Martha Carrier was one of the first women to be accused, tried and hanged as a witch in
Kathleen Kent is a tenth generation descendent of Martha Carrier. 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.
This was a fascinating book that gave us a glimpse at what life was like for those persecuted during the times of the Salem Witch Trials. This book is actually Sarah's story, who was a young girl that was thrown in prison along with her mother for practicing witchcraft.
Events spin out of control as the town slowly turns against the Carrier family. The Carrier's were just another hardworking family that were just able to make ends meet. After surviving the smallpox epidemic with minimal casualties one would think that life would get back to normal for the family. But when the family took in a young girl, Mercy, to help with the farm chores, little did they know how this one girl would impact their future.
After Mercy has a falling out with the Carrier's she is sent to another farm to work. Mercy obviously is harboring ill feelings over what took place and decides to make implications towards Martha Carrier every chance she could get. It still amazes me to think that one girls claim of witchcraft could cause the incarceration and eventually the death of an innocent woman.
As they imprisoned these women, one after another from erroneous claims, they eventually would arrest the children for practicing witchcraft also. Most of the children were released after admitting to the practicing of witchcraft, as long as they were able to survive their time in prison. The conditions in the Salem jail were as inhumane as I could possibly imagine. Everyone was housed together from babies to old men and women, there really was no segregation or privacy allowed, except for separating the individuals that were sure to be hung.
Eventually Sarah was incarcerated with all of her family, given the exception of her father. Unfortunately she did not get the opportunity to be with her mother during this time since she was on the other side of the hall. When she was able to inch close to the hall she could catch a glimpse of her mother who would always offer survival tips and words of encouragement. This part of the story was just horrifying for me and some may find it difficult to read.
This was a very engaging story that taught me a lot about the events that took place during the Salem Witch Trials. I really did not have much knowledge about this part of our history before reading this book. Since my entire book club also enjoyed this book I do not hesitate in recommending this book for your group. There are some great discussion questions and more information from the author available at the Hachette website here. With themes of love, honor, pride and family this book will keep you turning the pages.
My Rating: 4/5
Disclosure: This book is from my personal collection and I read it for my own entertainment. I actually received this book from Alyce from At Home With Books as a gift from the Book Blogger Holiday Swap from a couple of years ago...so thanks Alyce!