02 November 2009

The Heretic's Daughter (Kathleen Kent)

I have this thing about the Salem Witch Trials. It's like my thing with the Amish. I'm don't want to BE Amish, I'm just overly and unnaturally fascinated with them. Salem- I don't wish I'd lived during the trials (with my hair and no straighteners available I'm sure I would have been scruffy enough to create suspicion) but I LOVE reading about it.

I bought this in Hatchards (LOVE this bookshop, want to get married and live and DIE in this bookshop) on Earhart's recommendation. Apparently she sold it to loads of customers last Christmas, not having actually read it herself. We both read it during Earhart's London visit and the sister, having read it first, insisted she would do the review. Well, I am ignoring that and doing the review myself because she has a lot on her plate at the moment and I have to work hard to come up with enough things to do to avoid filling out uni applications.

I know it sounds like Earhart and I did nothing but read whilst she was here on her three week visit, but we did talk to each other! We ate and drank a lot as well. And we spent a seriously enjoyable two hours in Wales sitting in armchairs, eating strawberry sours and quizzing each other from a Film Trivia Book we bought for 50p. Exciting stuff.

I digress... back to the book. Which was so unremarkable I have to go grab it off the shelf to remind myself of the title. Ah yes, The Heretic's Daughter. Meh, meh, meh. I have trouble feeling sympathy for a woman who is hung as a witch when she spends her time physically and emotionally abusing her children.

Sarah, the 'heretic's daughter' as it were, reminds me slightly of a Joanne Harris character. She is wilful and troubled and hard to like and the relationship with her mother Martha seemed overly reminiscent of the tempestuous relationship between Framboise and her mother in Five Quarters of the Orange. Although, not nearly as well-executed.

There is also some mysterious red book with the history of Sarah's father in it which is mentioned once and then all but forgotten. Sarah is allowed to read it when she comes of age, but she never tells us what is in it. A ridiculous and redundant side-plot.

The writing does the job (the job being the telling of an average plot and detailing of average characters) and that's it. If you're in the market for some mildly compelling and clich├ęd historical fiction, this is it.

Rating: 5/10.
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