The Heretic's Daughter
by Kathleen Kent
Publ:Hatchette Book Group
The Salem witch trials that took place beginning in 1692 couldn’t have been staged any better if it were being filmed by Dreamworks. There was drama, suspicion, suspense, victims, accusers, liars, friendship, good versus evil and many other elements we see in successful movies. Looking back over this period of history, it is difficult to accept that the words of a few small children running to parents was enough to set the ball rolling down the slippery slope. Times were different then people didn’t have the the benefit of the centuries ahead of them. The society was patriarchal and women were expected to serve men. They were not valued. Did it really matter if a few women were accused of witchcraft? The trials, drew large crowds of people to the galleries to watch the wicked evil spawns of Satan face their accused. Nineteen women and men were hung on Gallows Hill. Among them was Martha Carrier from Andover, Massachusetts.
Heretic’s Daughter is a fictional account of the author’s relatives. The author is the tenth generation descendant of Martha Carrier. You will read in the beginning of the book a letter with with a sens e of realism from Sarah Carrier to her granddaughter. This letter, though fictionalized immediately puts you in Sarah’s life and you are hooked. You can’t stop reading. The story begins to flow and like water on a river the path takes on a life of its own. Sarah’s mom will be going to trial for witchcraft. Later in the story, Kent cleverly places Sarah inside the jail, since it is her voice that provides our first person point of view. Sarah has dark penetrating eyes and not only can tell a story with them, she sees all and will not lie even to save the person she loves the most. Kent is a wonderful storyteller and descriptive details, through Sarah’s eyes make the jail scenes come alive.
Kathleen Kent has a natural storytelling instinct and knows how to keep you engaged at every page turn. Martha is not your typical Puritan country wife, a helpless silent, supplicant. For those looking to read about a strong female this would be an excellent choice. History buffs will like reading about a familiar yet fresh story of Salem’s madness in the late 17th century. Heretic’s Daughter is a little bit history with a story of great courage and haunting hysteria. Highly recommended.