Pennsylvania, 1730Selah Kilbrid keeps a dangerous secret: she has the power to heal.A direct descendent of the Celtic goddess Brigid, it’s Selah’s sacred duty to help those in need. But as the last of the Goddess Born living in the New World, she learned from an early age to keep her supernatural abilities hidden. The Quaker community of Hopewell has always been welcoming, but there’s no doubt they would see her hanged if her gift was revealed.When a prominent minister threatens to try her with witchcraft unless she becomes his wife, Selah has only one hope—that her betrothed, a distant cousin from Ireland, arrives as planned. Marrying Samuel would keep her secret safe, preserve her sacred bloodline, and protect her from being charged as a witch.But when news of Samuel’s death reaches the Colonies, Selah is truly on her own. Terrified, she faces an impossible choice—forfeit her powers and marry the loathsome Nathan? Or find an imposter to pose as her husband and preserve her birthright?2013 RWA Golden Heart© Finalist2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalistABNA Publisher Weekly ReviewerSet in the colony of Pennsylvania in 1730, this riveting novel begins as 18-year-old Selah Kilbrid runs into Quaker minister Nathan Crowley, a man who “labor[ed] under the delusion that [Selah] would soon be his wife” despite the fact that she was betrothed to a man on his way to America from Ireland. Nathan tells Selah that if she refuses him, he will have her “charged as a witch” because of her ability to heal the sick. To avoid Nathan’s plan to marry her the following Sunday, she leaves for Philadelphia to wait for the arrival of her betrothed and marry him before returning home. In Philadelphia, she discovers that her betrothed has died at sea. She then purchases Henry, an indentured servant, and convinces him to pose as her husband and help protect her from Nathan. As the story continues, the reader learns of Selah’s family history and the powers she possesses; Selah is half human, half goddess. It's important that her secret stay safe, because if discovered, she could be killed. The characters are well developed and relatable; the reader empathizes with Selah and her plight. The fast-paced plot is exciting and keeps the reader guessing and in suspense. The end leaves room for a sequel, which, after such a tremendous beginning, would be anxiously awaited. A clear winner!
In a very rich and fluent storytelling Kari Edgren tell us the story of Selah Kilbrid. Selah lives in Hopewell, a small Quaker community in 1730 Pennsylvania. Since childhood she has been bearing a secret. This secret had been in her family for many generation, about them descendents of the Goddess Brigid. As her mother and her grandmother before her She is a healer in the community, but no one knows that they could really had the power to heal with there gift. Her family, although Catholic had settled in the New World to escape persecution of their kind in Ireland. They had been accepted into the Quaker community, and her father except the Quaker believe but although all the family attended the meetings his wife and his daughter had retained their own religion.
Despite knowing she is engaged to her cousin who's on his way from Ireland, Nathan, a Quaker minister, pressed her into marring him or else he will expose her as a witch.
Luckily her father made an arrangement to marry her to a second cousin from Ireland, Samuel Kilbrid. This relative is own his way to marry her. Per her dying fathers request she is going to meat him in PA harbor and married him straight away before returning to her house. Unfortunately, She learns of her cousin death from palsy on his voyage which, cause her to made a desperate decision to buy a contract of one servant, named Henry, and convince him to pose as her cousin and late as her husband. She outbids a wealthy brick works' owner for an the indentured servant, and made a new enemy.
Henry is a mystery at the beginning; He was a strong and very intelligent person, who has a will keep his promise to protect his new “wife”. It was also, obvious the immediate strong attraction between him and Selah. But they didn't rush into things.
I feel so lucky that I don't live On the 1700's when women were often looked as subservient than men and married off and looked at as mere property. Ignorance and religion often going hand in hand and especially in those times. This reality is not so far a way from another cases of accusing of witchcraft in North America:
- Between the years 1645–1663 80 cases - In 1645, Springfield, Massachusetts, experienced America's first accusations of witchcraft when husband and wife Hugh and Mary Parsons accused each other of witchcraft. Hugh was found innocent, while Mary was acquitted of witchcraft but sentenced to be hanged for the death of her child. She died in prison.
- in the in colonial Massachusetts between February 1692 and May 1693 Salem witch trials where a series of hearings and prosecutions of people (300 people, most of them women) accused of witchcraft over 30 people were hang out .
The concept of witchcraft as harmful is often treated as a cultural ideology providing a scapegoat for human misfortune. This was particularly the case in the early modern period of Europe where witchcraft came to be seen as part of a vast diabolical conspiracy of individuals in league with the Devil undermining Christianity, eventually leading to large-scale witch-hunts, especially in Protestant Europe. Witch hunts continue to this day with tragic consequences.
