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The Heretic's Daughter [Unabridged] [Paperback]

Kathleen Kent
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
RRP: 6.99
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Book Description

4 Sep 2009
Martha Carrier was hanged on August 19th, 1692 in Salem, Massachusetts, unyielding in her refusal to admit to being a witch, going to her death rather than joining the ranks of men and women who confessed and were thereby spared execution. Like her mother, young Sarah Carrier is bright and wilful, openly challenging the small, brutal world in which they live. In this startling novel, she narrates the story of her early life in Andover, near Salem. Her father is a farmer, English in origin, quietly stoical but with a secret history. Her mother is a herbalist, tough but loving, and above all a good mother. Often at odds with each other, Sarah and her mother have a close but also cold relationship, yet it is clear that Martha understands her daughter like no other. When Martha is accused of witchcraft, and the whisperings in the community escalate, she makes her daughter promise not to stand up for her if the case is taken to court. As Sarah and her brothers are hauled into the prison themselves, the vicious cruelty of the trials is apparent, as the Carrier family, along with other innocents, are starved and deprived of any decency, battling their way through the hysteria with the sheer willpower their mother has taught them.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Pan; 1 edition (4 Sep 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 033045630X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330456302
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 256,668 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

`Admirable for providing an account of traumatic of events that refuses to break down into melodrama.'
--Observer

'An incredibly passionate and convincing novel.'
--Daily Express

Review

'The richness of the text...the intimate characterisation lends itself to a perfect "curl up by the fire " read'
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars achingly honest 26 Aug 2009
By love reading TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a stunning book. It is the last of three books on the witchhunts I have read back to back and it is by far the best.
The narration is real and honest, making you believe that this is the actual voice of Sarah Carrier. She (narrator) describes her experiences vividly and bluntly and had me gasping aloud at times with the brusque and forthright style. There were times I had to check the dustjacket to ensure that this was indeed a work of fiction and only based on actual events as it is so convincing.
The depiction of the troubled and flawed mother/daughter relationship provoked empathy and frustration in me as I willed them to understand each other better. Finally, the healed relationship is one of the most touching I have read. The prison scenes were unforgettable.
I also felt this book allowed me more access to the Puritan psyche than others I have previously read on this subject. It also offered a form of explanation for the atrocities that occurred without forgiving them. The powerful revelation of the horror, brutality and injustice was shocking as other writers have tended to glamorise and minimise, focusing instead on the entertainment value. Ultimately, however, the book was uplifting.
I thoroughly recommend this book if you are interested in this period of American history. Kathleen Kent is an extremely clever and talented writer in my opinion and I am sure that this book will be very successful. I certainly couldn't put it down and it will stay with me for a long time.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Story Telling at it's best 6 Sep 2009
By CJ Craig VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
This is a great story in the best sense of the word. The story wraps itself around the witch trials which took place in New England, Salem, Massachusetts in the seventeenth century and is told through the voice of a child, the daughter of a so-called witch. What is so stunning about the writing is the clarity and brilliant description. It strikes the reader as true to the time and place. And, unlike many modern novels today, it does not jump from voice to voice or place to place. It is an old-fashioned sort of book in its progression through the days in a straight line. It reads fluidly and realistically and does not rely on shock tactics or anything else sometimes contrived by authors. Even though I am very familiar with this period of history in America and have also read The Crucible, I found myself unable to put this book down. Reading it was a delight and created such a vivid picture in my mind that I was sad when it ended. After the trials the story jumps forward quite a bit and it might be worth another book by Kathleen Kent to give us more about the aftermath of the trials. She is so good in the period voice it would be well-worth a try.
Even if you know nothing about this historical period it is atmospheric and creates all you need to know to delve deeply into the troubling world of this time. Other reviewers give more details about the story and they do a very good job. I only want to add to their positive voices and encourage you to read this book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well Researched 7 Sep 2009
By Mrs. K. A. Wheatley TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a detailed historical fiction about a young girl's experiences of being caught up in the Salem Witch trials in Massachusetts.

