The Heretic's Daughter
By Kathleen Kent
(Back Bay Books, Paperback, 9780316024495, 368pp.)
Publication Date: October 2009
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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 superstitious tyranny that led to the torture and imprisonment of more than 200 people accused of witchcraft. This is the story of Martha's courageous defiance and ultimate death, as told by the daughter who survived.
Kathleen Kent is a tenth generation descendent of Martha Carrier. 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.
Kathleen Kent lives in Dallas with her husband and son. THE HERETIC'S DAUGHTER is her first novel.
"The Heretic's Daughter is raw, honest and completely captivating..."—Anita Shreve
"An illuminating literary debut."—Michele Leber, Booklist (starred review)
Highly recommended.—Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal (starred review)
"A powerful coming-of-age tale in which tragedy is trumped by an unsinkable faith in human nature."—Chelsea Cain, New York Times Book Review
"Kent's moving story comes straight from her heart as well as the historical record...Kent tells a heart-wrenching story of family love and sacrifice."—Carol Memmot, USA Today
".... an eminently readable novel, and a tribute to a woman who held steadfastly to the courage of her convictions."—Christian Science Monitor
"Ms. Kent brings a gentle decency to her portrait of this nasty episode in American life."—Joy Tipping, Dallas Morning News
"An authentically moving story that is as much about a mother and a daughter as the terror of the times."—NY Daily News
"Gripping and evocative, THE HERETIC'S DAUGHTER is a powerful tale of a perilous time."—People
"THE HERETIC'S DAUGHTER is haunting; unlike in seventeenth-century Salem, there is real magic at work here."—Texas Monthly
"A family's conflict becomes a battle for life or death in this gripping and original first novel...Sarah's front row view of the trials and the mayhem that sweeps the close-knit community provides a fresh, bracing and unconventional take on a much covered episode."—San Francisco Examiner
"[a] close look at family and village life, at the hearth and the harshness out of which the accusations of witchcraft grew... The misery behind bars reflects Kent's rich imagination. She also shows the fruits of historical research in details that let you glimpse the past as it was lived, in the barn or field, at the inn or church. To this she adds descriptive gifts.... It goes on like that, wonderfully. I hope Kent does too."—Bloomberg News