Original Publication Date: 2008
Rating: 2 Stars
Well, it's been a while. This book took me quite a while to get through. I just started a new job and I needed to be focused on that; besides, my new boss has been changing my schedule every 24 hours, so it's been hard to find much time to read. I think it's finally settling down, so the reviews should come quicker again. I will not let this job affect my reading.
Finally the story's picking up! Maybe I'll actually finish this sometime in the near future!
As a modern-day Pagan, with roots in modern Wicca, I was incredibly excited to finally find this title used, for cheap (hey, I was unemployed for a long time). I had been wanting to read it for quite some time, as I have read a fuckload about the Salem Witch Trials, and love to visit the place. To read a fictional account of real people who were part of the fiasco sounded awesome enough. Add to that that Kathleen Kent is directly related to Martha Carrier? Sounded like a gold mine to me.
Unfortunately, I found myself incredibly disappointed. I guess I was hoping that because Kent is related to these people that she would have had a journal or something that would have added something more to these events that swept the colonies. Maybe my hopes were simply too high.
I found the first 151 pages fairly boring, they were the day to day life of Sarah Carrier, daughter of Martha Carrier - one of the women hanged for witchcraft. They were boring, but they did a decent job of exploring the conflicted relationship that every woman/girl has with her mother. We love her, we hate her, we resent her, we need her, we blame her, we rely on her, we take her for granted. By the end of the novel, I had actually decided that this relationship building part of the novel was more interesting than the Witch Trails themselves.
I thought it would get more interesting and pick up, once the Witch Trails came to Sarah's front door. Damn, was I wrong. I felt very little emotion come up from the page when Sarah's mother was arrested. I felt very little when her brothers were arrested. I felt very little when Sarah was arrested. It plodded. Somehow the drama of the Witch Trails was made boring. Seriously, how is that even possible? I've read completely non-fiction accounts of the events and they were less boring than this fictionalized account.
Some of the absolute best writing came from the last 50 pages or so, when Sarah is describing the prison scene and how the women either came together or pulled away to survive. That, was the only part of the novel that I didn't label as boring. The human emotion was truly raw and awesome during this time.