In colonial America the concept of an ethical magical practitioner didn’t exist. There was no vocabulary that would allow people to discuss such a person, and therefore no way to even imagine that someone like the protagonist of Goddess Born could be real. Selah Kilbrid was a healer and midwife in a predominately Quaker town in Pennsylvania, but she was also secretly a descendant of the Goddess Brigid who gave her super-human powers to heal magically. In modern parlance, I would characterize Selah as a priestess of Brigid. In 1730 the full truth about Selah could never be known because she would be condemned as a witch. Selah is forced to take some highly unusual steps to escape this accusation. Historically, colonial witch hysteria targeted people who didn’t practice magic at all with the possible exception of the slave Tituba, but Goddess Born by Kari Edgren is a historical paranormal romance. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review.
This has been a year in which I’ve discovered historical Quakers engaging in activities that are against Quaker principles. In Slavery and the Meetinghouse by Ryan P. Jordan, which I reviewed on my blog at http://shomeretmasked.blogspot.com/2014/08/slavery-and-meetinghouse-complex.html, I read about Quaker abolitionists who carried guns and even some Quakers who fought in the Civil War. These are Quakers that I had never envisaged. The modern Quakers that I’ve encountered have been strong proponents of non-violence. Now Kari Edgren has asked me to contemplate 18th century Quakers persecuting a young woman who had benefited many members of her community. Do I think it’s believable? Unfortunately, I do. There was another novel that I read some time ago which causes me to find Goddess Born credible. It was Impassioned Clay by Stevie Davies (1999) which deals with Quakers persecuting women as heretics in 17th century England. Stevie Davies is a historian who also wrote a non-fiction book called Unbridled Spirits which, as one of the reviews on Goodreads points out, contains some Quaker women. For more information about Stevie Davies, see her website at http://www.steviedavies.com/.
This book does contain some predictable elements that are due to its being a romance. Romance readers will want to know whether it adheres to the rule that every romance must end with HEA. I have to tell them that it isn’t quite HEA. Goddess Born ends with the chance of HEA which could be setting up for a sequel. A sequel would justify a delayed HEA. I found the ending a satisfying one. It resolves the Pennsylvania story line. I also enjoyed both the heroine and the hero. The heroine was unusual and the hero turned out to be both courageous and principled.