Recommended Age: 14+
Genres: Paranormal, Drama
Tags: Magic, Sisters, Diversity, Crime, Religion
- Moderate violence: details of arrests, executions, and oppression.
- Mild language: some verbal abuse.
- Mild sexuality: brief kissing.
Cate, Maura, and Tess Cahill all have to take care of each other, especially since their mother is dead and their father doesn’t know they are all witches. In this alternate version of Colonial America, witches are hunted through sexism and oppression, much more extremely than even the Puritans managed. This oppression is a reaction to the witches previously running wild and using their powers selfishly before they were either all captured or forced into hiding.
Now Cate and her sisters must hide their talents or face execution, all while demurely attending church and planning for their future as devout wives. But then their new governess shows up with her own special talents and the sisters soon discover that they aren’t as alone as they believed. As Cate struggles to protect her sisters, she soon questions who exactly her family needs protection from: the Brothers who persecute them, or the witches who want to use their powers for their own agenda.
Ever since their mother died, Cate has been more like a mother than a sister to her two younger sisters. Their father is often absent, working through his grief with business trips. Cate is left with the responsibility of not only making sure she and her sisters are socially acceptable, but keeping their magic a secret from everyone as well. But when you’re young and learning, without structure or guidance, sometimes the garden is going to spontaneously change seasons.
The descriptions of the magic are beautiful, with vivid imagery that shows the incredible side of being a powerful witch. But the scrutiny of the church, specifically the Brothers who lead the church, makes life very dangerous for all women, not just witches. There are some close calls, and Cate starts to realize how desperately she and her sisters need help. Between mysterious letters, banned books, and surprising new friends, the Cahill sisters are able to learn how to control their magic and put it to good use.
Of course, like all sisters, these three are very different and have contradicting opinions on how they can use their magic to help others. Each sister shows her distinct personality through her magic, and even though the girls are different, they rely on each other to understand their new life. Their family dynamic definitely changes the more they learn about the magical world, especially once they discover the prophecy that predicts one of them will be either the salvation or destruction of the world, and one sister will kill another.
Cate does everything she can to prevent that from happening, but between the pressures of both the church and the witches, as well as falling in love for the first time and losing control of her magic more often than she would like, life is a bit overwhelming. But she’s willing to sacrifice everything to protect her family, and her heartfelt efforts make a perfectly epic ending.
Each character has strengths and flaws, especially the Cahill sisters. Cate’s temper, Maura’s pride, and even Tess’s blind optimism get them into plenty of difficult situations throughout this series. There’s some cool history and layers of magic and how it has changed history as we know it, along with strong themes of oppression, violence, sexism, and religion. As the sisters learn more about magic, they have to decide what part they will play in this war on both women and free will.
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