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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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1,9591773,472 (3.82)210
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Showing 1-5 of 173 (next | show all)
The first part of this book dragged, as the author wrote in detail about the daily life of a 17th century girl. Once the accusations of witchcraft were made mid-book things moved a bit faster and were more interesting. The author wrapped up the book nicely, telling what happened to each of the characters. Overall this wasn't quite as good as I was anticipating. ( )
  dorie.craig | Jun 22, 2017 |
A haunting telling of the dark events surrounding and leading up to the Salem witch trials and the imprisonment and hanging of innocent citizens. Told through the voice of the young daughter of one of the women accused, tried, and hanged as a witch, Kent's moving novel paints a vivid and unsettling picture of 17th century life in Puritan New England. ( )
  GennaC | May 9, 2017 |
This novel was popular with most of our group. They felt the author created the time and place well, with believable characterisations, great language and descriptive passages. We had a good discussion on mother/daughter relationships and the notorious unpredictability of teenage girls. Joan mentioned the parallel traits of 17th century girls and those of today. Is bullying through a Puritan court the same a bullying through Facebook? We all agreed that the passage of time does little to change human behaviour and went on to discuss the environment of fear that even today is created as a way of controlling society. Do we learn from the past? It would appear not.

Everyone found the account of Martha’s imprisonment graphic and at times hard to read. The combination of mass hysteria, ignorance and superstition had us all reeling from the injustice placed upon these poor people, and found ourselves incredulous of Viti’s story of some relations in a small village in Kent that seriously believed a homeless woman to be a witch. And this was in the 1970s!

There were some criticisms from a few members who found the story too much akin to The Crucible, and felt there was nothing new here. Also the slow start and unlikable personality of the narrator, Sarah, had both Nancy and Chris struggling to appreciate the book. But in general, The Heretic’s Daughter scored high with our group and, like our member Kathy, if you haven’t read The Crucible, you will no doubt thoroughly enjoy this one!
  jody12 | Jan 29, 2017 |
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 |
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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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