In 1752, Sarah carrier Chapman, weak with infirmity, writes a letter to her granddaughter, revealing the secret she has closely guarded for six decades. . .
Her story begins more than a year before the Salem witch trials, when nine-year-old Sarah and her family arrive in a New England community already gripped by superstition and fear. As they witness neighbor pitted against neighbor, friend against friend, hysteria escalates - unitl more than two hundred men, women, and children have been swept into prison. Among them is Sarah's mother, Martha Carrier.
In an attempt to protect her children, Martha asks Sarah to commit an act of heresy - a lie that will most surely condemn Martha even as it saves her daughter.
The Heretic's Daughter draws you in to the world of colonial Massachusetts and makes that time come alive.
We learn of the events through the eyes of nine-year-old Sarah Carrier, sixty years after everything has happened. Sarah shares her thoughts and impressions without reservation, drawing our sympathy and curiosity as she describes the closeness that she feels towards her relatives in Billerica when she and her younger sister Hannah are fostered during their family's quarantine. Even as we are aware of Sarah's resentment towards her headstrong and independent mother, we come to respect Martha for her integrity and strength of spirit. Sarah's observations of her father Thomas Carrier and how he commands fear and respect even during the most dangerous times add to the mystery and power of the novel.
Without giving away much of the plot, The Heretic's Daughter takes us to the Salem Witch Trials - the meanness, superstition and hysteria that marked its beginning and the squalor and cruelty in the prisons. Through The Heretic's Daughter, Kathleen Kent shares the stories of her ancestors Martha, Thomas, and Sarah Carrier and their strength and integrity during one of the worst times in American history.
Publisher: Back Bay Books; Reprint edition (October 12, 2009) 368 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.
If you'd like to win a copy for yourself, join the contest for The Heretic's Daughter until 11/15.
Thanks so much to Valerie and Hatchette Book Group for the review opportunity!