Title: The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane
Author: Katherine Howe
Genre: Historical Fiction
Summary: 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.
Thoughts: Connie, a Harvard Graduate student working on her doctoral dissertation is sent by her hippie mother to clean out her deceased Grandmother's house. While there she discovers an old bible, where she finds a key and a scrap of paper with the name Deliverance Dane. These two items send her off an a journey to find Deliverance's book.
This was a wonderfully written tale, that moves smoothly back and forth between 1991 and the 17th Century. I have read a few different Historical Fictions concerning the Salem Witch Trials and have to say this has been one of my favorites. Ms. Howe's novel is steeped in History, Suspense, Magic and even a little bit of romance.
Score: 4 Stars
About the Author:
Katherine Howe's ancestors settled Essex County, Massachusetts in the 1620s, and stayed there through the twentieth century. Family members included Elizabeth Proctor, who survived the Salem witch trials, and Elizabeth Howe, who did not. Katherine Howe is completing a PhD in American and New England Studies at Boston University, which included teaching a research seminar on New England witchcraft. The idea for this novel developed while she was studying for her doctoral qualifying exams, walking her dog through the woods between Marblehead and Salem. She lives in Marblehead, Massachusetts with her husband and assorted animals.
(Courtesy of http://www.physickbook.com/)