Synopses & Reviews
Martha Carrier was one of the first women to be accused, tried and hanged as a witch in Salem, Massachusetts. Like her mother, young Sarah Carrier is bright and willful, openly challenging the small, brutal world in which they live. Often at odds with one another, mother and daughter are forced to stand together against the escalating hysteria of the trials and the superstitious tyranny that led to the torture and imprisonment of more than 200 people accused of witchcraft. This is the story of Martha's courageous defiance and ultimate death, as told by the daughter who survived.
Kathleen Kent is a tenth generation descendent of Martha Carrier. She paints a haunting portrait, not just of Puritan New England, but also of one family's deep and abiding love in the face of fear and persecution.
"A family's conflict becomes a battle for life and death in this gripping and original first novel based on family history from a descendant of a condemned Salem witch. After a bout of smallpox, 10-year-old Sarah Carrier resumes life with her mother on their family farm in Andover, Mass., dimly aware of a festering dispute between her mother, Martha, and her uncle about the plot of land where they live. The fight takes on a terrifying dimension when reports of supernatural activity in nearby Salem give way to mass hysteria, and Sarah's uncle is the first person to point the finger at Martha. Soon, neighbors struggling to eke out a living and a former indentured servant step forward to name Martha as the source of their woes. Sarah is forced to shoulder an even heavier burden as her mother and brothers are taken to prison to face a jury of young women who claim to have felt their bewitching presence. Sarah's front-row view of the trials and the mayhem that sweeps the close-knit community provides a fresh, bracing and unconventional take on a much-covered episode. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Amidst the painful details of jail and persecution, deep-seated suspicion and familial betrayal, it is [a] powerful act of love that crowns the book." Library Journal
"[H]istorical fiction with a feminist perspective." Kirkus Reviews
"Kent tells a heart-wrenching story of family love and sacrifice." USA Today
"[A] powerful coming-of-age tale in which tragedy is trumped by an unsinkable faith in human nature." Chelsea Cain, New York times
"Ms. Kent brings a gentle decency to her portrait of this nasty episode in American life." Dallas Morning News
"[An] eminently readable novel, and a tribute to a woman who held steadfastly to the courage of her convictions." Christian Science Monitor
About the Author
Kathleen Kent lives in Dallas, Texas, with her husband and son. She is a tenth-generation descendant of Martha Carrier and The Heretic's Daughter
is her first novel.