The Heretic's Daughter
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The Heretic's Daughter

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3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  21,979 ratings  ·  3,117 reviews
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 superst...more
Hardcover, Large Print, 332 pages
Published September 3rd 2008 by Little, Brown and Company (first published April 1st 2008)
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Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
An outstanding first novel. Kathleen Kent is a direct descendant of Martha Carrier, the novel's heroine who was hanged in 1692 at the height of the Salem witch trials. Kent spent five years researching and writing this novel of her heritage, and the result is exceptional. The prose is solid and smooth, and the portrayal of late-17th century New England is rich with fascinating details of life in that era.

The story is told through the eyes of Martha's daughter Sarah Carrier, who is aged ten at th...more
Jackie
Dec 07, 2008 Jackie rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Sending it to Chris
I won this here at GOODREADS!

While it seemed slow in the beginning, boring even, it was just that very thing that made this book very powerful in it's representation of the events surrounding The Salem Witch Trials.
The first half of the book was a day-to-day in the life a 9 year old girl, Sarah Carrier of Andover, giving me a feel for life in 17th Century New England.
When the book gets to the accusations, the fear is palpable. As events spiral out of control, the novel sheds a light in the darkn...more
Tricia
This historically accurate story allows the reader to be immersed into the Carrier family's Puritan life in Massachusetts and the Salem Witch Trials. It is a hauntingly written tale and definitely made me angry, uncomfortable, and just plain sad.

Kathleen Kent is a descendant of Martha Carrier, who was hung for witchcraft in 1692. The story is told from the perspective of Martha's daughter as she looks back on her life and tries to come to terms with her familial relationships and the events tha...more
Susan
"Hyssop for cough. Rosemary for fever. A sprig of mint to cleanse ill humors from the mouth. Slippery elm for the midwife. Horse chestnut for stiffness of limb. Golden bough for palsy. But what is the cure for rage? And what of the tortures of a guilty mind? A seeping wound can be bound. Salve can be dabbed to a burn or a swelling bubo. Poison can be drawn with a leech, or a lance. But guilt is a ghost that takes the shape of the body it inhabits and consumes all that is tender within its shell...more
Beth
When I was manning a booth for the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America at the Mountain and Plains Independent Booksellers Association conference, I picked up an ARC (Advanced Reading Copy) of this book that was published in September. I just finished it and I highly recommend it! The book is beautifully written, powerful, and gives you a clear, emotion-filled picture through the eyes of a girl living in late 1600's Andover, Massachusetts (near Salem), of what life was like b...more
MK Brunskill-Cowen
The Salem Witch trials has always fascinated me, so perhaps I am biased, but I loved ....loved.... loved this book. Sarah Carrier is an interesting narrator since she sees the proceedings as a child might, but with a teen's relationship with her unusual mother. I was amazed by how readily the people of Salem were to believe the tales of witchcraft as the net ever expanded wider and wider. How many women were left untouched in the Salem area?? Is this another allegory for our times - how readily...more
Carey
" A needle is such a small, brittle thing. It is easily broken. It can hold but one fragile thread. But if the needle is sharp, it can pierce the coarsest cloth. Ply the needle in and out of a canvas and with a great length of thread one can make a sail to move a ship across the ocean. In such a way can a sharp gossipy tongue, with the thinnest thread of rumor, stitch together a story to flap in the breeze. Hoist that story upon the pillar of superstitious belief and a whole town can be pulled a...more
Simi
This book spent a lot of time getting to the point, when it finally did I felt "the point" was a good one, but some of the details it focused on were random and not needed; where as there were other details that could have been useful; but were left to the readers imagination.
Holli
I am going to say right off the bat that had this been written from Martha Carrier's perspective I think I would have liked this book more. Instead it was written through her daughter's eyes and because of that you only know what her daughter knows. Which isn't much considering she's under 13 for much of the book and living in the 1600's for God's sake where kids weren't privy to the adult information. This book was for me the life of a young girl on a farm in the 1600's with a bit of "Salem Wit...more
Denine
If you enjoy reading about the Salem Witch trials, this one is for you.

I found it to be a sad book, but a good sad book.

It's just hard to stomach that a handful of teenage girls could ruin so many people...
Aryn
As a modern-day Pagan, with roots in modern Wicca, I was incredibly excited to finally find this title used, for cheap (hey, I was unemployed for a long time). I had been wanting to read it for quite some time, as I have read a fuckload about the Salem Witch Trials, and love to visit the place. To read a fictional account of real people who were part of the fiasco sounded awesome enough. Add to that that Kathleen Kent is directly related to Martha Carrier? Sounded like a gold mine to me.

