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The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent
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The Heretic's Daughter (2008)

by Kathleen Kent

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This telling of one family's struggle during the Salem witch trials is very much like that of any other you could find out there. The story is by no means bad-I just felt that it was lacking. The first half of the book tended to drag and consisted mostly of day-to-day descriptions of the Carrier family and their life. I still don't completely understand the importance of the red book containing Sarah's father's history and I think that may just have been lost on me. It almost seemed anticlimactic but there wasn't much to get excited about that mystery with in the first place. All in all this was a nice quick read but in my opinion it did not offer anything fresh or new. ( )
  Heather_Brock | Nov 23, 2016 |
Before Heretic’s Daughter, I've never read Kathleen Kent. Boy was I missing out! This author knows how to combine family dynamics, characterizations, and engrossing storytelling to create one of the best works I've read all year. Let's just say, she'll be an author I'm keeping an eye out for in future.

With my recent witch kick I've been on lately, this book was a natural selection. As the Salem Witch Trials were the biggest example of witch hunts in America, works exploring this historical event are more plentiful than I originally expected. I'm glad this title was the one I chose to read.
Kathleen Kent’s novel is an intimate tale of a dysfunctional family caught up in an epic and tragic series of events, ultimately leading to both loss and personal growth. I like how this author is able to tell both the intimate details of how the witch craze affected different family members and also detail the stepping stones of the craze itself. The reader gets to see how the ball got rolling from a phrase tossed out in anger or a bad look turns into an accusation of witchcraft, resulting in loss of property and life.

It didn't pay to have an angry or straightforward personality in Puritan Salem. Unfortunately, Martha Carrier had such a one. Undiplomatic, tactless, and not suffering fools lightly are all adjectives that can describe her. Yet, for all of that, her honor, strength, and care for her family shape all her actions throughout this difficult time. I grew to respect her and ultimately to love her, despite cringing at some of her words to her neighbors.

At first, I didn't like the main speaker of the story, Sarah. Historically, I know she testified against her mother and others, along with her brothers. So going into the book, I was prepared to dislike her. However, as the story progressed and I grew to know the Carrier family more, I started to understand why Sarah did what she did and her inner thoughts on her actions. It takes a gifted writer to make me like and empathize with a character I started out disliking. As I finished the book, my heart went out to Sarah, and I felt all the tragedies of her family right along with her.

Given the events of the Salem Witch Trials and the fates of people caught up in the craze, this subject matter is a given for high emotional stress and content. Kent's take on the story is no exception. I haven't felt as much as I did reading this book in a while. As the fates of the Carrier family carried itself out and each tragic event happened, I felt myself more and more tied up with the different characters and their pain. Let's just say that by the time this book ended, I was emotionally wrung out. I had to go read a fluffy historical romance afterwards to recuperate. LOL

High emotions, humanized characters, and a gripping tale all make for a suspenseful read. Even though the reader knows what's going to happen historically, this book takes you on a journey and keeps you enthralled by the sheer power of the writing. I was so gripped by the Carrier family’s story that I immediately started the prequel, along with the fluffy romance used for recuperation. If you're going to read any historical fiction about the Salem Witch Trials, read this one. While I can't say I am an expert on the subject matter and wide read, I still think this work stands above the rest. Definitely check it out! ( )
  Sarah_Gruwell | Nov 17, 2016 |
As I am quite enthralled by the events surrounding the Salem Witch Trials, I thought this seemed interesting. It wasn't as good as I had hoped, but it was not completely disappointing. The accounts of the young protagonist in prison were harrowing, and I was quite happily reading this in the confines of my warm, 21st century home! ( )
  KnivesBoone | Jul 29, 2016 |
I really enjoyed this. It was well written and seemed historically accurate. I had trouble putting it down, in spite of the fact that some parts of it were very disturbing to read, such as the conditions in the jail where the accused witches were kept. ( )
  Electablue | Apr 20, 2016 |
A continuation of the story of Martha and Thomas Carrier from the book Wolves of Andover. This is told from one of Martha's daughters perspectives. It is based on the Salem Witch hunt and trials of which her mother was tried and condemned. ( )
  micahmom2002 | Jan 25, 2016 |
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Epigraph
Ah, children, be afraid of going prayerless to bed, lest the Devil be your bedfellow.
—Cotton Mather from a funeral service
Dedication
This book is dedicated to Mitchell and Joshua

And to my parents, John and Audrey, for giving me the stories.
First words
The distance by wagon from Billerica to neighboring Andover is but nine miles.
Quotations
The chief judge then asked Mother, "What do you say to this you are charged with?"

Mother's voice sounded loud and clear through to the back of the room, "I have not done it."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Sarah Carrier and Martha, her mother, who live on the family farm in Andover, Massachusetts, endure a dispute with Sarah's uncle about their plot, and when reports of supernatural activity in nearby Salem escalate into mass hysteria, people begin accusing Martha and her family of being witches.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316024481, Hardcover)

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. 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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:37 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

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.… (more)

» see all 5 descriptions

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