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The Heretic’s Daughter by Kathleen Kent

The Heretic’s Daughter by Kathleen Kent

This book is a masterfully written tale told from the point of view of Sarah Carrier, a girl facing late childhood in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the years 1690-1692. Her family had moved to Andover to live with her maternal grandmother, but her grandmother succumbed to smallpox shortly thereafter, leaving the property to Sarah’s mother Martha and her family. This became a point of contention between Martha and her brother-in-law, who had hoped the property would be available for his own son, and the men wasted no time in accusing Martha of witchcraft after others in neighboring towns are accused. The author does an excellent job of making it clear to the reader how statements and behaviors of Carrier family’s were taken out of context and misunderstood, and the reader will find him- or herself frustrated by the injustice of the accusations and trials. The author also captures the complicated and evolving relationship between a girl and her mother, a relationship that grows stronger when tested. This is a must-read for anyone interested in this time period, and should certainly be on the short list for anyone interested in historical fiction. It is not necessary, however, to know anything about seventeenth-century New England to understand and enjoy this novel, making it a great read for anyone interested in novels about mother-daughter relationships, law and order, or strong-willed women.

Sarah P.

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