December 11, 2008

The Heretics Daughter

Well, fellow readers, I have done something I have not been able to do for a long while.

I finished reading a book.

From cover to cover.

And boy did I pick a good one to start with.

I found this book on Amazon while purchasing a couple of other books to read. The cover looked interesting, as did the title, so I read the synopsis and quickly added it to my shopping cart.

In The Heretic's Daughter, Kathleen Kent, breathes new life into the Salem Witch Trials though the eyes of 10 year old Sarah Carrier, daughter of Martha Carrier, one of the first women to be accused and hanged during the trials. Kathleen Kent just so happens to be a 10th-generation descendant of Martha Carrier. Everything written in the book has come from extensive historical research about her family.

From the author's website:

Martha Carrier was one of the first women to be accused, tried and hanged as a witch in Salem, Massachusetts. Like her mother, young Sarah Carrier is bright and willful, openly challenging the small, brutal world in which they live. Often at odds with one another, mother and daughter are forced to stand together against the escalating hysteria of the trials and the superstitious tyranny that led to the torture and imprisonment of more than 200 people accused of witchcraft. This is the story of Martha's courageous defiance and ultimate death, as told by the daughter who survived.

This is by far one of the top 5 books I have read this year. I could hardly put it down. The haunting novel begins in 1692 with the Carrier family being shunned from their home in Billerica and moving to the family homestead in Andover, Massachusetts. Trouble starts for the family when a smallpox outbreak kills 13 townspeople. As newcomers to Andover, they are accused of spreading the disease and told by the religious leaders of the town to leave. They defy the orders and stay.

After a property dispute with her brother-in-law over her mother's property, and arguments with neighbors, Martha Carrier is an easy target for the witch hunters. She was a strong-willed woman living in a Puritan community.

I won't say any more for fear of ruining the book!

Family loyalty is a central theme in this book, especially in exploring the relationship between Martha and Sarah Carrier.

Please do yourself a favor and read this book!

Here are a couple of more links containing historical facts about Martha Carrier if you are interested:

Trial of Martha Carrier

Map of Andover in 1692 (look for the Carrier homestead in the lower left corner, #95)


  1. This is the second rave about this book I've read today! It's definitely going on my list of books to get out from the library next time.

  2. Wow, sounds really good. I've been doing very little reading lately, if you couldn't tell. I think you guys are probably a tad burned out by my Terry Pratchett reviews, although I cannot recommend the guy highly enough as I continue to read his stuff. But I've spent the last three weeks or so piddling through the first 30 pages of Cider House Rules, a book I've already read about 500 times...

  3. This book I would truly like to read and write a review for. My daughter did a research paper on the Salem Witch Trials for College and I helped her do the research. I know she would love this book. She is 22.
    jrs362 (at) hotmail (dot) com

  4. This looks good. In fact, I put it on the list of book suggestions for my parents to buy for my brother's girlfriend. If she gets it, maybe she'll let me borrow it. =)

  5. My mom is reading it now, and she is really enjoying it. It isn't a quick read, especially towards the end.

  6. This sounds so good. I've really been wanting to read it.

  7. I had to stop by today to see if this is where I had first seen this book (and imagine my surprise when I read about the current book giveaway, but I digress).

    This was one the reduced rack of our local bookstore, so I picked it up over the weekend. I can't wait to read it!

  8. I've had this one on my list since.. well, probably two or three months before it came out! I'm really interested in the Salem Witch Trials and just witch trials in general. I've read several books on the subject. One of my favorites was The Ministers Daughter by Julie Hearn and this book looks similar and also, really amazing.


Thanks for joining our discussion of this book!

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