April 1, 2009

Review: The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent

Courtesy of Hachette Audio

In a letter written to her granddaughter sixty years later, Sarah Carrier recounts the story of her mother Martha Carrier’s death by hanging during the Salem Witch Trails of 1692.

Just nine-years old when her family moved to Andover, Massachusetts the beginnings of Sarah’s tale are little more than observations of her family and their lives. As the area, including neighboring towns, are overcome by a devastating small pox epidemic, hysteria begins to escalate that there are witches in their midst which are causing their misfortunes.

Soon the fingers start pointing towards Martha Carrier and she is accused, tried and found guilty. Shortly thereafter Sarah and her three older brothers are also questioned and imprisoned. Foreseeing this, prior to her arrest Martha extracted a promise from Sarah that still weighed heavily on her as she recounted her tale so many years later.

The author, Kathleen Kent, is actually a descendent of Martha Carrier. She spent five years researching and writing this book and it was well worth the wait. Prior to listening to this I didn’t know much about the Salem Witch Trails but now have a better understanding of how easily people of that time were overcome by fear and paranoia. Even family becomes the enemy when jealousy and greed are thrown into the mix.

What so many innocent people had to endure was shocking and Kent captures every detail with painstakingly clear descriptions. The book was truly well-researched and although the story is fiction you have to imagine that this story is probably tame compared to what hundreds of people lived through during that dark point in time. I highly recommend this book to historical fiction readers.


bermudaonion said...

I can't wait to read this book!

Ladytink_534 said...

There have been nothing but good things said about this one but I still haven't read it and I actually won it last year :(

Alyce said...

This one's been on my list for a long time. I actually had a copy and then gave it as a gift to someone else, so I need to get a hold of it again. Great review!

Meljprincess said...

I'm going to read this next Halloween!

Vikke said...

Oh my this sounds like an exceptionally interesting book. I really must read this one. Thanks for an inticing review.