Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Book Review - The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent

The Heretic's Daughter
Kathleen Kent
Little, Brown and Company
ISBN # 978-0316024488

"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 descendent of Martha Carrier"

Kathleen Kent's debut novel is a dark and enlightening tale of what happened to one family during the Salem Witch Trials. Daughters forced to turn against mothers, husbands against wives - this is what mass hysteria does to communities.

I have been interested in what happened in Salem, Massachusetts since I read The Crucible by Arthur Miller, when I was in grade school. The Heretic's Daughter is much more historically accurate than The Crucible, and (I think) a much better read. I really connected with the characters. I found myself wondering what I would be willing to sacrifice for my children, had I been in Martha Carrier's shoes. And, I wondered if my daughter would have been able to let me be hauled off to prison, if I had told her to let it happen, so that she could live.

The Heretic's Daughter is one of those books that I couldn't put down. However, the book didn't leave me wanting more. The story was told - clean and neat. There didn't need to be more.
(September 3, 2008, pp 352, $24.99)

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