Kathryn's Reviews > The Heretic's Daughter

The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent
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's review
Oct 14, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: 2010, third-tuesday-book-club
Read from October 14 to 17, 2010

This is the book that my Third Tuesday Book Club will be discussing on Tuesday night; unfortunately, it is a meeting that I will not be able to attend, because I leave for my annual trip to see my sister in Kentucky on that day. I was able to finish reading this book today, and can send an E-mail to our Book Club Moderator containing this book review (along with thoughts on the book that I cannot put in a book review) tonight. But I can say that this book, based on the Salem Witchcraft Trials in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692 – 1693, brought me to tears, and to a humbling realization of the power of standing strong for a position that one believes in heart and soul. (And for those who do not wish to read further, read this book, please!)

The main character in this book is Sarah Carrier, who as the book opens in December of 1690, has just moved from Billerica to Andover (both villages in the greater Salem Town area) with her father, mother, three older brothers, and her baby sister to live at her grandmother’s farm; Sarah herself is nine years old. Almost immediately, Sarah and her baby sister are sent back to Billerica to live with her aunt’s family for several months, due to smallpox breaking out in Andover; during that time, she becomes close to her cousin Margaret.

Upon returning home, Sarah helps her family with the farming; and it soon becomes apparent that her parents, especially her mother, are at odds with the Puritan theocracy that effectively rules all areas of life in the Colony. With the very real danger of attack on farms by Indians, and a hyper-sensitivity to the belief that when bad things happen, it is because of evil in their midst, the Colony is primed for accusations of witchcraft, based on the dramatic continuing testimony of a handful of young girls. Among those accused are those who, for whatever reason, are unpopular with their neighbors.

As the accusations come closer and closer to Sarah and her family, she discovers that her parents, whom she had thought to be unsympathetic taskmasters, are people of very strong principle, who are willing to face whatever must be faced to uphold what they believe. And Sarah learns that she is, indeed, her mother’s daughter.

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