Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Heretic's Daughter

Title: The Heretic's Daughter                                                              
Author: Kathleen Kent

Genre: Historical Fiction, Family Saga

Edition: Back Bay Books, 2009 (345 pages)

From the Cover:
In 1752, Sarah Carrier Chapman, weak with infirmity, writes a letter to her granddaughter, revealing the secret she has closely guarded for six decades. Her story begins a little more than a year before the Salem witch trials, when she and her family arrive in a New England community already gripped by superstition and fear. Hysteria escalates as neighbour is pitted against neighbour, friend against friend, until more than two hundred men, women, and children are swept into prison - Sarah's mother, Martha Carrier, among them. In an attempt to protect her children, Martha asks Sarah to commit an act of heresy - a lie that will most surely condemn Martha even as it will save her daughter.

My Thoughts:
The Heretic's Daughter is written from the perspective of a 9 year old, Sarah Carrier Chapman. Sarah is the third child of Thomas Carrier and Martha Allen. Sarah's mother, Martha was a strong-willed woman who had a certain contempt for the men of church. In December 1690, Sarah and her family travelled by cart from Billerica to neighbouring Andover, Massachusetts in a desperate attempt to escape the pox that had plagued their hometown. Little did they know that they had brought the disease with them. This did not sit too well with the people of Andover. In a time where superstition was rife and independent women were feared, the Carrier family suddenly found themselves under extreme scrutiny.

Martha Carrier was later accused of witchcraft and was thrown into jail with her two sons and daughter, Sarah. The first half of the book focused on the characters within the Carrier family, whilst the second half was an account of the family's life in imprisonment and the ensuing court trials. It is a truly heart-wrenching tale that provided a realistic impression of what really happened to the victims of the Salem Witch Trials - a point that was a real eye-opener for me since I know very little about the subject.

What I loved most about this book was Martha Carrier's resolve. Despite the perilous situation she was in, Martha continued to show strength and dignity all the way to her death. She was a source of strength for her husband and children, especially little Sarah. 

This is a gripping family saga of despair, family love and one woman's refusal to bow down to the powers that be. A great read and highly recommended, especially to those who wish to know more about the Salem Witch Trials.  

Kathleen Kent is a tenth-generation descendant of Martha Carrier. The Heretic's Daughter was written based on family stories passed on from her grandmother and mother, as well as historical facts of the Salem Witch Trials.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Teaser Tuesday #2: 2011

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share 2 "teaser" sentences from somewehere on that page (though I always tend to share slightly more!)
This week's teaser is from my all-time favorite paranormal series; Sookie Stackhouse:

"She pointed to the body lying by the white car. Fortunately, the corpose was on the side of the car concealed from the view of the rare passerby. In the poor light it was hard to be sure, but I believed Corinna was already beginning to flake away. I'd never seen a dead vampire in the rain before." - pg. 96 of Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris.

I haven't reached page 96 yet (just started reading this about 20 mins before I decided to write this post). Anyway, the teaser looks insane. Can't wait to delve right back in!


Title: Angels

Author: Marian Keyes

Genre: Chick Lit

Edition: Penguin Books, 2003 (482 pages)

From the Cover:
“I’d always lived a fairly blameless life. Up until the day I left my husband and ran away to Hollywood…”

Unlike the rest of her family, Maggie Walsh has always done everything right. At thirty-three she has a proper job, is happily married to Garv and never puts a foot wrong. So why does she make a bolt for Hollywood and her best friend, Emily? In the City of Angels, Maggie gets to do things she’s never done before: mixing with film stars, pitching scripts, partying non-stop. But is this really a once-in-a-lifetime journey of self-discovery, or is she simply running away from married life?

My Thoughts:
This novel started a little slow for me. At first, I found the main character, Maggie Walsh, a little lame and the storyline another one of those typical feel-good chick lits. But after mid-way through, the book definitely picked up a notch or two and I must say that I quite enjoyed it, especially since I wasn’t expecting to.

Angels is all about Maggie Walsh and her dysfunctional funny family. After 9 years of marriage to Garv, Maggie decides to leave him and the security that the marriage had been providing all these years. She runs off to Hollywood to live with her best friend Emily, a scriptwriter who is still looking for her big break. As Maggie tries to live the life in Hollywood, certain pieces of her old life suddenly resurface to memory. What really got me hooked were these flashbacks that slowly unraveled Maggie’s past and the kind of girl she really was. She no longer appeared to be the lame woman I thought her to be and her story was interesting to say the very least. Her family, a bunch of distinctive sisters, and a pair of over-protective parents, make such a funny combination, you’re bound to laugh out loud once or twice. Overall, I thought this was a touching novel with plenty of laughs.


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