Saturday, September 6, 2008

Review : The Heretic's Daughter

The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent. Little, Brown (2008).

In The Heretic's Daughter, Kathleen Kent succeeds in humanizing a dark time in the history of our nation. We have all heard of the Salem Witch Trials, but never have I read a narrative that so strongly evokes the horrors experienced by those affected. Kathleen Kent is a descendant of the Carrier family whose trials are described in The Heretic's Daughter, which lends even more power to her novel.

Many historical novels written in the style of the time in which they are set fail. The language feels stilted and unnatural and sometimes wavers back and forth between the present and the past. Kent, however, creates a believable dialect of the 1690s that further serves to connect reader and characters. This is a wonderful novel. It made me cry and feel for these characters in a way that few books do. If you are a fan of historical fiction, I highly recommend The Heretic's Daughter.

9 comments:

  1. Your review is very convincing and I know that this will be an emotionally involving albeit disturbing story. It sounds like it's completely worth reading. Thanks!
    doot65{at}comcast[dot]net
    Elizabeth

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  2. I really want to read this one - it's on my wish list.

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  3. I haven't done a lot of reading on the Salem witch trials (and, thinking about it closely, Witch of Blackbird Pond doesn't even technically count), but I too find it fascinating. I'm looking forward to reading this one!

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  4. From what you say,it sounds like a powerful account of the period and history. I will read this one even if I don't win it.

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  5. This looks like a great book. I've seen a lot of positive reviews for it recently, and I'd love to get my hands on a copy. I'm especially excited about a possibly themed review with Spirit by J.P. Hightman.

    Please enter me in your giveaway, I've blogged about your contest here: http://caramellunacy.blogspot.com/2008/09/awesome-giveaways-and-contests-getting.html

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  6. It sounds like an interesting and powerful book and knowing that the language adds to the narrative instead of detracts, as it sometimes can, makes me want to read it even more.

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  7. I agree, it's tough to do convincing dialect. It would be incredibly hard for a modern writer to conquer the speech of the period. Still, it sounds like the story transcends any such issues and captivates the reader. I look forward to finding out for myself soon!

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  8. I would love to read this book. I visited Salem a couple years ago and it was heart wrenching looking at the bench stones commemorating each person who was put to death and how they died. I'm sure I will cry, too when I read this book.

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  9. Great review. You're right about the language- Kent makes it work well. I'm only a short way in but already it seems very fluid and readable.

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