"The Heretic's Daughter" by Kathleen Kent is Kathleen's story of her ancestor Martha Carrier, a woman who was hung during the Salem Witch Trials for supposedly being a witch. This novel covers much of what occurred during this period in history from the perspective of Martha's daughter, Sarah Carrier. Sarah and her family arrive in Salem at a time when the Puritans created an atmosphere of superstition and fear. The Puritan faith turned everything that happened, sickness, a dying animal, as a warning or judgment from God. Slanderous accusations were made without hesitation, setting off more fears and turning lives into turmoil. Nearly 150 men and women were arrested and 19 men and women were hanged during 1692. One man was pressed to death with stones for not testifying as to whether he was guilty or innocent. This is how it was for all involved. If one would say he was guilty of being a witch, he was imprisoned. If he insisted on innocence, he was hanged. Interestingly, the testimony of a group of young girls aging from 11 to 20, who accused their neighbors of witchcraft because they didn't like the families, is what sent these people to their death. As the Witch Trials are studied more in history, we are learning that much of what occurred happened because of land disputes and greed of wealthy people.
The details of the imprisonment of women and children will make you sick . To think this actually occurred is disturbing.
I was captivated by this novel, as I have been with the Salem Witch Trials, because my ancestor, Susannah Martin was also hung on July 19 1692. I have known Susannah's name for as long as I can remember. Like Martha Currier's family, our family passed Susannah's story on through generations. Ironically, soon after I moved to WI in 1998, there was an article in the Star Tribune about the trials and how those who were killed had been exonerated. I was a bit disappointed to hear that Susanna was not really a witch!
Kent's descriptions were so well written in this book that I often felt as if I was in the middle of the entire event.
Thanks to Mrs. P at C.meron for suggesting this book to me,
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