Martha Carrier was a real woman, hanged as a witch at Salem,and the fact that Kent is a descendent of the Carriers adds an emotional connection to the story that makes the account even more personal.
The language of this book is lyrical yet simple, reflecting the lives of the people living in New England in the 1690s; bound by the seasons, the hard work of a farm, and the religious prejudices and fears.
Kent’s novel shows how the difficulty of the times combined with people’s readiness to believe supernatural nonsense gave rise to the readiness to believe the accusations of witchcraft. In Kent’s portrayal of the events, the Puritanism of the people had little do with their beliefs in witches, especially because they had little understanding of religions, being more concerned with survival. But when one person resented another, they were ready to make accusations of witchery without even really thinking about it. It is only with the combination of the legal system and the religious beliefs, with the shrill demonization of ordinary people by religious leaders such as Cotton Mather, that these ordinary grumblings about one’s neighbors and competitors turn into a means to kill them. With such a perspective, the book makes a strong case for keeping religion and political power as separate as possible.
I can report that I really enjoyed The Heretic’s Daughter. The writing is strong and the story is gripping.
Thankyou Valerie & Hachett for the opportunity to resd and review this book and to host the giveaway…
The link to the giveaway is:http://sumanam.wordpress.com/2009/10/22/heretics-daughter-review-giveaway-oct-22nd-oct-29th/