Book Review: The Heretic’s Daughter by Kathleen Kent
The Heretic’s Daughter tells the story of Sarah Carrier the daughter one of the first women to be charged, tried and hung for practicing witchcraft in Salem 1692. In the first half of the novel Kent helps to set the stage for the social context that would allow for the witch trials to occur. She describes the Church’s role as a governing body to be feared and obeyed, as well as the great fear that New Englanders had about Native American raids, smallpox and witchcraft. Her painstaking attention to detail may have made some feel as though the beginning of the book dragged but it is what drew me in. Kent transported you to the time and it was hard to not feel as though you were living in the fear and fervor of17th century New England. In the second half of the novel Kent describes the witch trials. The circumstances behind arrests, what happened in the makeshift court room and what happened to the prisoners after they were tried and convicted.
Most of the books about the Salem Witch Trials that I have read basically gave a broad overview, or survey, of the trials. One thing that I really enjoyed about the Heretic’s Daughter is that it really gave an in depth view of what the Carrier family went through as they were charged and tried as witches. From the fear of knowing that they would be arrested, the ridiculous nature of their ‘trials’, the way their confessions were coerced to the conditions of the prison cells in Salem, Kent truly painted a picture of how horrific the trials were. I always appreciate a story with detailed character development and this book lived up to my expectations every step of the way.
I give it 4 *'s out of 5