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