20 July 2008

28. The Heretic's Daughter

If you love reading historical fiction and have an interest in the Salem Witch Trials, you will likely enjoy The Heretic’s Daughter by Kathleen Kent. This is the author’s first novel and will be released September 3, 2008 by Hachette Book Group.

What makes this book even more enticing to read is that the author is a tenth-generation descendant of Martha Carrier, who is at the center of her novel.

The story begins in the cold Massachusetts winter of 1690 with Martha and Thomas Carrier, as well as their children, moving to Andover to live with their parents. Their economic situation forced them to leave their home. The story is told from the perspective of young Sarah who only sees her grandmother for a brief time before she is sent away to protect her from smallpox. Sarah lives with her aunt and uncle and cousin where she finds the lightheartedness and joy that seems to be missing with her own family. When forced to return to her own home, Sarah’s disgruntlement with her mother grows and the two struggle for some way to connect. Both Martha and Sarah are somewhat stubborn and willful. Between the troubles in the village, troubles with relatives, and the witch trials which were beginning in Salem, the family struggles. When Martha Carrier is accused of being a witch, the family learns the power of their love.

The best part of the book starts when the actual trial begins. The amount of available research for this half of the book lends an authenticity to the story, which seems bogged down with heavy metaphors and over-detailed snippets in the first half of the book. Even so, the telling of the family story prior to the witch hunts may be necessary to understand the final chapters. Perhaps more succinct descriptions without as many metaphors would serve to strengthen the first few chapters.

Many of the details found in the story are confirmed at a number of websites, including this one. Or from this biography. It was the adherence to this historical occurrence that made the book a good read. After I got to the trial, I could not put the book down, equally sad and horrified. Because of these emotions, I would encourage interested readers to give this book a chance. I am grateful to Hachette Book Group for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this interesting and entertaining book by new author Kathleen Kent.

TITLE: The Heretic's Daughter
AUTHOR: Kathleen Kent
COPYRIGHT: ARC copy, to be published in September 2008
PAGES: 332
TYPE: Historical fiction
RECOMMEND: After the first half, I really enjoyed this book. The strength of the writing improved as the content moved to the trials.


1 comment:

Marie said...

I'm looking forward to reading this one too. Thanks for the great review. :-)