May 27, 2009

The Heretic’s Daughter by Kathleen Kent

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , at 4:08 pm by suebe2

hereticThe Heretic’s Daughter

by Kathleen Kent

(Little Brown)

This week I’m going to review two adult books that would appeal to young adult readers.

The first, The Heretic’s Daughter, is about the Salem Witch Trials, told from the perspective of 10-year-old Sarah Carrier, daughter of Martha Carrier, one of the first women accused and later executed of witchcraft.

The frame for this story may briefly confuse less experienced readers.  At the time the book opens, Sarah is a grandmother recalling the events of her childhood, events she had pushed out of her mind. 

The main body of the book deals with her childhood from the time her family flees a smallpox epidemic through her own release from jail on charges of witchcraft.

Kent weaves a masterful story in which things are not as they seem — those who appear kind are often crafty, the strong feel weak and the good men of a community can hang a series of people on the flimsiest evidence.  She also takes you beyond the trials, written about repeatedly, into the dank, dark world of the jail and all its suffering. 

This story is particularly relevant in today’s volatile world in which companies can be bankrupt and reputations ruined over hearsay.

An excellent choice for history buffs and mature young readers.  There are  references to sex though nothing occurs “on screen.”  The reality of life in jail is presented with no sugar coating.  Use this book to launch a discussion on justice with your teen today.


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