Kathleen Kent, a national bestselling author and a tenth-generation descendant of Martha Carrier, was awarded the David J. Langum, Sr. Prize in American Historical Fiction. In her first book, The Heretic's Daughter, which has been published in over a dozen countries, 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. The Traitor's Wife, originally published in hardcover as The Wolves of Andover, is her second novel.
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A Letter from Kathleen Kent
Martha Carrier, my grandmother back nine generations, was hanged as a witch in 1692 in Salem, Massachusetts. Called the "Queen of Hell" by Cotton Mather, Martha was unyielding in her refusal to confess and went to her death rather than join the accused men and women who did so and were spared.
I've read countless historical sources about the trials, including the transcripts that captured verbatim Martha's defiance to the court. But it was the stories of my mother and my maternal grand parents that defined more clearly the courageand obstinacy that set the Carriers apart.
All the Carrier tales I heard as a child were enthralling. The children made bows and arrows and practiced shooting objects off each other's heads. Their cow was fed pumpkins so she would give golden milk. Martha's husband Thomas was, according to local gossip, a soldier for Cromwell and the executioner of King Charles I of England. Thomas was over seven feet tall and, when he died at 109, two coffins had to be fitted together to bury him.
Sarah is the central character of The Heretic's Daughter, and Martha did have a daughter with that name. She was arrested ...
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