Tuesday, 29 March 2011
The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent
The Heretics Daughter is told from the point of view of Sarah Carrier, a young girl who's mother was accused and tried for witchcraft during the Salem witch trials. Sarah was arrested along with her brothers and imprisoned in an attempt to force her mother to confess to her crimes.
I have to admit that I wasn't expecting much from this novel, I thought it would just read like a standard best-seller and I only brought it because the subject matter interested me but I ended up really enjoying it. The book is well researched and the beliefs of the Puritan community are presented in a way that makes it believable to a modern reader, I would recommend this to any fan of historical fiction.
The first half of the book follows Sarah and her family as they struggle as best they can on their farm in Massachusetts. The life portrayed is a hard one as the threats of small pox and Native American attack are a real day to day fear and when mixed with the isolation and religious belief of these communities it is not hard to see how quickly suspicion and paranoia can spread. Although the witch trials do not start until halfway through the book, the first half covers the characters relationships, how the community works and creates a good atmosphere of foreboding and dread. making a good base for when the trials finally start.
The prison scenes were particularly well done as other characters who were also arrested are introduced here and are either eventually released or condemned to hang. There is lot of hardship throughout with virtually no humour but the characters are very well drawn and I got a strong sense of the time period.
A good story and one I enjoyed reading.
Posted by Jess