The HERetic’s Daughter is the story of one of the victims of the Salem witch trials from 1692 to 1693 in Salem, Massachusetts. Her name was Martha Carrier and the author is a descendent of this innocent woman, which made the story even more interesting. Ms. Kent writes from the viewpoint of Sarah, Martha Carrier’s 10-year-old daughter. Sarah Carrier was also imprisoned for months and suffered greatly before being released. Thankfully, she was not hanged, as was her mother.
If you read this book you will recognize that Ms. Kent did extensive research to prepare for the book. She said researching and writing the book actually took approximately 5 years. She does a fine job of helping the readers believe we have been transported back to the time of the Puritans, when survival on a daily basis was so difficult. This difficulty not only included the threat of Indians, disease, and starvation, but also the travesties of justice caused by greed, envy, revenge, etc. that will always be prevalent in humans.
I enjoyed the book because of the author’s excellent style of writing from a child’s perspective. A similar novel told from a little girl’s point of view relevant to the times is Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, a familiar book to most. Even though when you begin to read the first chapter of a book of historical fiction (Ms. Kent did read the entire first chapter to the audience), and you know the ending will not be good, you are compelled to find out the details and motivations of the characters, both good and bad, from the particular author’s angle. Will he or she be sympathetic or judgmental of each of the characters? How does this author see the events and what are his or her conclusions?