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The Heretic's Daughter

Average Rating 4
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(35)

2 Star

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(17)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

15 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

Courage

When studying the various phenomena of the Salem Witch Trials, it is close to impossible for today's reader to imagine the terror and the suffering experienced by the accused, including those who were not found guilty. In The Heretic's Daughter, author Kathleen Kent has...
When studying the various phenomena of the Salem Witch Trials, it is close to impossible for today's reader to imagine the terror and the suffering experienced by the accused, including those who were not found guilty. In The Heretic's Daughter, author Kathleen Kent has done a powerful,creditable job of approximating just that. The daughter of the title is arrested after her mother, Martha Carrier, one of the "witches" condemned to death and hanged. As she tells of her involvement, Sarah recounts the horrors of the summer and fall of 1692, and its slow but relentless progression from suspicion to execution, from incredulity to helplessness. Her narrative is a simple one, but so affecting that the reader is drawn into the insanity together with Sarah and her family, who were all but destroyed by the madness. The physical and emotional underpinnings of the mass delusion are seamlessly woven into the story, which seems as real as if it happened only a few years ago. The Heretic's Daughter is a stellar work of historical fiction, by far the best novelization of this topic that I've encountered.

posted by katknit on December 21, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Glad it's over

One of the most boring books I have ever read. It drags on forever and never gives you anything new. Pass on this one!

posted by Qui0330 on May 29, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2009

    I couldn't put this book down. The details and story line were so graphic and vivid that the story just flowed. This book stays with you after you finish reading it.

    I more than enjoyed reading this and would recommend it to anyone who is looking to read something outside of the box.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2008

    A must read if you are from the area!

    I wanted to read this book due to the fact I grew up in the Salem/Beverly, Massachusetts area. I have always heard the stories of the Salem Witch trials. And have been to many of the surrounding areas. The mentioning of Gallows Hill was amazing to me since I know exactly where that is in Salem. The book was very descriptive & brought the history that has been around me to life. Definitely a must read for anyone who has ever lived in that area of Massachusetts.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 16, 2014

    Intricately woven story told from the vantage point of a young g

    Intricately woven story told from the vantage point of a young girl living in Andover, several miles outside Salem. I appreciate that although the climax of the novel was the Salem Witch Trials, ample context is given before the witch hunts begin. These struggling communities were dealing with smallpox, Indian raids, family feuds, devastating fires, etc., all of which contributed to a pervasive fear honed by hardships. The author is a master wordsmith. Stunning imagery evokes not just a vivid sense of setting, but a grippingly intense window into the characters' emotional lives. I read it twice, back to back, just to fully appreciate the rich prose.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2014

    An interesting perspective on the Salem Witch Trials.

    An interesting perspective on the Salem Witch Trials.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2013

    Difficult read

    Had a gard time sticking with it. Confusing ending.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2013

    Highly recommend

    Amazing story. Great characters and well written.

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  • Posted October 18, 2013

    Thought provoking ...

    What part of the text was actual history and what part of the text was fiction ... WOW! very powerful!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2013

    Loved this book!!!!

    One of my favorite books of all time. Highly recommend it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2013

    Good book

    Very interesting

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2013

    Visually Stunning Narrative

    The descriptive sentences and relatively few dialoge scenes help to make this a novel that will change how you look at books. Kent has masterfully weaved the still popular and intriguing history of the Salem witch trials with the daily struggle of understanding between Mother and Daughter. A fantastic story. All the more so because it is true.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2013

    This book gave me the shivers. It reminded me of the cruelty o

    This book gave me the shivers. It reminded me of the cruelty of people who become enthralled in the "righteousness" of their so - called beliefs, mostly religious, but also political bigots.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2013

    New favorite!!!

    An epic story of a family's ordeal when the mother is accused of being a witch and thus imprisoned awaiting trial. A wonderfully told story. Keep tissues nearby!

