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The Heretic's Daughter: A Novel | [Kathleen Kent]

The Heretic's Daughter: A Novel

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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 10th generation descendent of Martha Carrier. She is also a natural-born storyteller, and in her first novel, 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

©2008 Kathleen Kent; (P)2008 Hachette Audio

What Members Say

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3.9 (312 )
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  •  
    Darice Harrisburg, PA, USA 02-11-10
    Darice Harrisburg, PA, USA 02-11-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "What is Love?"

    Both the book & the narrator were near perfection. The book tells the story of Sarah Carrier, whose Mother, Martha, is executed as a witch during the Salem Witch trials. It examines the themes of mother/daughter relationships, family, community, survival & religion. Over & over again it examines its central question, what is love? Is love hard or soft, does love give freedom or restrain it? The questions & themes resonate long after the book is finished. The narrator does a beautiful job with the material, reading with subtlety & depth, covering a broad range of characters & accents. I highly recommend this book. If you are anything like me, be prepared; I cried through much of it.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joseph Austin, TX, United States 05-18-09
    Joseph Austin, TX, United States 05-18-09 Member Since 2007
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    "Good, but slow and mechanical."

    It took me a long time to finish this book because I just didn't engage with it. The writing is fine, the historical research and the imagining of the story are excellent. The main character is likable, though many of the relationships and many of the characters seem too simple to be really convincing. As historical fiction, the story makes you feel as though you are in the place and time and mindset of the era of the Salem witch trials. Most importantly, it will make you feel the horror and the atrocity of what was done, and the futile frustration of the victims. It's worth the investment for that.

    It's not much more complex. You don't understand why the bad guys did what they did, aside from the petty jealousies and fears on the surface. It's not quite an epic, either--you don't feel much of the world outside, though at times the writer tries.

    And the story becomes mechanical at points, as the author seems determined to lay out the historical details whether they add to the story or not, or to include all of her research into living conditions and setting. Given that you know pretty much what the ending will be, there's not a lot to pull you through the story at times.

    It's an informative and interesting historical novel, and if you are interested in the era, or just in the horrible atrocities of man, it's worth the listen, despite some of its weaknesses. Mare Winningham does a good job of capturing the resigned, earthy tones of the narrator, too.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Suzy Miller Arlington, TX, US 11-09-09
    Suzy Miller Arlington, TX, US 11-09-09 Member Since 2004
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    "Should be required reading"

    Based so strongly on research from the court documents and writings of the time, this novel really brings the horror of the time and place to life. I found it far more compelling than The Crucible in the illustration of fear, ignorance and hate. Narrated from the point of view of a young girl, this portrait is likely to resonate more with women but in a day when peer pressure among teens runs amok, it should be required reading.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cariola Chambersburg, PA USA 01-02-12
    Cariola Chambersburg, PA USA 01-02-12 Member Since 2005

    malfi

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Engaging Portrait of Old Salem"

    I really enjoyed this novel--highly recommend it. The narrator, 11-year old Sarah Carrier, lives in Andover, MA at the time of the witch hunts in nearby Salem. The novel is based on a true story: Sarah's mother Martha was hanged for witchcraft, and she and her three brothers were also charged. The novel not only presents the facts and a wonderful portrait of the struggles of everyday life at the time but also creates a moving portrait of a daughter coming to understand her parents and the true nature of their love for their children. I listened to the book on audio, read by Mare Winningham; very nicely done indeed.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carolyn Centreville, AL, United States 10-19-10
    Carolyn Centreville, AL, United States 10-19-10
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    "Endearing"

    A very good book. I loved the plot, the descriptive narrative. I felt as if I knew these people and even cried at some parts. I would recommend this book to anyone, especially who has an interest in Salem. it touched the horrors of the witch trials without being too graphic. Loved it!

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jan Sunset, UT, United States 04-23-09
    Jan Sunset, UT, United States 04-23-09
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    "The Heretic's Daughter"

    From the minuet I turned on my Zen to listen to; The Heretic's Daughter; I was captured. I enjoy reading Historical Fiction and this is to be one of the best. I went on the internet to find other book by Kathleen Kent only to find that this is her first book. I sure hope that she continues to write. I am looking forward to reading her next book. Mare Winningham was an excellent narrator and brought the story to life. I would highly recommend it to everyone.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D. Knight Nashville, TN USA 06-15-12
    D. Knight Nashville, TN USA 06-15-12 Member Since 2011

    romans55

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Puritan Reality"
    What did you love best about The Heretic's Daughter?

    This book was like going back in time; very vivid recalling of an era that is so interesting to me. Family love is found and lost, then found again...all in the middle of such injustice. Families are torn apart by fear and ignorance. Required reading? YES!
    It is not a "light read" but excellent nonetheless.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Loretta Cameron Woodstock, GA United States 05-14-10
    Loretta Cameron Woodstock, GA United States 05-14-10 Listener Since 2009
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    "Native of Danvers (Old Salem)"

    Historical fictions is one of my new favorites. It was delightful to read about familiar places I have been and most importantly learning more about an historical event which happened in my home town and never really took the time to learn or investigate the truths of the debacle. The atrocities which happened to the lives and families of the people accused of witchery in Old Salem is truely astounding

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    mary j aboughadareh 11-02-08
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    "Interesting"

    I never really knew much about the Salem witch trials and found this very informative. It was interesting because it was told from the experience of a family that went through it. It was a very bizarre happening and when you realize how many lives were affected it's pretty sad, too.
    It was good.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Delah 09-02-14
    Delah 09-02-14 Member Since 2011

    Which came first... the books or the glasses?

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    "Very very dry - do not recommend"

    I listened to about half of this book before I put myself out of my misery (the book is about 10 hrs and I listened to 5 1/2). The book is suppose to be about a girl's mother who was accused of being a witch in the 1600's when people were spooked about that sort of thing however 5 1/2 hrs into the book the author had not got around to what was suppose to be the main plot line. The plot was being narrated by the daughter, Sarah, and she was talking about mundane things like doing the washing, helping with the plowing, finding the neighbors cows in the yard and returning them, etc. Sometimes she would talk about something interesting like someone catching yellow fever and there was the suspense of whether that person lived but those type of moments were few and far between. As I said, over half way into the book and no mention of witches. I don't like it when an author saves their real story for the last maybe 50 or 25 pages of a book and uses filler for the rest just to make a bigger book or because they really don't have a full story to tell; that's wasting my time not to mention boring me senseless. I do not recommend this book.

    On a good note, Mare Winningham is a good narrator. She is the reason I listened as long as I did.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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