Unfortun...more
Mo Hammer!
I wept at the injustices perpetuated upon women throughout history. Boo and hiss to insecure men with tiny junk that project their self-loathing onto others, especially women. BOO and HISS I say!

On a deeper level, I appreciated Kent's portrayal of the bond between mothers and daughters. Even when you don't understand your mother or - hell - even like the bitch, there is usually a point when you realize there is little to separate the two of you and no one will ever quite understand the song your...more
KristenR
As a direct descendant of Martha Carrier, when I saw some great reviews of this fictionalized account of her family's ordeal in the witch trials, I felt I simply had to read it.

The author has beautifully woven together family history/legend and the facts of the witch trials. She has created a fascinating account of the politics, religion, and conditions of Puritan Massachusetts during this hysteria that, however horrifying, is very believable.
Brandi
When we got the ARC for this at work I was immediately interested because the author was related to the women she was writing about. This is a fictionalized version of events during the Salem witch trials revolving around Martha Carrier and her daughter Sarah. The first half of the book dragged for me, but the second half made up for it.
Sara
If you can get past the creepy cover art, you may enjoy this retelling of the Salem Witch Trials. The narrator is the young Sarah Carrier who has just moved to Salem, and is forced to contend with the witch terror gripping the town at the time. This harsh coming of age story is told in a time where family squabbles, neighborly disputes, and mild forms of fortune were causes for condemnation.

Using a child to try and make sense of what is happening is heart breaking and genius. The details framin...more
Hannah
This book became an incredible, un-put-downable read after a somewhat slow begnning. Personally, I didn't mind the slow paced beginning, as I felt it set the stage for what would transpire in the final 150 pages, but I do see how readers expecting a fairly instantaneous exposure to the Salem witch trials and hangings might be put off by the steady yet meticulous fashioning of the world of her characters, notably the Carrier family.

Author Kathleen Kent happens to be a descendant of Martha Carrier...more
Alexandra
Jun 16, 2008 Alexandra rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Historical Fiction readers; people who liked Geraldine Brooks' Year of Wonders
If you like colonial American history or have an interest in the history of Salem, MA, this is the book for you. It is told from the perspective of Sarah Carrier, whose mother, Martha, was executed during the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. Sarah herself was also accused and spent several months in jail. The writing is great--very poetic and almost hypnotic--and there is some great imagery about life in New England during that time. Though today scholars have lots of theories about what actually cau...more
Melanie
This book transported me to the 1600's. There were times I struggled to pick it up because the world near Salem, Massachusetts at that time was a dark place---a place where one was not free to believe or practice the religion of one's choice, a place where you were guilty before proven innocent, a place where the only way to survive was to give into the crazed accusations of begrudging neighbors and said possessed girls. Kathleen Kent's debut novel was almost poetic, well-researched, and yes, da...more
Kathryn
Again, a book read that leaves me with a tight chest of emotion for what occurred during the Salem witch trials. What they endured I cannot even imagine. This book was beautifully written, the author's descriptions are so crisp and exact I knew with every word precisely what was being depicted. A very enlightening story told with such compassion and honesty. I would read a book by this author again in a heartbeat.
Lisa
For Sarah Carrier's family life was always hard. As it was for most people living in Andover, Massachusetts in 1690. For nine year-old Sarah, her two older brothers, her baby sister and her parents, hard times seemed to follow them. They fled their home in Billerica to escape smallpox which was spreading rampantly throughout the villages killing entire families. In cover of night, they traveled to Andover to live with Sarah's maternal grandmother with the hopes of starting a new life there. What...more
southpaw285
Sep 16, 2010 southpaw285 rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Historical Fiction readers, with specific interest in the Salem Witch Trials
The time is 1692. The place is Salem, MA.

The story is told by a woman, looking back over the tragic events of her childhood. When Sarah Carrier is quite young, her mother, Martha is arrested and tried for being a witch. Sarah and her three brothers are also arrested, tried and imprisoned. Sarah was eleven years old at the time of her arrest.

She talks about the trials of others. A woman expecting a child is arrested, tried and jailed. A woman and her baby are jailed. She talks of the people bein...more
Corinne

