The Heretic’s Daughter takes place in the eighteenth century. The Carrier family had moved to Andover,
Massachusetts after they were accused of bringing the bubonic plague to their former community.
They had been in Andover a year when the trouble began again. One of the children, Andrew, became critically ill.
Through the eyes of the eldest child, Sarah, we see what life was like in Puritan New England. The rumors that the
family had caused an epidemic of bubonic plague had followed them to Andover. When Andrew fell ill the ignorant and
superstitious neighbors began to murmur.
Then, when a neighbor’s cow got into the Carrier’s corn fields, Martha Carrier, mother of Sarah, Michael, Andrew
and Hannah, returned the cow to her owner. Martha asked restitution for the damaged corn. The neighbor refused,
saying that if she caused any trouble, he would burn the Carrier farm to the ground. Of course, a few nights later
the family was awakened by flames in one of the fields. The whole family ran outside. The wind was blowing the
flames toward the Carrier farm house and barn. Sarah ran to the barn to help Michael let the animals loose. Hannah
followed her. Once the animals were safe, Sarah turned her attention to fighting the fire. She had told Hannah to
stay in the barn until she came for her.
A short time later, she heard Hannah scram. The terrified child stood at the edge of the flames, paralyzed by fear.
Sarah returned her to the farm and tied her to a post in the barn. Then, she returned to battle the flames. When the
wind turned and the flames devoured the farm of the neighbor who refused to pay restitution, the rumors of witchcraft
began and eventually spread to nearby Salem.
The Heretic’s Daughter is a story of the Salem witch trials. Read by actress Mare Winningham, it is a
perfect story of young girls’ lies and the lives those lies cost. This is a must-listen for all of us.