The Heretic's Daughter
by Kathleen Kent
Discussion Questions:
1) How was Sarah changed by living with her cousin Margaret? How was she changed by returning to her family?

2) What was it about Martha's character that seemed to antagonize so many neighbors?

3) What do you think was the most compelling reason that Martha was eventually brought to trial?

4) Discuss the various factors that lead to the witch hysteria.

5) Why did Martha choose to take a stand of innocence knowing that a refused confession meant death?

6) Why did Thomas, despite his size and capabilities, not seek to persuade or deter Martha from her course of action?

7) Why did the community of Salem, and the magistrates, so easily believe in and rely on "spectral evidence?"

8) How has reading the book changed your opinions about the men and women hanged as witches?

9) Are there modern day "witches?"

10) Can we, or should we, redefine the meaning of the word "witch?"

(Discussion Questions by Author)


Book Club Talking Points:
This book, set during the Salem Witch trials, will spark conversation on many levels. There is a beautiful mother daughter theme that will generate conversation on unconditional love. The powerlessness of the family and friends of an accused witch and the unthinkable living conditions in prison will also be great discussion points. The manner in which the trials are carried out, the clear injustice to the victims and the religious zeal underlying this period of our history will also generate lots of emotion and discussion. This book will appeal to book clubs that enjoy well written captivating stories or historical fiction
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