Kathleen Kent is the author of the Edgar Award-nominated The Dime, as well as the bestselling historical novels The Heretic's Daughter, The Traitor's Wife, and The Outcasts. Kent lives in Dallas, TX.
For this debut, Kent goes back to her forebear Martha Carrier, who was hanged as a witch in 1600s Salem--but saved her daughter by convincing her to lie. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
The panic and horror of the Salem witch trials in Kent's novel is conveyed with dead-eyed calm and an occasional tremor of emotion by Mare Winningham, whose tempered, dispassionate voice is not given to great displays of drama. Her melodiousness is pleasing to the ear, and Kent's novel becomes a sort of long-form song possessed of many verses and no chorus. At times, the melody overwhelms the meaning, but Winningham is more than capable as a reader, and her reading of Kent's sad tale of women accused and accusing emits a hint of deeply buried, untouchable tragedy. A Little, Brown hardcover (Reviews, June 30). (Sept.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Adult/High School-Told from the point of view of young Sarah, the daughter of one of the first women to be accused, tried, and hanged as a witch in Salem, this novel paints a vivid and disturbing picture of Puritan New England life. Based on fact and the author's family history, the story portrays Martha, Sarah's mother, as a strong-willed nonconformist who knows she is a target of the zealots who pit family members against one another with their false accusations. All but one of the siblings end up imprisoned with their mother, and much of the story is told from the inhumane and corruptly run jail. When Martha is finally executed, her husband "would stand for all of us so that when she closed her eyes for the last time, there would be a counterweight of love against the overflowing presence of vengeance and fear." History is brought to life as readers learn of the strength of Martha's convictions and the value she places on her conscience. They will also appreciate the themes of family love, repression, intolerance, and persecution in this beautifully written and compelling first novel.-Jane Ritter, Mill Valley School District, CA Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.