by Kari EdgrenYA/NA Romance
Selah 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© Finalist
2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist
ABNA Publisher Weekly Reviewer
Set 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!
Excerpt from Goddess Born
Quakers 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.
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.
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