The Heretic's Daughter

The Heretic's Daughter

A Novel

Downloadable Audiobook - 2008
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Martha Carrier was one of the first women to be accused, tried and hanged as a witch in Salem, Massachusetts. Like her mother, young Sarah Carrier is bright and willful, openly challenging the small, brutal world in which they live. Often at odds with one another, mother and daughter are forced to stand together against the escalating hysteria of the trials and the superstitious tyranny that led to the torture and imprisonment of more than 200 people accused of witchcraft. This is the story of Martha's courageous defiance and ultimate death, as told by the daughter who survived. Kathleen Kent is a tenth generation descendent of Martha Carrier. She is also a natural-born storyteller, and in her first novel, she paints a haunting portrait, not just of Puritan New England, but also of one family's deep and abiding love in the face of fear and persecution
Published: [United States] : Hachette Audio : Made available through hoopla, 2008.
Edition: Unabridged.
ISBN: 9781600244513
Characteristics: 1 online resource (1 audio file (600 min.)) :,digital.
Additional Contributors: Winningham, Mare


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Mar 21, 2013

I loved thid story of a mother and daughter. The conflict in the early part of the book in contrast with the strong bonding towards the end. Great tension and quite sad in alot of ways

May 13, 2012

A story about the fear and ignorance of the 17th century witch trials in Salem. Narration was good.

Feb 02, 2010

One of the best hisotrical fiction I have listened to. It is very well written in the original puritant language of that day and easy to follow. The story is told thru the daughtter's voice. Her mother was found guilty of witchcraft in Salem. Extremely facinating.

Dec 05, 2009

My younger daughter was mildly sick when I was listening to this audio book which meant I was catching glimpses of spring arriving in Ottawa through the windows of my prison. The prisoners in the dark, filthy depths of Salem jail in 1692 are aware of the passing of the seasons too, the waxing and waning of the light, the rain mixing with the excrement in the straw. Among them is an eleven-year-old girl named Sarah Carrier who has admitted to being a witch because she promised her mother Martha Carrier, imprisoned in the condemned cell nearby, that she would.

Martha Carrier actually lived and died as one of the condemned during the infamous Salem Witch trials. (She was accused later, being a resident of nearby Andover.) Sarah Carrier was a real person too, although she was actually only eight when her mother was tossed from a ladder to hang from the large oak tree outside of Salem Village. Martha's descendant Kathleen Kent has taken several artistic liberties with the story of her doomed ancestor, but this book has obviously been meticulously researched and with the exception of an occasional overwrought passage, is beautifully written and a break-taking achievement for a first novel. It's an absorbing study of the hardships of the time, both of the maltreatment of the prisoners and the simple unrelenting heartbreak and horror of ordinary daily living of the time.

It also captures the vulnerability of the marginalized. The first people to be accused and imprisoned were all outcasts in some way (and nearly all women of course), and we follow the growing ostracization of the Carrier family over a period of two years, leading inexorably to the jail and the hanging tree.

I was listening to the audio version read by Mare Winningham, who does a fine job except she apparently can't manage a Welsh nor a Scots accent to save her life. (She makes do with a sort of all-purpose Celtic.)


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May 13, 2012

"this - all of this, is a shame to humanity"


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