Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent

Sarah Carrier Chapman tells her story of living through the Salem Witch Trials that took place in 1692. Her mother was Martha Carrier, known as the Queen of Hell". The story is about the trials themselves and the consequences but also about the relationships of families, mothers and daughters, and the ties that bind that are sometimes stretched to breaking.

This is the first book regarding the trials I had ever read and I am still astounded. That a group of girls could put on an act and make grown adults believe that innocent people are witches is amazing to me. These girls and others sent these poor people to their deaths. The jail where they were imprisoned was so horrendous it is hard to comprehend something like that happening in America. I didn't really pay attention when I was in school so I don't know much history of the trials, but the author herself is a descendant of Martha Carrier and she brought these characters to life marvelously. I felt what these characters felt. I felt their dread, their fear. The fact that a public apology was later made is of no consequence. It was too late for the twenty people who were killed over these lies, and their families. Great book, looking forward to the authors next one about Thomas Carrier, Sarah's father and Martha's husband, and his history fighting under Cromwell that was alluded to in The Heretic's Daughter.

4 stars

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