I’ve never been part of a book club, at least not the kind where you meet with a small group of people to discuss a book you’re all reading. (The only book clubs I’ve been in are the ones where you buy books.) Don’t get me wrong–I love to read and always have, as do my Southern Man and both our children. I just don’t do details very well. I am a “general gist” person, remember? That being said, I would probably not be a great contributor to a bunch of people discussing a book.
Last week, I went to our local library and grabbed a book from the “latest arrivals” shelf. When I go to the library, I don’t usually have a particular author that I look for, because I’m not the most well-versed regarding who writes what (details, details). Oftentimes, I’ll just grab something, look at the summary inside and take a chance. That is how I got into the book “The Heretic’s Daughter”.
I love historical fiction, especially if it’s Western or New England history. This historical novel is written by Kathleen Kent, a direct descendant of the main character’s mother, Martha Carrier. You can read a summary of Martha’s life here. The story is told from the point-of-view of Martha Carrier’s daughter, Sarah. Most of the book is a flashback.
I won’t go into too many details of the book. Here’s my review: it was really good and I highly recommend it, especially if you are a history buff, in particular of the dark and tragic Salem Witch Trial era of American history. Growing up in New England, specifically Boxford, Massachusetts, we all were made well aware of colonial history, including the Witch Trials. We also learned that Boxford had their own “witch” from the trials, Rebecca Eames. Only a short distance from where I grew up is Witch Hollow Farm, also known as the Tyler Homestead. This is where Rebecca Eames confessed that she had met with the devil in a hollow on the farm. Like many others, she later recanted her statements. Supposedly, her ghost still haunts the farm which is nationally recognized as a “Haunted House”.
You might ask why the accused came up with such outlandish stories, rather than tell the truth as Martha Carrier did. Read the book. It humanizes the Witch Trials in a way that my history lessons did not. It doesn’t go into the trials, but rather, the climate in which the lies and hysteria grew, the effects it had on the families and individuals, and the prison environment the accused had to endure. The love and sacrifice of this mother, Martha Carrier, falsely accused and held in such deplorable conditions, was touchingly portrayed and, as she was led out past her imprisoned children to be hanged, I was in tears. (Then, I started missing my own mother, even though she is alive and well, which caused more tears. Basically, if you are a mother or have a mother, it touches you, especially if you are like me and cry at commercials.)
So, that’s my first public written book review. I haven’t done anything like this since writing book reports in school, many, many moons ago. I hope that it interests you enough to want to check it out (that is, if you’re interested in historical fiction and/or the Salem Witch Trials).
By the way, when I post pictures on my blogs, they often are linked to other pages, so be sure to click on them and check out the additional information. Enjoy!