Title: Daughter of Satan
Author: Jean Plaidy
Publisher: Pan Books
How I Read It: from my own personal library
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Release Date: 5/1/1970
Rating: 3 Crowns
Tamar always knew she was different-some say she is the daughter of the Devil. Even her mother believes it. In religiously intolerant England Tamar grows from a strange little girl feared by her neighbors and ostracized by other kids into a wild and beautiful young woman who seeks to capitalize on her reputation as one touched by the Devil-a witch. Circumstances force Tamar to take refuge in the home of kindly scholar Richard Merriman who recognizes a keen intelligence in Tamar. Her beauty soon garners the attentions of Bartle Cavill-a man who is arrogant, brutish, and won't take no for an answer. She also catches the interest of Puritan leader Humility Brown who seeks to banish the darkness in Tamar. Tamar's wild ways soon attract the unwanted attention of Simon Packer, the Witch Pricker who has recently come to town to rid it of evil. She realizes she is in grave danger as are the Puritans for their religious beliefs. Tamar soon has a choice to make: does she belong with Bartle Cavill who is her match in passion or with Humility Brown who appeals to her new found sense of piety? Does she stay in England-the only land she has ever known or does she sail to a new fate in the Americas to escape the persecution at home?
This was a bit different than other Plaidy novels I have read because while it has a historical setting, this one was not based on known historical characters. I thought Plaidy did a great job in this one of building the mood of the time period-the suspicion of the villagers, the religious intolerance, and the hope for the New World. Interestingly in Daughter of Satan none of the main characters are really likable. Bartle Cavill is a malicious bully who uses women as he will. Tamar is naive, proud, and reckless. Humility Brown-the pious Puritan-is overbearing in his religious convictions and acts like loving anything besides God is a mortal sin. Still, I thought this story was quite an adventure and it ending a bit different than I expected it to.
There were really only two areas I really didn't care for. One was Tamar being torn between Bartle and Humility when both seek to tame her spirit in different ways and neither one of them is much of a prize. I did hope she would end up with one over the other, not because I thought they truly belonged together but because he ended up being the lesser of two evils. That didn't sit well with me. The other had to do with Tamar's parentage (I'm not telling who her father was...maybe it was the Devil but you'll have to read it to find out). The circumstances once revealed sounded far fetched and I really had to overlook that and just move on in order to enjoy the story.
I really like Plaidy's books and I appreciated that this one stood apart because it wasn't about a real historical figure. I've enjoyed many of hers that were about historical persons but I think I may try more of her books that are not because she still tells a pretty decent tale without it being centered around someone from history.
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