The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe
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 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 artifact of singular power: a physick book, its pages a secret repository for lost knowledge.
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 she begins to fear that she is more tied to Salem’s dark past then she could have ever imagined.
This is a book I’ve had sitting around for a long time. Despite being so excited to buy it, I only just now got around to reading it. Howe’s novel had the perfect recipe of things I love in books: mystery, history, a tiny bit of supernatural, and a scholarly taste to it.
I liked this book well enough though I felt it could have been much longer. I felt that Howe only scratched the surface a bit with this one. The house in Marblehead was just so enchanting and gorgeous, I didn’t want the book to end because I didn’t want to leave it!
I enjoyed the history bits, though they jumped around in sequence and didn’t provide a linear parallel to the story. Plus, I felt like there was so much story lingering in the past bit that didn’t get explored.
As summer comes upon us, I would definitely label this a beach read for people who don’t like beach reads. Just intellectual enough, but not complicated or difficult to follow. The plot chugs along at a good clip, rarely slowing or lulling.
I didn’t find Connie terribly interesting as far as main characters go. I liked Sam a lot, but felt like his relationship with Connie could have used more depth.