The Heretic's Daughter

The Heretic's Daughter

by: Kathleen Kent

Published: 2008

# of pages: 352

I've been meaning to read this for awhile now, but was a little afraid to after all of the books I've looked forward to and then been disappointed in. There's so many "book club" books that I wait on hold for months to check out at the library and then I read them and wonder why are they so popular? For example, The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane. I knew The Heretic's Daughter was on a similar topic (the Salem Witch Trials), so I was even more nervous.

However! I was NOT disappointed! This book is very well written and tells of the Witch Trials from a unique point of view.

The story follows Sarah Carrier, whose life is changed forever when she is 10 years old and her family flees their home because of a small pox outbreak. She goes to live with her uncle, aunt, and cousins for several months while her family is quarantined. When she returns she discovers that nothing is the same. She no longer accepts her quiet, removed father and her strict mother.
The family lives not far from Salem and continues to make a life for themselves as rumors and a foreshadowing of the Witch Trials reach them. Finally the madness of Salem reaches their small town and Sarah's mother (Martha Carrier) is accused of being a witch. Once again, Sarah's life and her perception of her family is turned upside down.

Like I said, this book is very well written and does a great job of placing readers in this horrible time of American history. I want to say that it's one of my all time favorites, but I can't because it was a little too well written. The Salem Witch Trials horrify me for multiple reasons. Maybe it's because I've visited Salem a couple of times, but I think it's just the fact that "normal" "Christians" could cause so much pain and suffering. I suppose it's similar to the Crusades or other times throughout history when people were murdered just because they weren't religious or were simply different.

I recommend this to adults who enjoy historical fiction, are interested in this period of history, who want to read some great literature, or who enjoy books that are thought provoking. This book may be appropriate for high schoolers, but is a little intense for younger ages.

Other Reviews:

Have you reviewed this? Let me know and I'd be happy to post yours as well.

Bridget Jones's Diary

Bridget Jones's Diary

by: Helen Fielding

Published: 1996

Once again, a book I picked up at a used book sale to read for fun! I'd never seen the movie either, but was curious about the story. It seemed like it would be an easy read and sure enough, it went quickly.

The story is about Bridget Jones, a single woman who decides to journal her life for a year. She makes up several New Years' resolutions and keeps track of her "progress" in the journal. She wants to drink less, quit smoking, lose weight, and start a serious relationship with a good guy to name a few of the resolutions.

The reader is immediately pulled into the story because of the humorous point of view. Bridget is an independent woman, but also has a need to please people and a hard time saying "no." That puts her in countless awkward situations, but also makes her an endearing character. The book is funny, but there's also a serious undertone. Bridget's life is shaken by family problems as well as personal problems. She very much wants certain things and it's hard for her when they always seem out of reach.

I think it's safe to say that this is based off of the novel Pride and Prejudice (including a character named Mr. Darcy!). I liked this modern twist and recommend it to adults who want an easy read, something funny and (for the most part) lighthearted, fans of chick lit, and those who enjoyed the movie. Which, by the way, is almost as good as the book.

Have you reviewed this? Let me know and I'd be happy to post yours as well.

Peony in Love

Peony in Love

by: Lisa See

Published: 2008

# of pages: 297

I read Snow Flower and the Secret Fan many years ago and remember enjoying it. I was eager to read Peony in Love after finding it at a used book sale. The first part of this novel is s.l.o.w. Once I was past the first section (which is, unfortunately, quite long) it really picked up and I enjoyed it a lot. It was very different from Snow Flower, but I liked it!

Peony is a young girl growing up in 17th century China. She is betrothed to a young man that she has never met and will soon turn 16 and begin preparations for her wedding. Her father is a scholar and is putting on a play, "The Peony Pavilion," in their home. Peony is excited that she will be permitted to listen (and catch glimpses of) the play from behind a screen along with her female family members and friends.

She attends the play, which is a love story about a maiden who dies from love sickness and who is destined to roam the earth as a "hungry ghost." She finds her true love (whom she recognizes from a dream) and appears to him as a ghost. They fall in love and she reveals to him that she's a ghost. He takes the necessary actions to bring her back to life and they fall in love in the real world and live happily ever after.

On the first night of the play (which is told over 3 nights), Peony accidentally runs into a strange young man. She has never before seen a man who wasn't a family member and is mortified. But he's handsome and wants her company, so she talks to him and agrees to meet him on the remaining 2 nights of the play. They fall in love, but there's one problem. Both of them are engaged. After they are separated by the end of the play and the departure of the family's guests, Peony becomes obsessed with "The Peony Pavilion." She sees it as a way to connect to the young man she fell in love with because he was also fascinated with the play. Little does she know, her life will soon make very close parallels with the play. Her real life love story doesn't turn out the way she wants it to, but she is closer the the play than she ever imagined she would be.

The first section deals with Peony's obsession with the play. It is slow because of all the references to the play and other literature. I felt that it was a little choppy and that Peony's thoughts don't always flow naturally. She sounds so immature, but perhaps that's what See was trying to convey. In the remaining two sections, she seems more natural and the action picks up since she is no longer confined to her family's estate and doing nothing but pine for her lost love.

Overall this is a unique love story that is also an interesting historical fiction. I recommend it to adults who are interested in Chinese history, historical fiction, Gothic/ghost tales, and See's other novels.

Have you reviewed this? Let me know and I'd be happy to post yours as well.

Newer Posts Older Posts Home


About Me

My photo
Wife, mother, bookworm.
This is a place where you can read book reviews, discover links, and learn about the reading challenges in which I'm taking part.


my read shelf:
Andrea's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)

Annual Goal

2016 Reading Challenge

2016 Reading Challenge
Andrea has read 0 books toward her goal of 60 books.

Recent Comments