The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent
I thought of her cleaving to the truth even as she fell the short distance of the rope.
To me, being in the right place at the right time was browsing the bookstore as a stranger placed a book in my hand and told me to read it. To this day, I wish I could repay her with a world of gratitude for gifting me this story.
I didn't know much about the Salem witch trials because it wasn't something I was taught in school. I had a general knowledge of its occurrence but I lacked an in-depth awareness of the details until this book.
Hysteria is the dominant catalyst for injustice. I'm always surprised by how quickly people will follow suit when fear is the driving force. To think that a handful of young girls were responsible for the imprisonment of hundreds disgusts me. It's terrifying that false accusations left 19 hanging from tree limbs and 1 crushed into the earth.
Spending 332 pages with the Carrier family introduced me to the strongest bond I've had the privilege of knowing. Most all the Carriers were plucked and placed in jail for witchcraft. Martha Carrier clung confidently to her innocence but concocted a plan to incriminate herself as a last ditch effort to spare her children's lives. It was a sacrifice that left me sobbing uncontrollably at 3 o'clock in the morning.
Even now, as I flip back to reread the final scene of Martha's life, I can't get through it without a choking pain in my chest. Her last moments, as she hangs there dying, is too much to bare. For all the books I've read in my lifetime, I've never cried to this degree with another. It was the end you knew was coming but could never be ready for.
This story brought me face to face with the evil and vindictive side of human nature and it's a story I hope we all keep tucked in the depths of our memory. For history can repeat itself when we forget the path we've walked before.