October 07, 2008

The Heretic's Daughter - Kathleen Kent

The Heretic's Daughter will have to be rated one of my best reads of 2008 - it probably would have been number one if I had not read The Book Thief this year also.

This book just had me mesmerised and hooked from the very beginning. The writing is simply stunning - what I would give for a gift like this! And although the story is captivating it never feels like the telling is being rushed - you arrive at the ending just when you need to get there and not a moment before.

The Heretic's Daughter tells the story of the Salem witch hunts of the 1690's from the perspective of the Carrier family and in particular the eldest daughter of the family, Sarah. The author is actually a descendent of this particular family and she grew up hearing the stories of her strong female relatives who were persecuted by the intolerant, fearful and ignorant religious community of the time. This family connection might possibly be what helps this story come to life - you certainly feel as though the author has a stake in the telling of this story.

The voice of Sarah is extremely strong and, to me, rings very true - you feel for this young girl, her passions, her weaknesses and her fears. I think this is what makes the book and the narrative so strong - for me at least - you want to hear what Sarah has to say about her and her family's experiences.

An absolutely stunning book - I can't recommend it highly enough.


nutmeg said...

I think you are the second or third blogger that I have read that gives this book such high praise. The subject matter sounds like something I would be very much interested in. I am always on the look out for good book club picks too - would you say that this book lends itself to group discussion too Karen?

Karen said...

Hi Nutmeg - I think this book would be great for a group discussion - I'm trying to track down others who have read it so that I can talk about it!! The author's site also has some discussion questions to kick things off.

Laura said...

One of my friends just read this book, and only felt "so-so" about it. I'm glad to hear you liked it so much! I have it on my list to read, because I find that time period fascinating!

Karen said...

Hi Laura - I would definitely put this one on your to read list. I have heard some mixed reviews of this book too but I can't rave about it enough!

Marg said...

I have heard quite a few good things about this book. I have it on my list to get to eventually!