The reasons for accusations of witchcraft fall into four general categories:
- A person was caught in the act of positive or negative sorcery
- A well-meaning sorcerer or healer lost their clients' or the authorities' trust
- A person did nothing more than gain the enmity of their neighbors
- A person was reputed to be a witch and surrounded with an aura of witch-beliefs or Occultism
But also a witch were those who:
The sentence for an individual found guilty of witchcraft or sorcery during this time, typically included either burning at the stake or being tested with the "ordeal of cold water" or judicium aquae frigidae Accused persons who drowned were considered innocent, and ecclesiastical authorities would proclaim them "brought back," but those who floated were considered guilty of practicing witchcraft.
- a witch who curses a neighbor following some conflict (The "neighborhood witch" or "social witch").
- a professional healer, sorcerer, seer or midwife, or a person who has through magic increased her fortune to the perceived detriment of a neighboring household (The "magical" or "sorcerer" witch)
- portrayed in court narratives as a demon appearing in visions and dreams (The "supernatural" or "night" witch)
After this explanation above there is no wonder why Selah was so frighten and willing to anything even to pass the low. especially that her being a woman and a woman without relatives put her in a very week position. She also fall into the category of dealing in magic as "a good to be true" healer. Before her trail you could feel the evidence to the ignorance and superstitions of the people in the people conversations:
"....The air crackled with excitement. Here and there, I picked up snippets of conversation. Mostly it was just more of the same—speculation about who the witch could be. On my left, when we passed by a small cluster of men, I heard something entirely different. Rather than tossing out names, they speculated on what would happen to the woman. One man thought it would only take the dunking chair to find out the truth. Other men openly argued the possibility of a hanging tonight..... "
For many people in the audience Nathan vision was enough to accuse her as a witch. The other method Nathan use was the negative sorcery - She was responsible for the too much rain that destroy the field of her neighbors and the same time her fields didn't suffer so much damage. By this he gain the enmity of her neighbors. The direction of the trail seemed to end in her accusation, but surprisingly we had a very enlighted interference of the low (which those in the real life didn't have at all)
Selah fear was so great that that she was keeping her secret from Henry that she loved so much fearing to lose him. By doing this she start to lose him anyway.
I can't keep in this direction without exposing too much of the story so if like you can read it all by yourselves. I don't think that you will disappointed, it is really written very well and it soo......easy to carry away with the story.
Excerpt 1I didn’t stop running until Brighmor was well out of view. With my heart pounding, I ducked out of sight behind a large oak tree to wait. A good ten minutes passed before my heart finally slowed, and I felt confident that Henry hadn’t followed me. Returning to the narrow pathway, I walked at a more leisurely pace, throwing the occasional furtive look over my shoulder as I went deeper and deeper into the woods to the manmade alcove that had been built right into the sidhe,or small earthen mound.
Years ago my grandparents had carved away enough dirt to stack large rocks three feet high, forming a wall in the shape of a half-moon. It measured about twelve feet from end to end with an arc deep enough to accommodate my full height if I were inclined to lie down. In the middle of the arc stood an altar, hewn from a piece of gray granite that had been sealed to the earth by my grandmother’s blood mixed with a handful of sacred dirt brought over from the Old World. Green and brown lichen grew on the stones, and dense foliage pushed up along the perimeter, ready to spill over into the clearing.
With the rock wall behind me, I knelt down at the altar and set the dried herbs on the smooth stone surface, charred black from countless fires. Finding the flint, I struck it repeatedly to release a shower of white sparks over the bundle. As it started to smolder, fragrances of cowslip, angelica, and goat’s rue rose up. With a long, deep breath, I pulled the smoke inside, letting it inundate my senses. Then I began to recite the ancient words in preparation to cross over.Brigid Buadach, Buaid na fine, Siur Rig nime, Nar in duine, Eslind luige, Lethan breo. Riar na n-oiged, Oibel ecnai, Ingen Dubthaig, Duine uallach, Brigid buadach, Brigid buadach.The physical world began to waver. Keeping my voice to a low monotone, I repeated the Gaelic words. At the end of the third repetition, the trees and stones, the smoldering bundle, all flickered in and out of view, then disappeared altogether as my soul passed into to the Otherworld.For a moment, there was nothing more than thick gray mist and the memory of burning herbs. I stepped out of the mist into the warm sunlight at the edge of Brigid’s garden, free of the night and my body that remained kneeling at the altar.