This beautifully told and heartbreaking book is the story of Sarah Carrier, a ten year old girl living near Salem, Massachusetts in 1690. With near poetic prose, we witness a community harassed with Indian raids and smallpox plagues let fear and uncertainty turn into passion and terror. Neighbor turns against neighbor as old resentments and petty arguments lead to dire consequences - and Sarah and her family are sunk in the middle of it. Despite Sarah's previously course and unfriendly relations...more
Carole
Having been shocked and fascinated by the Salem Witch Trials since learning about them in school, I couldn’t wait to read this book. The author is a descendent of Martha Carrier, one of the first women to hang as a witch, despite the fact that she maintained her innocence until the end. Telling the story through a child’s eyes, the daughter of Martha Carrier, was brilliant. Nine year old Sarah learns about the harsh world and unfair accusations and tries to make sense of it all, landing in priso...more
Tamara
Oct 26, 2008 Tamara rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who are interested in the Salem hysteria or to others that enjoy historical fiction.
Since I am a descendant of several victims of the Salem hysteria, although not of the Carrier family line, I was very interested to read this book. I was definately not disappointed. In fact, the author did a terrific job in creating a very likable protagonist named Sarah Carrier. Sarah's mother is wrongly accused of witchcraft and after a time Sarah and her siblings are as well. Sarah can well attest to the extreme injustices that her family endures. It is a shameful time in our history where n...more
Shannon
I have to think about this book in two ways, how it was written and subject matter.

I thought the writer did a good job telling her story. My only critic was that it seemed a bit wordy on the descriptions and she used quite a bit of simile.

I found the subject facinating, having never read about the Salem witch trials before. But with that said, I had a very hard time reading this book and found that I would not pick it up for fear of what I knew was coming.

The book reminds me of how amazing it...more
Elaine
Jul 27, 2014 Elaine rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2014
Able historical fiction about what remains one of the most fascinating and chilling episodes in American history (I've been drawn to tales of the Salem Witch Trials since reading On Blackbird Pond as a little girl - to say nothing of wonderful dramatic readings of The Crucible in 10th Grade, "I saw Goody Osborne with THE DEVIL.").

Kent is good at building up foreboding, at creating the atmosphere of petty slights and economic jealousies that were the kindling of the witch hysteria. Puritan Andov...more
Elise
This is a story that needed to be told in just the way Kathleen Kent told it. "The Heretic's Daughter" is lyrical, detailed, beautiful, ugly, disturbing, and sad historical fiction based on the true story of Martha Carrier who was tried and convicted of witchcraft in Salem, Massachsetts in 1692. The story is told from her daughter Sarah's point of view, which made the tale all the more poignant and moving. Martha Carrier's character at first repels, but once we get to know her better, she become...more
Linda
This is unquestionably the very best novel I've ever read about the Salem witch trials.
Debby
I have always known of the Salem Witch Trials, but never read a book about that part of our history. One word - unbelievable!

The Heretic's Daughter, which is a novel based on the true story of the Carrier family member's experience of false accusation, false evidence, hideous trials, sentencing, imprisonment and judgment in the Salem Witch Trials. The Carrier family story was passed down from generation to generatioin. The book reads like family history because it is; the author is in Martha Car...more
Barb
Not as powerful as I had imagined.

While I think this author shows promise, this novel was not as moving as I expected it to be. I think part of my disappointment in it may be from having previously read Megan Chance's 'Susannah Morrow' which also tells the story of the Salem witch trials. Kathleen Kent's novelization seems somewhat flat and underdeveloped in comparison and I found myself remembering the tension and fear I felt for the characters in 'Susannah Morrow'. I didn't feel the same way a...more
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The Heretic's Daughter 2 59 Dec 01, 2013 01:10PM  
Wonderful book 8 71 Sep 29, 2013 07:00PM  
Books Without Bor...: * The Heretic's Daughter - discussion breakdown 8 22 Sep 30, 2012 04:51PM  
Literazzi: The Heretic's Daughter 9 8 May 11, 2012 06:08PM  
  • Daughters of the Witching Hill
  • The Witch's Trinity
  • Deliverance from Evil
  • The Winthrop Woman
  • The Last Witchfinder
  • Bound
  • Signora Da Vinci
  • The Sacrifice
  • Corrag
  • Susannah Morrow
  • Lady of the Butterflies
  • The Heretic Queen
  • The Heretic's Wife: A Novel
  • The King's Favorite: A Novel of Nell Gwyn and King Charles II
  • A Break with Charity: A Story about the Salem Witch Trials
  • The Book of Fires
  • Mistress of the Revolution
  • The Devil's Queen: A Novel of Catherine de Medici
978703
Kathleen Kent is a tenth-generation descendant of Martha Carrier, one of the 19 men and women hanged in Salem in 1692. She is also a masterful storyteller, and in her first two novels, The Heretic's Daughter and The Traitor's Wife, she paints a haunting portrait, not just of Puritan New England but also of one family's deep and abiding love in the face of fear and persecution. New York Times bests...more
More about Kathleen Kent...
The Wolves of Andover The Outcasts The Traitor's Wife

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“Life is not what you have or what you can keep. It is what you can bear to lose.” 30 likes
“There is no death in remembrance. Remember me, Sarah. Remember me, and a part of me will always be with you." - Martha Carrier to her daughter, Sarah Carrier” 20 likes
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