Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent

I just finished The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent yesterday for my Kewaunee September book club read. It was a great fall read as it had a unique perspective of the Salem Witch Trials.

Sarah Carrier has an unhappy home life. At the beginning of the novel, Sarah and her sister Hannah are uprooted and sent to live with her estranged Aunt and Uncle to avoid contracting small pox from her brother. She grows to love her Uncle's family, especially her cousin Margaret. She is sent home to her distant mother and father and feels very displaced. She has troubles bonding with her fractious mother, Martha. The family has troubles with their neighbors and Martha and most of the children are eventually imprisoned in Salem as accused witches. Martha is hanged for her crime as she refuses to bow down to pressure and declare herself a witch although she told her children to do so to save themselves.

The novel is a great tale of the complicated relationships between mothers and daughters as well as a great social commentary on the evils of the Salem witch trials. It was a unique perspective seeing it all through the eyes of an accused child. It was very interesting as the characters in the novel are all based on real historical people. The author is a descendant of Martha Carrier.

This was a very good historical fiction novel and I highly recommend it.

1 comment:

  1. I just finished this one! Wow! Like the Holocaust, it is unfathomable how something like that could happen. I remember watching my sister in The Crucible when I was in sixth grade. I think she played Mary Warren. Anyway, the hysterics of the girls really left an impression on me. During the courtroom scenes, I kept thinking of The Crucible. I also have vague memories of visiting Salem village around that same time. So while I was reading I was trying to pull from my memory my impressions of those experiences as well. I agree that it was interesting to read the story from a child's eye view. In a few years when my boys are older, I think we'll have to make a trip to Salem.

    Thanks again for this book! I really enjoyed it.