Friday, August 29, 2008

The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent (a review)

4 out of 5: The Heretic’s Daughter tells the story of the Salem witch trials from the perspective of 10-year-old Sarah Carrier, whose family becomes a target of her community’s hysteria. Kent’s unadorned prose captures the immediacy and emotion of Sarah’s story and evokes an authentic setting by using old-fashioned phrases and metaphors drawn from familiar tasks (scything grass, harvesting wheat) and materials (beeswax, homespun cloth) of the era. The quick-moving plot and well-developed characters make this an easy book to get caught up in.

Because Sarah is a young narrator, she doesn’t fully understand the horrible events unfolding around her. This perspective adds an agreeable innocence to the tale, but also creates a bit of distance between the action and the reader’s experience of the action. As a narrator, Sarah is incapable of stepping back from the events at hand and considering the frightening implications of those events for human society in general. Overall, The Heretic’s Daughter is a heartbreaking story well told.

1 comment:

Kathleen Gilligan said...

Sounds great, I can't wait to read this.