Kathleen Kent’s first novel covers familiar territory, the hysteria and superstitions surrounding the Salem witch trials. What sets this effort apart, though, is the fact that Kathleen Kent is directly descended from Martha Carrier, who was hanged in Salem as a witch in 1692. After hearing family stories and researching for five years, Kent wrote this debut novel based on the true story of her ancestor.
Four of Martha’s five children were also accused and imprisoned, including Sarah, her 9-year-old daughter. Kent’s descriptions of the harsh, closed society of Puritan New England, as well as the squalid conditions in which the accused were held, and the mounting hysteria and dread keep the pages turning, and I finished this one in two days. Kent’s personal connection to Martha Carrier is evident in this emotional and thought provoking novel. Recommended.