Friday, July 24, 2009

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, by Katherine Howe

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane
By Katherine Howe
ISBN 978-1-4013-4090-2

Witchcraft, then and…now?

Connie Goodwin is a Harvard graduate student, majoring in Colonial Studies. Her summer is supposed to be spent doing research for her doctoral dissertation, but her mother thinks closing up the abandoned family home is more important. Connie dutifully travels to Salem to clean and sell the old house.

An ancient key hidden in a seventeenth century bible puts Connie on a quest. Who is this Deliverance Dane? What happened to her? And where is her “Physick” book of spells? (Readers, bookmark when the key is found [page 49 in the hardback]. Toward the end you will need to come back and reread a specific sentence.)

Howe flips back and forth between the past and the present without faltering. 1690 or 1990, the characters leap off the page and come alive. You will care about these women and hold your breath in fear for them.

Many of the events are telegraphed in advance, but that doesn’t detract from the story. You will have suspicions along with Connie and watch over her shoulder, muttering “Oh no, surely not!”, as she digs for answers.

There is a lot of history in this book, but nothing dull or boring. Howe brings the past alive with vivid descriptions and characters you want to call friends. Intrigue more than thriller, this is a can’t-put-it-down book. Read it!