Thursday, February 4, 2010

Book Review: The Heretic's Daughter

The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent

Disclosure: No one paid me in any way, form or fashion to do this review.

The Heretic's Daughter is a historical fiction novel centered around Martha Carrier, one of the women accused and hanged for witchcraft in Salem in 1692, and her family, told from the perspective of her daughter Sarah. Deeper, it's about the relationship between mother and daughter, a coming of age story resulting in deeper understanding, compassion and respect.

But this story is more than just history, it's family legend. Martha Carrier is grandmother nine generations back to author Kathleen Kent. Stories of Thomas and Martha Carrier have been passed down in her family through the years.

Martha was one of the few women who refused to plead guilty to being a witch. She even went so far as to call out the judges and shame them for believing a group of hysterical teenage girls. She was courageous sticking by her convictions during a time when women didn't stand up for anything. She was outspoken, brash, independent... a ferocious woman who got into multiple disputes with her neighbors. And in the eyes of 17th century New England that equaled witch.

The descriptions were incredible. The emotion so real I cried when they lead Martha out of the jail to be executed. I highly recommend it. Especially if you are - or ever have been - even remotely interested or curious about the Salem witch trials.

My book club had the enormous honor and pleasure to have Kathleen Kent at our discussion of her book (she lives in the area). (P.S. I don't include anyone else's opinion in these book reviews but my own. Yes I wait until after my club's discussion before I post it. Most often because I get a deeper impression of the book - good or bad - during the meeting.) There's something about being able to talk to author about the parts that spoke to you. That you loved. That moved you. For this bibliophile, it is truly a great treat to be able to share those thoughts with the person who created the story.


tracey said...

Thanks for the review - sounds like a powerful book - I'll be looking for it on Amazon or at my library.

Elisa @ Globetrotting in Heels said...

I love historical novels, especially when they center about strong women. This sounds like just the kind of book I would love! Thank you so much for recommending it, I will add it to my wishlist on Amazon!