Excerpt 2“Believe me, Mr. Alan, marrying you was truly my last option. Why else would I willingly connect myself to a servant when half of the single men in Hopewell wanted my hand?” Well, maybe not half, but I wasn’t really going for accuracy at the moment.
“Then why didn’t you take one of them instead?” he asked, giving me a sardonic grin.
“That is none of your concern.” I lifted my chin, but he was so tall my nose barely topped his sternum, taking away from my attempt at a dignified air. “You are making such a fuss, I almost wonder if you would have preferred Mr. Fletcher’s company to my own.” I smirked at him, pleased with the insult.
The elegant curve of his mouth tensed in warning, but I was not about to back down after being so rudely insulted. It was high time he remembered who was an heiress to a great fortune and who had arrived a day before, indentured for service with nothing more than the clothes on his back. Undesirable, indeed!
“Was it him you wanted instead of me?” I asked, pushing a little bit further.
His green eyes flashed dangerously as he leaned over me, bringing us almost nose to nose. “A wife should never doubt her husband’s natural desires,” he said menacingly.
Disconcerted by his closeness, I started to move away when he grabbed my upper arms and pulled me hard against him. Inhaling sharply, my rational mind scattered beneath the heady scent of soap and masculine spice. Without thinking, I drew another breath, and my eyes strayed to his mouth.
A soft chuckle vibrated deep in his chest. “So that’s why you’re angry.”
I jerked my gaze upward. “What do you—”
His fingers tightened on my arms. Then, with a dip of his head, he pressed his mouth to mine. The suddenness so startled me, I forgot to kick and scream until his hold slackened a moment later.
The floor felt strangely off-kilter as I stumbled back a step. My eyes blinked open, and Henry loomed large, looking angrier than before.“Are you satisfied now?” he asked in a chillingly quiet voice.
Indignation roared to life inside me. “How dare you!” I cried, my hand rising in retaliation. His reflexes were snakelike, and he caught my wrist in midair.
“There’s no need for that,” he said, guiding my hand back down. “A bride is promised one kiss on her wedding day, but ask as you may, you’ll be getting no more from me.”
Excerpt 3Quakers throughout the room had put their silence aside, and the meetinghouse began to hum with their voices. More than a few people demanded that Nathan reveal the witch.
“You’ve given your warnings,” John Lewis called out above the other voices. “Now give us her name!”
Nathan stared at me with unabashed hatred. “The spirit commands me to reveal the witch!” he thundered, pointing a finger in my direction. “It was Selah Kilbrid that I saw in vision, selling her soul to the Devil.”
A hushed silence fell over the meetinghouse as every eye turned in my direction. I sat ramrod straight under their gaze, my chin slightly raised. Nora and Anne kept a firm hold on each of my hands. Henry was poised to spring at the first hint of danger.
“You’re mistaken, Nathan,” Anne said calmly. “Selah is not a witch.”
“The spirit is not wrong!” Nathan cried. His nostrils flared and his eyes blazed like a maniac. “Selah Kilbrid is the Devil’s whore!”
Confusion and shouting took over the meetinghouse. Several women hurried to get a safe distance away from me.
“Mark Flanders lost a heifer two days ago,” a man shouted from the crowd.
“It died of acorn poisoning,” William yelled back angrily.
“Maybe it was Selah and she just made it look like the cow had eaten too many acorns,” another shouted.
“Maybe you need to shut your mouth before I come over and shut it for you!” William shouted, standing to face the man.
“Let the witch speak for herself!” the man yelled back. During this exchange, Henry came over and pulled me protectively to his side. Nora and Anne also stood, keeping close. Allison started to walk toward me, only to be stopped by her mother, who looked uncertain. When William joined us, Henry leaned over to whisper something in his ear. William nodded and then hurried toward the back door.
I stood stone still, my heart pounding painfully as my name spread through the crowd outside, bringing more people into the meetinghouse to see me. The space in the middle quickly disappeared, taken up by those being pushed forward to make room.
“Order!” Gideon bellowed, standing on a bench. “We will have order in God’s House!”
One by one, people fell silent, waiting for what the Elder would do next.
“Selah, please step forward,” Gideon instructed.
I did as he bid me, brushing past Nathan on my way. Henry stayed at my arm, a threat to anyone who dared harm me.
“Selah, are you willing to answer some questions?” Gideon asked. He was all seriousness, but from the concern in his eyes, I knew he meant to help.
I nodded and turned to face the crowd. Looking out at the mass of people, I was amazed by my complete lack of fear.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.
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