Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe

While perusing the New Fiction section of Barnes and Noble back in 2009, I read the dustjacket of this book and it sounded exactly like my kind of book. "But," that practical voice in my head nagged, "you have that stack of books at home that you just bought. Do not spend for this hardcover right now." And so I put the book back on the shelf and vowed to remember to pick it up in the future when I had read that stack of books that I already had at home.  Then I forgot the title.

About a year later, I decided to do a little research to figure out the title. And somehow I came across it again and I wrote it down on a little list that I was keeping in my phone. Then, I promptly started reading something else.

But the title was on that list in my phone so a couple of weeks ago, while shopping at a Waldenbooks, which was going out of business, I purchased my paperback copy of Deliverance Dane. Finally, the book was in my hands!

As soon as I finished The Last Werewolf, I dove right in to Deliverance.  And I loved this book. I loved it for these reasons:
1. It took me back in time
The book goes back and forth between Salem in the 17th and 18th century and early 1990's Harvard University, and Marblehead and Salem, MA.  I loved getting a clear picture of life in Colonial America through an interesting and suspenseful fictional tale, and since I know that the author did a ton of research while writing her novel, I can trust that she gives a fairly accurate description of the times.
2.The protagonist, Connie, is a witch.
Unbeknownst to her, she descends from a long line of witches, and we get to hear a little bit of their stories in the past as we travel back and forth in time throughout the centuries.
3. There is a hunt for an ancient magical text.
Connie must find the text for her doctoral dissertation.

As much as I enjoyed this book, and googled the author after finishing it to see if there was a sequel coming out, I realized that I wanted the sequel because I wanted more from this book. I wanted to know more about Connie's mother Grace, and so much more that I don't want to mention here so as not to spoil it for anyone who hasn't read it.
And I wanted it to be a little less predictable, and/or Connie to realize what was going on long before she did.  For such a smart academic, she missed a lot of stuff.

This is a great book for anyone who enjoys historical fiction, witches, and is intrigued in particular by the Salem Witch Trials.

This is A Curl Up on the Sofa Read with something of the Total Immersion Read, because there were times I just wanted to be left in peace to read it with no interruptions. (See the new rating system in the margin).


  1. I think I've read the dustjacket of this particular book before. And the 'character realizes things a lot slower than the reader' thing is a common occurrence in these types of books, which is too bad because I find it a little annoying. It just seems like a bit of a crutch the author uses to justify the character's continuous search.

  2. Yes! It is frustrating when authors do that, but despite the main character's slowness at putting it all together, I really liked this book and I would recommend it.