It chronicles the tale of Sarah Carrier and her family and how their refusal to conform to the standards of the puritanical society in which they live effectively condemn them. Sarah's voice seems very authentic, although there are times when it is clear that the author needs to set the scene and for me there are too many explanations of things which at the time would have been not worthy of comment because they would have been every day occurences and thus taken for granted. This is one of the issues that a historical novelist has to deal with however, and Kathleen Kent does her best not to render the narrative too clunky. Certainly once it gets into its stride and she deals with the imprisonment and trial of the poor unfortunates swept up in the mass hysteria, the narrative whips along nicely.

Having said that I thought the ending was disappointment. There is a sub plot which weaves its way through the novel regarding Sarah's father and the mysterious part he played in the English Civil War and Cromwell's rise. It percolates along quietly in the background and I kept waiting for the story line to develop. It really doesn't and just kind of gets finished off at the end in quite an unsatisfactory way. I feel the book should have either developed this story more or just left it out altogether.

My other gripe is that if you have read and/or studied Arthur Miller's The Crucible, it does in less than a hundred pages what this book does in three hundred. On the other hand, if you are not comfortable with reading play texts, then this is a very good novel about a very interesting period in history.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "I am my mother's daughter." 6 Nov 2008
Format:Hardcover
In her debut novel, Kathleen Kent offers a unique perspective of the Salem Witch Trials: the story is told through the eyes of a child, ten-year-old Sarah Carrier, daughter of one of the accused.

The Heretic's Daughter begins months before the Salem Witch Trials. The Carrier family has just moved to Andover, Massachusetts from Billerica, hoping to escape the outbreak of smallpox there. Unbeknownst to them, one of Sarah's older brothers, Andrew, is already infected. When Andrew becomes ill, Sarah and her younger sister Hannah are sent to live with their aunt and uncle, in the hopes that this will spare them from the disease.

On her own for the first time in her life, Sarah quickly bonds with her cousin Margaret. The two girls become inseparable. Sarah also notices a stark contrast between her family life and that of her cousin. Compared to Margaret's family, Sarah's parents - especially her mother, Martha Carrier - seem cold and distant.

When Sarah and Hannah finally return to their family, much has changed. Andrew has been ravaged by the disease, another family member has died from it, and many in the community are suspicious of the Carrier family. Sarah and her mother clash with each other frequently. Rumors begin to circulate about Martha Carrier, slowly at first but gaining strength as events in nearby Salem begin to incite mass hysteria.

At first, Sarah resents her mother and feels that Martha's willfulness and pride are what have damaged their family's reputation in the community. But as the story progresses, and Martha Carrier is arrested for witchcraft, Sarah's attitude towards her mother softens. She begins to admire and love the qualities in her mother that she previously resented.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Really delighted with this purchase
Published 1 month ago by bonnie jones
5.0 out of 5 stars The Heretics Daughter
Brilliant! This was my suggestion for our book club to be reviewed 4th November. So far feed back seems good. I loved it.
Published 10 months ago by littlegran11
3.0 out of 5 stars Salem revisited again
The Salem witch trials as told by Sarah Carrier, whose mother was executed before she herself was accused. Read more
Published 16 months ago by gerardpeter
5.0 out of 5 stars A World Away from Reality Today
The author takes the reader to a world in the past entirely alien to 21st century Britain on so many levels. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Mrs. K. E. Phillips
5.0 out of 5 stars Well researched and well written
The Heretics Daughter is told from the point of view of Sarah Carrier, a young girl who's mother is accused and tried for witchcraft during the Salem witch trials. Read more
Published on 29 Nov 2011 by J. Willis
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark history brought to life
`The Heretic's Daughter' is one of those books that will captivate a reader from the initial page. The story is simple, but beautifully told. Read more
Published on 8 Aug 2011 by J. Cooper
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and revealing
I enjoyed this book a great deal. The book is based on a time that has always interetsed me but I knew little about. Read more
Published on 11 Mar 2011 by Keeley
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark, poignant and compelling
Compellingly told, The Heretic's Daughter is the tale of brave Martha Carrier who was accused, convicted and eventually executed for witchcraft in late 17th century Massachusetts. Read more
Published on 28 Aug 2010 by Butterflylady
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read
Intially when I bought this book, my intention was that i would mainly be reading about the witch trials in Salem. Read more
Published on 28 Jun 2010 by Modupe Oriyomi
3.0 out of 5 stars Slightly disappointed
I couldn't wait to read this book when I bought it, espeically after reading all of the reviews on here. Read more
Published on 2 May 2010 by Mrs. J. L. Beal
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