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The Heretic's Daughter

3.76  ·  Rating Details  ·  26,114 Ratings  ·  3,437 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 2008)
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Susan The beginning is slow - it just recounts the life of a 9 year old girl during that time period. But then it picks up and runs with the story. I am…moreThe beginning is slow - it just recounts the life of a 9 year old girl during that time period. But then it picks up and runs with the story. I am glad I finished it. It was worth the read.(less)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Dec 07, 2008 Jackie rated it liked it
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
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
"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
Nov 22, 2008 Beth rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 26, 2008 Tricia rated it liked it
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
MK Brunskill-Cowen
Jul 02, 2008 MK Brunskill-Cowen rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 01, 2008 Carey rated it it was amazing
" 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
Jan 10, 2009 Holli rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 20, 2008 Simi rated it it was ok
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.
Mandy Blair Crider
Nov 27, 2015 Mandy Blair Crider rated it it was ok
Was so excited to read this and I felt so blah at the end. Just didn't do it for me.
Nov 01, 2008 Denine rated it really liked it
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...
May 08, 2011 Carole rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 20, 2015 Melodie rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. The subject of the witch trials in Early New England have long held my interest. The author being a direct descendant of Martha Carrier offered a unique perspective. The story is told through the eyes of Martha's daughter Sarah as a woman in her seventies.
Writing to her grand-daughter, she tells her story in retrospect.Her story covers a relative short period of time. The whispered suspicions fanned into a wildfire by young girls, the torture and deaths of innocent m
Mo Hammer!
Nov 17, 2011 Mo Hammer! rated it liked it
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
Oct 25, 2014 KristenR rated it it was amazing
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.
Mar 06, 2016 Angie rated it really liked it
This a wonderful historical fiction set around the time of the Salem witch trials. It made a great companion to a non-fiction about this subject, The Witches: Salem, 1692, I've also been reading.

Sarah Carrier is daughter to accused witch Martha Carrier. History tells us what happened to them, but in this story we see them as real people and get to know them before, during, & after the hysteria hits. Martha's personality depicts her as someone who would be targeted, and yet someone who loves
Jun 16, 2008 Brandi rated it liked it
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.
Dec 02, 2008 Sara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 04, 2011 Hannah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 20, 2013 Aryn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, fiction, historical
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.

Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
Feb 06, 2011 Shelby *trains flying monkeys* rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2011
This book swept me up in the world that Sarah lived in. I just can't imagine. A group of young girls have the power to have people killed. The thing is I know unfortunately how bitter women can be.
May 09, 2015 C.W. rated it it was amazing
Having heard about but not knowing much about the Salem Witch trials, I was mesmerized by Kathleen Kent's personalized account in THE HERETIC'S DAUGHTER, as seen through the eyes of a family member of whom Ms Kent herself is a direct descendant.

Sarah is the daughter of Martha Carrier and an enigmatic father with a mysterious past, her life in rural Andover, near Salem, depicted with unflinching realism and gorgeous prose. These are people who live on the edge of nature's whim, suffering brutal w
Aug 04, 2009 Barb rated it it was ok
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
Jun 16, 2008 Alexandra rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 19, 2014 Mary rated it it was amazing
I love historical fiction, and especially when about the Witch Trials of the 1690's. This was an absolutely wonderful book about the burning times. Told by young Sarah Carrier, this book traces her life and how her family is affected and torn apart by the witchcraft hysteria in her small Massachusetts town. I absolutely loved it.
Sep 23, 2009 Melanie rated it really liked it
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
Jul 04, 2010 Kathryn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, 2010
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.
Nancy Ellis
Jan 10, 2016 Nancy Ellis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read this for book club....I read it a few years ago and enjoyed it, but as so often happens to me it seems, I enjoyed it much more the second time around. It's heart-wrenching and sad, unavoidable considering the subject matter, but a beautiful story of love, family, and relationships which no amount of evil or treachery can destroy, as well as the ability to forgive and overcome. It's also sad to realize history so often repeats itself, with people being caught up in mass hysteria and unreason ...more
Jul 27, 2014 Elaine rated it liked it
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
Apr 19, 2009 Lisa rated it really liked it
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
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Around the Year i...: The Heretic's Daughter, by Kathleen Kent 1 6 May 23, 2016 04:37PM  
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Books Without Bor...: * The Heretic's Daughter - discussion breakdown 8 27 Sep 30, 2012 04:51PM  
  • Daughters of the Witching Hill
  • Bound
  • Susannah Morrow
  • Lady of the Butterflies
  • The Sacrifice
  • The Witch's Trinity
  • The Winthrop Woman
  • Deliverance from Evil
  • Corrag
  • Sacred Hearts
  • The Last Witchfinder
  • Beyond the Burning Time
  • The Last Queen
  • To Be Queen: A Novel of the Early Life of Eleanor of Aquitaine
  • Blindspot
  • The Wet Nurse's Tale
  • The Heretic Queen
  • Stealing Athena
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...

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“Life is not what you have or what you can keep. It is what you can bear to lose.” 32 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” 26 likes
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