It seems appropriate to post this on October 31 as The Heretic's Daughter is a novel of the Salem Witch Trials. We have all heard of them, but Kathleen Kent has more than heard of them. She is a tenth generation descendant of Martha Carrier, who was hanged for a witch in Salem in 1692. Stories of Martha have been passed down through her mother's family for generations. Kent has taken fact and blended it with fictional license to tell the story of Martha, her husband Thomas and their five children.
The book opens with Martha's daughter Sarah writing a letter to her granddaughter in 1752, finally revealing the secret she has guarded for sixty years. From this letter, we go back and relive Sarah's past.
I'm not going to go into much more plot detail. Kathleen Kent spent five years researching and writing this book. Her attention to detail and descriptions of people, events and attitudes bring this terrible time in history alive on the page. I was moved by the love and fortitude of this family - I was crying my eyes out at the end.
Miriam from Hachette Books hosted a Blog Talk Radio interview with Kathleen Kent. Hearing her speak about her writing and research was an added bonus.
This was such a powerful debut novel. I can't wait to read her second.