This is a very sweet (only some kissing, otherwise, you know, the times are such that men and women don’t hang out unsupervised much) historical romance set in Pennsylvania in colony half-Quakers, half-others, and some Lenape natives thrown in.
Selah has a secret she keeps hidden for fear of being thought a witch– she can heal with the power of the Goddess Brigid. But when her father lies dying just as her Irish cousin is coming to the colonies to marry her (they can only marry family for…er…reasons that Selah’s dead mom never really explained but that become clear the first time she kisses the hero), she is threatened by a Quaker villager who wants her to marry him. And nothing will stop him from blackmail or other kinds of coercion.
Selah escapes to the port where she discovers both an indentured auction in session and that her cousin has not arrived. Quick fake marriage!
They return to the village and now must pretend to be married, and to not be attracted to each other, and Selah has to hide the fact that she traipses around the woods at night in her shift, and Henry has to hide some secrets about his own past, and the Quaker dude is still plotting and putting witch bottles under Selah’s front sidewalk to turn the tide of opinion against her.
Selah is a bit of a Mary Sue (fe: Quaker dude above) and everyone wants her. So one of my little niggling bits of dissatisfaction was the way the Lenape natives are included, they unequivocally show support and of course, because, you know, magical native trope, instantly know Selah is magical and wonderful because they can see her shine. That could have been a super-enriching part of the story and challenged Selah in terrific ways to acknowledge the breadth of magic in the world, but the main Lenape dude just ends up in her little “protect Selah at all costs” band of fellows.
So its kind of light and sweet and doesn’t get very meaty. Supposedly the second book goes to England…so it might be interesting, but I was a little disappointed not to have more Irish bits and more Lenape bits and less overall Selah Mary-Sue-ness. Still, escapist reading for folks who like reading romance without steam.