Thursday, May 8, 2008

Book Review: The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent

What made me request a copy of this to review was the fact that it is about the days of witch hunts in Salem. The little knowledge I had of the historical facts made it seem to be a time of frenzy, a way to get even with your enemies (or perceived enemies), a way to accumulate goods, and just in general, a totally greedy unrational time in the early history of the states.

This book is written by a descendant of one of the condemned witches who was hung. While it's fiction, it's a very compelling and authentic account of a family who got drawn into the conflict because they were "different".

A variety of comments, odd happenings and smallpox coming to the village turned local people away from them, and, in time, made the outspoken woman a target for the "touched" villagers. They were touched alright, but not with kindness.

It's written well, goes along smoothly, analyzes the relationship between the oldest daughter and her mother, and truly depicts the torment of the accused families and what they had to do to survive themselves.

This book will be available in September 2007, and I'd recommend it to anyone who has any interest in this period or who would like to know more about the witch hunts.

It has sadness in the story, but the resiliency of people shines through despite their losses.

I'll remember this book for a long time.

Jo Ann Hakola, The Book Faerie,

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