Ever since their mother died, Cate has been responsible not just for raising her sisters, but for making sure that they stay safe and undiscovered by the Brotherhood priests as witches.
Protecting her sisters, who chafe under her too-watchful eye, was the last request that Cate’s mother, a fellow witch, asked of her before dying. Unfortunately, her mother neglected to leave much guidance. A discovered witch is subject to terrifying penalties, and the Brotherhood has been intensifying its witch-finding efforts. Cate is pulled between family obligations and societal pressures—she has only a few short months to find a husband lest the Brotherhood assign one, but marriage will take her away from her sisters. The lukewarm love triangle between her and two generic suitors is just formulaic, especially when compared to the more compelling relationship with society. By keeping the sisters away from their town’s social scene, Cate meant to keep their secrets safe, but their absence has attracted attention. The two plots tie together through the arrival of governess Sister Elena, tasked with smoothing the girls’ rough edges and matchmaking. Searching for answers while hiding under everyone’s noses, Cate discovers pieces of a prophecy revealing an immediate danger and that she isn’t the only one keeping secrets.
An imperfect heroine, strong female supporting cast and measured tension counter underdeveloped male characters. (Fantasy. 12-17)