Monday, July 7, 2008

The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent

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The Heretic's Daughter
Kathleen Kent
Little, Brown and Company
352 pages
Book provided by the Hachette Book Group USA through Shelf Awareness

The distance by wagon from Billerica to neighboring Andover is but nine miles.
~ Chapter One, Massachusetts, December 1690, and so begins The Heretic's Daughter ~ (ARC, uncorrected proof)

Martha Carrier was one of the first women to be accused, tried and hanged as a witch in Salem, Massachusetts. Like her mother, young Sarah Carrier is bright and willful, openly challenging the small, brutal world in which they live. Often at odds with one another, mother and daughter are forced to stand together against the escalating hysteria of the trials and the superstitious tyranny that led to the torture and imprisonment of more than 200 people accused of witchcraft. This is the story of Martha's courageous defiance and ultimate death, as told by the daughter who survived.

Kathleen Kent is a tenth generation descendant of Martha Carrier. She paints a haunting portrait, not just of Puritan New England, but also of one family's deep and abiding love in the face of fear and persecution.

I've often wanted to read about the Salem witch trials but could not ever find a book that fit what I was looking for. This one fits the bill perfectly. It's an engrossing read that follows the Carrier family over a 2 year period. The author starts the story showing us family life in Massachusetts in 1690 and then begins building, by speech and actions, those traits that led to the accusations of witch craft against this family and others throughout communities in the area. She does a wonderful job of taking family history and weaving a subtle, sinister tale. The descriptions of the trials and subsequent prison life are chilling. She shows how easily influenced, and influential, a group of young girls could be.

This debut book is a fine start to a writing career. I would definitely read more from this author. I recommend it for lovers of historical fiction.

** If you've read the book and posted a review on your blog feel free to leave the link in a comment on this post for others to check out **

1 Comment:

Tasses said...

Just finished that one. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did! You can see my review HERE

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