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  • Posted January 25, 2013

    I never give a 5 star. but this one is it!!! Fabulous, Engaging

    I never give a 5 star. but this one is it!!! Fabulous, Engaging, Complex, Well written, just to start. I felt a real understanding of life in New England during that period. You know how it will end but, just wait for how you get there. The characters were very real people and well written, complex. As for historical accuracies- Anyone who has learned anything about the witch trials past grammer school should already know why it was allowed to happen & what caused the hysteria to go on. With Sarah as our guide, looking through the eyes and understanding of a girl, you can see the pieces falling into place as she learns and grows. The jail scenes were at times harrowing but felt very authentic. I have been to those cells in modern Salem and when I go again, I will go thinking of Sarah and Martha, and the real human horror of what happened. Oh, and Thomas' secret.... I look forward to the pre-quel for the details of that, but you will get an answer before this book is done. I will be highly recommending this one.

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  • Posted November 30, 2012

    A disappointment

    I enjoyed the details of daily life during this time period and I could go along with the point of view of the under 6 year old (at the beginning). It was achingly clear how difficult it was for a family to sustain itself and how perilous life in these times. What disappointed me was the build up of tension regarding the accusations of witchcraft and the strategy to avoid being sentenced to death without any details as to how the process was resolved. We hear that the only way to save oneself was to confess to witchcraft, but it appears that many who "confessed" and named names were put to death. Likewise, I found the mystery surrounding the father to be either anticlimactic or unclear.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2012

    The historical aspects were interesting, but I found this book t

    The historical aspects were interesting, but I found this book to be rather tedious and repetitive in spots. Not a particularly memorable read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2012

    Anonymous

    I loved this book!!! I found myself having a huge emotional connection to the story and its characters. I am a huge fan of historical fiction and found that this book gave me a new interest in the history of the Salem witch trials. It had made me go much further then just the book and research what had occured on my own. I thought it was very well written and would definitely read anything by Kathleen Kent again.

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  • Posted June 28, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    This is the story of Martha Carrier and her family, and how Mart

    This is the story of Martha Carrier and her family, and how Martha was charged with witchcraft and hung in 1692 in Salem, Massachusetts for refusing to admit she was a witch. The story is told through the eyes of Martha's ten-year old daughter Sarah.

    We've all heard about the Salem witch trials, but often what we hear is so whitewashed we forget the seriousness of what happened. Though fictionalized, this account of the trials and the events leading to the arrests was taken from historical documents and stories the author, a descendent of Martha Carrier, heard from her mother and grandmother. Even though you may be uncomfortable reading it, all Americans should read it so that we don't forget what happened.

    The hardships of the time, independent of the charges of witchcraft, were eye-opening and made me thankful for growing up in a time of comfort and leisure. At the time, even the youngest children were expected to pull their load in the field as well as in household duties. The parents had more children to provide more workers, and because so many died because of disease.

    The squalor of the prison where the Carriers were kept was unbelievable. Martha, her three sons and one of her daughters ended up in prison, leaving her husband Tom to care for the younger daughter and the farm. He also had to provide food and clothing for his wife and children in prison. Prisoners had to pay for the manacles they were forced to wear. The crowded conditions made the filth worse.

    As a Christian, I found it difficult to read about how the Puritans crucified the men and women accused of being witches in the name of the church. Prominent ministers added credence to the allegations. What was ironic about it was that the reason the Puritans came to the United States was to escape intolerance. The witch hunts didn't last long, but twenty people were put to death because of the mass hysteria and misunderstands of the time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2012

    Such a delight. Informative and saturating. Didn't want the st

    Such a delight. Informative and saturating. Didn't want the story to end. Thank you for writing and informing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2012

    LOVED THIS BOOK!

    If you're a fan of historical fiction, this is definitely a great read for you. I have always been fascinated with the Salem Witch Trials, so having a story that successfully sucks you into the time and place was a dream come true. In history classes you're always standing on the outside looking at the events that occurred rather than truly understanding what it would have been like to have been there. The trials were such a devastating part of our nation's history and this novel helps commemorate the memory of people that should never be forgotten.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2012

    Dry and depressing

    I look forward to a historical story with likable characters. This was a dull miserable story with flat characters.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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Sort by: Showing 21 – 40 of 228 Customer Reviews
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