Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent

Sarah and her brothers must turn against their mother and accuse her of being a witch, in order to save themselves. This is based on the true story of Martha Carrier, of which the author is a descendant.

I thought it was pretty good. Not as great as I was expecting. The imagery from times past was very nice - churning butter and swishing skirts and all that kind of stuff.

My favorite part: Tom and his father are working in the fields and the boy looks out on the endless fields he has plowed and the endless fields still before him. He quietly walks back to the house and lays down on his bed. His father goes to him and sits on the bed beside him. He tells his son that he knows what he is thinking and that he needs to think of a reason for living, something to make all that toil worth it. His wife is his reason for getting up and finding the strength every day to keep going. He asks his son to find a reason for living and the answer the boy gives makes the whole book worth it.

How they could tell if someone was a witch: Throw them in the water and if they drown, they are innocent. If they float, they are guilty and must be executed. Uhhhh... did people back then not have a logical bone in their bodies?

Also, I hate Cotton Mather after reading this book. At least his father, Increase Mather ("It were better that Ten Suspected Witches should escape, than that one Innocent Person should be Condemned"), worked to stop all of the witch trial hysteria. Although to be fair, I looked up Cotton Mather on Wikipedia and some people believe he actually worked to stop the Salem witch trials from happening, so who knows what the truth is. Just shows how easily people can be whipped up into hysteria and can be led to go along with almost anything.

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