feeling somewhat breathless. “Brigid is also a goddess of fertility. My ability to withstand your charm is significantly diminished when I’ve just returned from the Otherworld.”“My charm?” he laughed softly. “By chance are you referring to my intense desire to bed you?”“Yes,” I said, smiling up at him. “I was just trying to be more subtle."
“Be my wife, Selah Kilbrid, or I’ll have you charged for a witch.”
The year is 1730 and the story takes place in Pennsylvania. Selah Kilbrid is a descendant of the Celtic goddess Bridgid and she must do everything it takes to keep her powers secret. If anyone learns about them, she will be accused of witchcraft and will likely end up burned at the stake.
Unfortunately, she is being pursued by Nathan Crowley, a Quaker minister who will stop at nothing to make Selah his wife (he threatens to ruin her life and accuse her of witchcraft if she refuses him - a real charmer, isn't he?). And he doesn't even care that Selah is already promised to her distant cousin from Ireland and that he is on his way to marry her; due to arrive any day now. With her father on death bed, Selah's only hope for the future lies in marrying Samuel, who swore to protect her and her powers. But Samuel never makes it to Pennsylvania. Stricken with a palsy, he dies at sea. Selah is all alone and in great danger of losing not only everything she owns (her home, her farm and all the accumulated wealth), but also her powers, and possibly her life.
And that's when she sees a group of man from Europe being sold as indentured servants. One of them - a handsome looking young fella - stands out from the crowd and catches Selah's attention. And that's when she gets an idea that is either going to save her life and inheritance, or damn her completely:
"Oh, if only that man were really my cousin. If only—
The breath caught in my throat, and I griped the sides of the crate from the shock of so sudden an inspiration. If only...The cobbles blurred behind a cascade of thoughts that tumbled through my mind, one upon another. Convention, propriety, and even common sense disappeared under the growing pile, and I blinked in rapid as a very different future took shape before me. Whether from God or the Devil, I had just found my miracle."
Goddess Born is a delightful and very charming novel. Part historical fiction featuring Celtic mythology, part social drama and romance, it's a swoon-worthy paranormal story and a perfect guilty-pleasure kind of read. Yes, it's sometimes a bit far-fetched and cheesy, but it's also surprisingly captivating and entertaining, and honestly, I just gobbled it down. Well-written, enchanting, filled with great dialogues, electrifying chemistry and sparkling characters, this book is simply enormously fun to read. It is, for the most part, a solid romance story, but it's set against an interesting historical background and the paranormal aspects of it spice up the plot line nicely.
Additionally, the mystery - which also plays a significant part in the story - is done well. I, personally, had no idea who the evil culprit was, or what his motives were, and the ending really surprised me. I enjoy well-plotted, clever mysteries, and Goddess Born has a really neat one.
As far as characters are concerned, both Selah and Henry are very likeable and worth rooting for. Selah is a wild soul, very forward and good- natured, though also kind of sassy and not afraid to voice her opinion. Henry is very mysterious, noble and protective. He's devoted to Selah and I absolutely loved seeing these two interact with one another. They had amazing chemistry.
What I didn't expect from this book, and what I ultimately ended up really loving about it, is the sexy humor and entertaining dialogues. There were many moments that were, well, maybe not laugh-out-loud funny, but very giggle-worthy. Like the time Edgar and Gideon took it upon themselves to explain to Henry what his marital responsibilities were and how exactly he should go about fulfilling them.
“No, we talked of botany and joinery instead.”
This was about the last thing I had expected him to say. “What do you mean?”
“Well, when we got to the barn, Edgar started to discuss apple trees. He spoke at length about the flowers coming out in the springtime and how only after the bees had visited do they turn into fat apples.” All the seriousness had passed and he was smiling again. “I believe he was trying to tell me how to make you into a fat apple.”
“Oh bother,” I said, rolling my eyes. “Are men really so incapable of having a personal conversation?”
“I found it to be a most touching discussion of cross-pollination. And when Edgar was done talking about apples, Gideon launched into a lecture on furniture building, and what it takes to properly fit dowel pins.”
I was at a loss for Gideon’s subtlety. “What does furniture have to do with it?”
“I’m not really sure,” Henry said, shaking his head. “But if you’d like we can try to make a chair later tonight.”
Overall, this book was super fun to read. I had a great time with it and would recommend it to anyone who craves a feel-good romance story set against rich historical background and spiced up by an intriguing mystery.
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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