Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent~★★★★1/2

Author: Kathleen Kent
Title: The Heretic's Daughter
Release Date: September 3rd, 2008
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Genre: Historical Fiction

Book Jacket: "In 1752, Sarah Carrier Chapman, confined to her home and weak with infirmity, writes a letter to her granddaughter, revealing the secret she has guarded closely for six decades. It is a haunting account of the horrors that enveloped a New England town called Salem, and compelled Sarah, then just a young girl, to make a decision that would change her life forever.
A little more than a year before the with trials will begin, Sarah and her family arrive in nearby Andover to face a community gripped by superstition and fear. With the increase in Indian raids and the spread of the plague, the Puritans come to believe that heretics in their midst are responsible for their misfortune. Based the accusations of a dozen young girls, neighbor is pitted against neighbor, friend against friend, and the hysteria escalates, sweeping more than two hundred men, women, and children into prison on charges of witchcraft---Sarah's mother, Martha Carrier, among them. Often at odds with each other, mother and daughter must now stand defiantly together in the face of imprisonment, torture, and even death. Out of love for her children, Martha asks Sarah to commit an act of heresy---a lie that will most surely condemn Martha even as it will save her daughter."

Taryn's Review: What a fantastic book. It was so great to pick up a book that once I started reading, I didn't want to put down!

Kathleen Kent is a beautiful writer. Her words elegantly embrace you and the story she chose to tell was a haunting one. The Salem Witch Trials are known of by many, but few really know or think about the horrors of such proceedings. Kent highlighted the story of her ancestor, Martha Carrier, and her unfair accusation of being a witch along with other accused family members. Martha's daughter, Sarah, was the storyteller for Martha.

I have read a few sources on this event and it was so sad that people were killed because of lies. It really was a horrifying situation and one that leaves you stunned. My only reason for not giving the book 5 stars was because I was on the edge of my seat wanting to know what was in the red book Martha gave to Sarah. I never found out because it was never revealed! That would have wrapped up the story, at least for me, but now I'm left wondering for always! Kent focused a lot of time on Sarah's imprisonment and while it was awful, I wish less of the story had been dedicated to that and a bit more to the life of Sarah and her family after she was released and the aftermath for the Carrier family.

Overall, this is a stunning debut novel by Kathleen Kent and I most definitely look forward to more of her books!


  1. I keep seeing this title but haven't read anything about it til your review. I am adding it to my list ha.

  2. I don't know if you saw my review of this on my blog, but I felt quite different about this book. I wish I'd felt like you did!

  3. kenpen, I think it's awesome though for readers to get a sense of both reviews. Imagine how dull the world we be if we all enjoyed the same exact things. :)