Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe


A spellbinding, beautifully written novel that moves between contemporary times and one of the most fascinating and disturbing periods in American history -- the Salem witch trials.

Harvard graduate student Connie Goodwin needs to spend her summer doing research for her doctoral dissertation. But when her mother asks her to handle the sale of Connie's grandmother's abandoned home near Salem, she can't refuse. As she is drawn deeper into the mysteries of the family house, Connie discovers an ancient key secreted within a seventeenth-century Bible. The key contains a yellowing fragment of parchment with a name written upon it: Deliverance Dane. This discovery launches Connie on a quest to find out who this woman was, and to unearth a rare colonial artifact of singular power: a physick book, its pages a secret repository for lost knowledge of herbs and other, stranger things.

As the pieces of Deliverance's harrowing story begin to fall into place, Connie is haunted by visions of the long-ago witch trials, and begins to fear that she is more tied to Salem's dark past then she could have ever imagined.

Written with astonishing conviction and grace, The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane travels seamlessly between the trials in the 1690s, and a modern woman's story of mystery, intrigue, and revelation.

I was fortunate to read this book as a member of the First Look Book Club and I loved every page. Ms. Howe did an awesome job writing this novel. I have always been interested in the Salem's witch trials and this book is a page turner into the secrets of witchcraft that may or may not have existed in the 1600's. The characters are lively and it feels like you are there. It is a great story and a fast read. I couldn't put this book down and recommend "The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane" to everyone.

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