THE HERETIC'S DAUGHTER
BY KATHLEEN KENT
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 descendant 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.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Kathleen Kent lives in Dallas with her husband and son. The Heretic's Daughter is her first novel.
Kathleen Kent is a tenth- generation descendant of Martha Carrier. She is also a masterful storyteller, and in her first novel 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. More detailed information and family trees can be found at Kathleen's website here.
Most of the books that have influenced and touched me the most are historical fiction. When I was a child I read a lot of Dickens, Poe and H.H. Monroe. Some of my favorites from the past are "The Quincunx", by Charles Palliser, "Instance of the Fingerpost" by Iain Pears, "The Weight of Water" by Anita Shreve, and "The Source" by James Mitchener. I also read everything by Annie Dillard, Cormac McCarthy and Larry McMurtry. Currently I'm re-reading a book called "The Long Home" by William Gay who is, to me, one of the best writers in American fiction today.
READING GROUP GUIDE QUESTIONS (GREAT FOR BOOK CLUBS):
1) How was Sarah changed by living with her cousin Margaret? How was she changed by returning to her family?
2) What was it about Martha's character that seemed to antagonize so many neighbors?
3) What do you think was the most compelling reason that Martha was eventually brought to trial?
4) Discuss the various factors that lead to the witch hysteria.
5) Why did Martha choose to take a stand of innocence knowing that a refused confession meant death?
6) Why did Thomas, despite his size and capabilities, not seek to persuade or deter Martha from her course of action?
7) Why did the community of Salem, and the magistrates, so easily believe in and rely on "spectral evidence”?
8) How has reading the book changed your opinions about the men and women hanged as witches?
9) Are there modern day "witches”?
10) Can we, or should we, redefine the meaning of the word "witch"?
THANKS TO VALERIE AND THE
HACHETTE BOOK GROUP, I HAVE
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